Thursday, December 17, 2015

2016 Rock Hall Inductees Reaction

A populist ballot gave way to populist inductees.  Rock fans are no longer burning up social media with their yearly complaints about the absence of classic rock era acts.  My own predictions weren't bad.  I thought they would go with 6 inductees, but for the first time since 2011 went with only five.  So, in addition to picking Deep Purple, Chicago, Cheap Trick and N.W.A., I chose Janet Jackson and the Spinners.  Janet's absence remains the stunner of the night.  And if you want to know how I really feel about the 2016 class, my initial reaction on twitter was no women, no R&B acts and a big disappointment that there were only 5 inductees  (even though that's what Greg Harris said would happen).

Next month the Hall is going to name a non-performer or Musical Excellence pick, so there's still hope for a woman or R&B name to get in there.  What harm would it be to give the Musical Excellence award to Nile Rodgers & Chic?  The Hall will have a month to gauge reaction to their class, and anything is possible.  

But back to the class.  Rockists were thrilled.  Longtime Hall watchers not so much.  We expect diversity among the inductee class and got none.  Sure, it's great that another Rap act got in.  But without the hit movie, N.W.A. might still be on the sidelines.  Hey, I've got no problem with these 5 names.  I'm not the biggest N.W.A. fan, but I can see their historical importance on rap music. 

And the induction of Chicago is another poke in the eye to the NomCom who did everything they could over the years to keep them out.  My own First Time Nominated and Inducted page (which I've now updated),  back in June, had Chicago, Cheap Trick and Steve Miller going in if they got nominated.  But I was wrong about Janet Jackson and the Cars (hey, how was I to know they would nominated so many of my picks in one year). Also, what's great about Chicago is that they were never a critical favorite.  Fan faves yes, but critical darlings?  Far from it.  So, I love that they are in. Steve Miller feasted on Baby Boomer voters.  Cheap Trick are a long-running favorite.  And Deep Purple are often cited as the biggest Classic Rock snub.  

Still, if we want future induction classes to be more varied, then this year's picks are a cause for alarm.  NomCom member Questlove himself tweeted after the inductee announcement: "we need more a well rounded body of general voters".  And that really is it.  The Hall went all populist on us this time, and got the Classic Rock class that the Eddie Trunk's of the world have been whining about for years (these types are known as the "It's called the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, not Rap Or Soul Hall of Fame" crowd).  But will that happen again next year?  

What does this mean for 2017?  Outside of sure-shot Pearl Jam, the ballot will be another puzzler.  Will we see fan faves like Bon Jovi or a long-suffering snub like the Moody Blues?  I applaud the NomCom for getting 5 R&B names on the 2016 ballot and hope they keep up that pace.  More women like Janet Jackson,Chaka Khan, Annie Lennox should happen.  But 5 inductees?  No, let's keep it at 6 along with non-performers and Musical Excellence picks.  

Here's something that's funny.  I was certain I'd be able to delete some names from my R&B Artists & The Rock Hall  & Women & The Rock Hall pages right after the inductees announcement.  Nope.  No changes.  Not one.  That was certainly depressing.  And unless the Hall surprises us next month with some more names then those pages will have to sit until the 2017 announcement.  

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