Sunday, September 02, 2012

2013 Rock Hall Ballot Predictions

You've got to be careful when making Rock Hall predictions.  Between who you want nominated and who you think will get nominated.   That's where it gets tough.
But here's what we know.  Longtime NomCom watchers firmly believe that NomCom members are told to keep quiet about what goes on in the annual meeting.   The head honcho who runs the NomCom's meeting, Jon Landau (or Rock Hall Prez Joel Peresman) can tell me I'm full of it, but I wouldn't believe them.   The Hall has never released the names of the people on the NomCom, but the ones we do know about usually don't say much when the annual  list is revealed.

So, without any inside info to go on, we don't know what artists were close to being nominated in 2011, and even worse, which names continue to get laughed out of the room.  To those of us that don't believe the Hall completely goes by the final vote tally in picking their inductees, we also don't know who did what % wise on the final vote totals.  That's why predicting who will end up on the final ballot is very tough.

What we do know is the ballot will at least be diverse.  Crossing many genres, and not having too many names from one area dominating the ballot.

With that in mind, I offer 15 names below.  Some familiar ones from past ballots crop up again.  The NomCom is always good for a head-scratcher or two on each ballot (Conway Twitty, Sir Douglas Quintet).

Next to each name is an alternate choice, just to cover my butt in case I'm completely wrong about the whole list.  The only 2 names that seem to be shoo-ins for nomination are Public Enemy and Donna Summer, so I've listed no alternate choice for them.

As for the rest, here goes:

Donna Summer
Public Enemy
Cure   (Smiths)
Stevie Ray Vaughan  (Paul Butterfield Blues Band)
Spinners  (Chaka Khan)
Roxy Music  (Kraftwerk)
Monkees  (Turtles)
Gram Parsons  (Randy Newman)
Deep Purple  (KISS)
War  (Whitney Houston)
ELO  (Chicago)
Joan Jett  (J. Geils Band)
Heart  (Linda Ronstadt)
Joe Cocker  (Neville Brothers)
Joan Baez    (Willie Nelson)

Of these 15 nominees, 7 have never been nominated before and only 1 is first time eligible.  And among my 13 alternates, that number is 8 who have never been nominated.

Okay, I have a feeling that there's no way the Hall won't nominate either Deep Purple, KISS or Rush this year.  Out of spite, they may only put 1 of those on there, but the backlash will be huge if none get on. I went with 1 myself, but I was tempted to add Yes as a surprise nominee.  The chorus of Hall hate will only grow if Rush doesn't get on the ballot this year.  But does the NomCom care?   This will be another test of fans' expectations vs. the NomCom's stubbornness.

I know many think the Spinners will return for another ballot.  But I'm not going to be shocked if they don't get there.  Cliff Burnstein got them on the ballot last year.  If he attends this year will he do the same?

The Hip Hop NomCom members will push hard for N.W.A. to get on the ballot with Public Enemy, but I won't be surprised if only PE get a nod.  The NomCom might decide that to make sure PE get inducted, they'll be the only Rap act nominated.

Hard to know what 60's Pop act will get nominated next.  Could it be the Zombies, Tommy James, Neil Sedaka, Lesley Gore,  Paul Revere & The Raiders?  Does anybody have Little Steven's Phone #?  Or maybe nobody from that era.  I'm going with the Monkees, but not feeling too confident about that choice.

All I can say about Joan Baez is that NomCom member Robert Hilburn pushes her nomination every year.    But Hilburn doesn't attend those NY meetings, just sends in his choices.  Do NomCom members who don't attend the N.Y. meeting get as much say as the ones who show up?
As a backup I went with Willie Nelson, who would also make a strong ballot nominee as well.
Country seems to be a forgotten field with the NomCom.  But I say that Campbell, Patsy Cline and Willie Nelson would do well with voters.

Joe Cocker and the Neville Brothers are 2 names that could get huge support when and if they are nominated.  Might take them a ballot or 2 to make it.  Both seem to have slipped through the cracks of the NomCom, much like Jimmy Cliff, Dr. John and Leon Russell did.  But we all know that they got inducted right away (2 were voted in, the other under a different category).

And speaking of  omissions (and the Hall has many), what about Roxy Music?  Never even been nominated.  But maybe the Hall will go and give Kraftwerk another nod.

Thinking they'll keep the Cure on the ballot for their token 80's Alternative pick.  But maybe they'll switch and go with the Smiths or Depeche Mode Or Joy Division/New Order.

Couldn't make up my mind about ELO.  It was either them Chicago, Steve Miller Band, Hall & Oates or the J. Geils Band.   But it seems the Hall favors the J.Geils Band among this group.

The 50's.  Still names to induct.  Chuck Willis forever nominated and never getting voted in.  The Hall might have to slip him in someday.  Same with the "5" Royales or the Dominoes.  Actually, all acts from the 50's, if they keep getting bypassed by voters,  the Hall will have to look into coming up with an alternative ballot for them, or just changing the rules again and putting them in as Early Influences.   I say a good old fashioned Veteran's Committee might have to be established to deal with these acts.
That's why I'm rolling the dice and saying no one gets nominated, but I'd go with Chuck Willis if one does get on.

Don't know how many more Blues names they can nominate before eventually getting to Stevie Ray. Maybe they'll give the category a rest this year.   But they could still nominate people like Albert King, Paul Butterfield Blues Band and Johnny Winter before him.  But for Vaughan fans who wonder when his time will come, I say soon, but then I've been saying that since he's been eligible.

War and Gram Parsons are 2 names the Hall wants inducted, but voters have soured on.  It's surprising with Parsons because he was a critic and artist fave.  Voters slighting War probably think they were just another crossover R&B act from the 70's with no influence.  How sad.

I thought Heart would go in right away last year.  We'll see if they return to the ballot this year.  It's possible their 80's power ballads have hurt them with voters.

Not only is the Hall hearing it from Metalheads, but also from those who believe that not enough Women are getting in.  They have a point.  There are a lot of excellent names that are waiting just to be nominated.   For that reason, I have Joan Jett making another appearance. but Linda Ronstadt would be a better choice.

Also went back and forth on the Monkees and Whitney Houston.  Jann Wenner would love to get both nominated & inducted.   TV Ratings!!!  Can death get you on the ballot quicker?  This year will be a good test.   Whitney, the Monkees and Donna Summer nominated on the same ballot?  The NomCom is rarely that generous.

And besides, won't Whitney take away votes from Donna Summer?

Warning!   The Hall's final ballot is always full of surprises, head-scratchers and seems to be made to inspire heated conversation.    Deep down, Peresman, Landau & their wacky gang of NomCom's love the attention.  They want various message boards to light up and for people to bitch, complain and be outraged.
And I'm sure we will.

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