Monday, September 07, 2015

2016 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Predictions

The great NomCom purge this past summer has many wondering how it will affect the final ballot.  Sixteen of 42 members were dumped.( Billboard article dismissals )Questions still remain months later.  Were new NomCom members added?  We know a few of the names dropped, but not all.  Just who did get kicked out?  Will this latest NomCom mean a whole batch of new names will appear on the ballot?

Maybe the purge won't matter in the end.  But I can see why many are worried that older artists will be passed over for more 80's/90's ones.  My own 2016 predictions take a cautious approach.  I've got many returning artists showing up.

Jann Wenner and Jon Landau are in a tricky situation.  They most likely want more 80's/90's acts nominated.  But there is still a large contingent of voters and Hall watchers that don't want them to bypass the early pioneers.

The 2016 ballot might tell us how future ballots look.  Will there be a more populist approach to the nominees?  And will Baby Boomer acts get pushed aside for Generation X ones?

I'm going with 15 names.  My own predictions list many alternate choices that could get picked.  And I also throw in many names while explaining my pick.  I figure the NomCom does the same.  Although I'm one of those whose followed the Rock Hall since its inception, I have no special insider information on what the NomCom will do.

As is always the case with NomCom, there will be a surprise or two.  And that's why we follow the Rock Hall.  We want to be surprised, shocked and perplexed when that final Nominee ballot is revealed.  And the Hall loves a bit of controversy too.

Suggestions, complaints, etc.

Bon Jovi -  More populist acts?  The Hall would love big names, and Bon Jovi is certainly one of them.  Among the fan faves but not major critical fave acts that get mentioned like Chicago, Doobie Brothers, Journey and the Monkees, Jon Bon is the only who has been nominated ( 2011).  And he just signed Irving Azoff as his new manager.  So, he'll definitely be back on the ballot one of these years.

Chic -  I still think something has to give with Chic.  Give them a Musical Excellence Award?   Sounds good to me. How many current Hall members has Nile Rodgers worked with, let alone crossed paths with over the years?  Guess it depends how many of those return ballots. Seems like everyone likes Nile Rodgers but won't vote for him.

Joe Cocker -  I know most people are predicting Ben E. King for the posthumous pick, but I'm going with this Woodstock legend.  No real reason or breakdown.  And I'd have no problem if both of them are nominated.

Deep Purple - Often cited as the biggest snub from the Classic Rock era. Not on the ballot last year. Nominated in 2013, 2014.  I also considered  Bad Company for this one.

Electric Light Orchestra  -  Jeff Lynne would be a popular choice with a good portion of current inductees.  ELO have always been a perplexing snub.  Kind of like Roxy Music.  ELO had more hits, but Roxy Music had wider acclaim.  The Steve Miller Band could also fit in under the "long time classic rockers snub" slot. And if it's studio geniuses you love (i.e. Jeff Lynne), then Todd Rundgren would fit here.

J. Geils Band - Trying to figure out who Little Steven will push on to the ballot is always a fun guessing game.  Among his gets:  Donovan, Hollies, Darlene Love, Small Faces, Dave Clark Five. All 60's acts.  So, what about this year?   My first inclination is to go with Van Zandt's #1 snub (to him) Procol Harum.  But he's also mentioned this King Wenner approved band as one of his pet projects.  Nominated 3 times, last in 2011,

Janet Jackson - She's getting ready to drop a new album and selling out her tour.  In other words, she's back in the public eye.  And yet, the NomCom might reach back and nominate Chaka Khan here instead.  She was on the ballot with Rufus in 2012. I'd love to see both nominated.  But Janet is an icon that the Hall and HBO would love to have on their stage next April.

Marvelettes - On the ballot in 2013 & '15, here's your early 60's act (first release 1961).  It would be a shock if someone from this era isn't nominated.  Unless they move up the Early Influence timeline.

Nine Inch Nails - Seems like they were close last year on their first try.

N.W.A. -  Would be an all-time NomCom stunner if they aren't nominated.  But will they be the only Hip Hop act on the ballot?

Sonic Youth - Kim Gordon put out a well-received memoir this year,  so their name was back in the music press.   They were always a critical favorite, but didn't sell a bunch of records.  Not sure how the new NomCom will treat acts like this.  This alt-rock slot could go to the Smiths or the Cure.

Spinners -  Maybe Dave Marsh gets his 4X nominee Joe Tex back on the ballot.  If not the Spinners, I would love to see a Commodores, Kool & The Gang, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes get some long overdue recognition.  At this stage I'd love to see more than one of those on the ballot. Or any 70's R&B artist.

Sting - Does he count as a singer-songwriter?  He was a surprise snub from last year's ballot.  The Hall loves this scenario:  Get Sting inducted and we can have a huge name like Springsteen induct him.  Makes for good TV, which pleases HBO.  Having said all that, I'd prefer  Zevon, Nilsson, Croce, Lightfoot, Carole King, Carly Simon or anyone else for this pick.

War - Nominated 3X, including last year. Not sure why they don't connect with voters.  They had hits and were pretty popular in the 70's.   Thought of giving this slot to another NomCom fave, the Meters (also 3X nominated, last in 2014).

Yes -  Many were surprised that after getting nominated in 2014 they were off the ballot last year. Chris Squire's death certainly has brought their Hall snub back into view. The Moody Blues could also, finally, get in this Prog Rock slot.

Side notes:   IWent back and forth on Willie Nelson. No Country act has been inducted since 2003 (Floyd Cramer, sidemen. And I'm not counting Wanda Jackson as Country). Lots of good candidates:  Glen Campbell,  Patsy Cline come to mind.   Nelson seems to be a perfect Musical Excellence candidate.  But I'd love to see a Country act on the ballot.   I've got no Blues acts, even though one always goes through.  Otis Rush?  Johnny Winter?   More women?  My own list has 4 acts with female musicians.   I hope they nominate more, Carole King would sail right in as a performer  But I had to take the conservative route.  Also missing? A 50's act.  Little Steven has said that many doo-wop acts are still missing. Link Wray could be back to represent that decade.  The newer names the Hall apparently wants?  Smashing Pumpkins have the best chance.  Soundgarden could be in the mix, too. And one final thing about populist acts.  We keep hearing that Chicago is close, but something (someone?)  is keeping them out.  Wonder who?

Others I considered:
Roxy Music
Harry Nilsson
Warren Zevon
Steve Miller Band
Cyndi Lauper
Kate Bush
Ben E. King
Johnny Winter
Otis Rush
Smashing Pumpkins
Patsy Cline
Dick Dale
Chaka Khan
Cheap Trick
Gram Parsons
Procol Harum
Link Wray
Joan Baez
Todd Rundgren
Ashford & Simpson

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