Tuesday, March 08, 2016

New Wave/Alternative/Indie & The Rock Hall

Some Alternative acts that have been nominated:  Cure, Replacements, Smiths, Nine Inch Nails.  All still waiting for induction.   Alt-Rock inductees have included Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Green Day and R.E.M.   On the New Wave side:  Blondie, Police, Elvis Costello, Talking Heads and the Pretenders have been inducted. But the Cars, Duran Duran and Devo aren't in. Give the NomCom some credit, they are peppering the ballots with names from these genres.

So, here's a list of New Wave/Alternative/Indie acts that are eligible as of the 2017 Induction ceremony.
I've also rated their chances from 1-10.

Alice In Chains - As the NomCom considers the 90's, acts like this will be getting a good look.  Not as big as Nirvana/Pearl Jam/Soundgarden, but they seem to be just as fondly remembered.  But I'm beginning to wonder if the Grunge label is as poison as the Disco label.  6

Bad Brains - Legendary Hardcore Punk with a devoted following, that also happens to be loved by many of the acts they influenced who are in the Hall:  Beastie Boys, Chili Peppers.   6

B-52's - The ultimate New Wave party act, which is a description that might be hurting their chances of getting nominated.  Some big hits, which always helps with voters.  7

Bjork - Her first solo album came out in 1977.  It's possible that she'll be too quirky for some.  But no discounting her influence on many future female musicians.  8

Black Flag - Henry Rollins has become even more well-known than his pioneering band of L.A. punk rockers.  If the Hall ever gets around to the Punk genre again, then Black Flag will get a serious look.  7

Blur - One of the King's of the Brit-Pop 90's era.  But not much success in the U.S.  Still, Damon Albarn has managed a good career outside of his Blur work.  But they won't get on the ballot for awhile.   6

Kate Bush -  Might be a bigger influence than Bjork on future female acts, even if Bjork has had the longer recording career.  She's a revered figure and should get a nominations someday.  7

Buzzcocks - Although they turn up on Punk comps, the Buzzcocks could also lay claim to being alt/indie rock heroes.  Hooky, mostly short songs that blow right past any of their competition.  4

Cars -  Finally nominated in 2016, consider them New Wave/Classic Rock.  Seems like they had lots of support their first time out.  Expect them to be back on the ballot again.  8

Culture Club - Boy George was one of the biggest Pop stars on the planet for a few years in the 80's.  Kind of a mix of New Wave and Pop on their first releases.  6

Cure -  Nominated in 2012, Robert Smith was the King of Goth Pop.  They had just enough hits that voters should know them by now.  Hopefully, next time on the ballot, many more will come around.  8

Depeche Mode - Like the Cure, Depeche Mode had just enough hits that they can't be labeled with the dreaded "big in England, not the States" tag.  And they are still around.  So, longevity should mean something.   7

Devo - Like the B-52's, they suffer from being too much of a novelty.  Despite a strong back catalog, and influential sound, they will need a strong advocate on the NomCom to push them through.  6

Duran Duran - No doubt hurt by their teen idol image, but their was no mistaking their popularity in the 80's.  Still, I wonder if the NomCom, let alone voters, will think they were too lightweight for the Hall.   7

Eurythmics - Here's a puzzling omission.  Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart racked up lots of hits in the 80's, and Lennox even had a successful solo career.  More women in the Hall?  So why they haven't been nominated yet is a pathetic mystery.   9

Flaming Lips - Maybe too "out there" for some, but they are still around and still viable.  More popular as a live act than as a recording one.   6

Fugazi - Can you imagine Ian MacKaye's reaction to getting nominated for the Rock Hall?  It won't happen anytime soon, but this is the most independent/underground group on this list.  4

Hole - Courtney Love is one of those divisive musical figures.  Many will feel she cashed in on Kurt Cobain's success.  But you can't deny the facts.  Her band was one of the most popular in the mid-90's and an inspiration to future rock and roll women.  7

Husker Du - Alt-Rock with a dash of pop hooks. They didn't have much commercial success to go with the critical love, but did manage a run of great mid-80's records.    

Billy Idol - Thanks to MTV, Idol became one of the biggest male Rock stars of the 80's.  That hurt him with critics, but like Pat Benatar, his hits have endured.  6

INXS - Lots of hits.  But they remind me of other bands from the past who had tons of hits that can't get in (e.g. Three Dog Night, Doobie Brothers, etc.)   6

Joe Jackson - Jackson stood out from his New Wave songwriter contemporaies by releasing an eclectic batch of albums.  But that kept him just off the charts long enough that his chances are slim.  4

Jam - Ok, don't kill the messenger.  I'm not glad to say this, nor am I the first.  But are acts like this "too British" for the Rock Hall.  Sure, Paul Weller is a God overseas, but in the U.S. the Jam weren't that big.  Weller is still knocking out good records, and the Jam's legacy has grown since the 80's.  I hope they get a nomination someday.  But I'm not hopeful.  6

Jane's Addiction - One of the staples of the alt-rock format in the late 80's/early 90's.  But it's his role as founder of Lollapalloza that Perry Farrell might best be remembered for.   7

Howard Jones - Another act that got an assist from MTV and became a popular mid-80's act.  Faded after the 80's, though.   3

Joy Division -  Small discography = major influence.  The fate of Ian Curtis all over their albums.  "Love Will Tear Us Apart" remains an apocalyptic single.    7

Cyndi Lauper - Inducted into the Songwriters Hall in 2015, Lauper would seem to be a good contender for the Rock Hall, too.  She's So Unusual fits in with New Wave and until the late 80's she was charting hits.  8

Living Colour - Mixing up Punk/Hard Rock/R&B, their debut album is considered a classic.  Didn't maintain that momentum, but for a short while in the late 80's/early 90's they were one of the best Rock bands around.  6

Midnight Oil - Had 5 albums out before hitting in the U.S. in 1987 with "Beds Are Burning".  Not enough success will keep them at a Hall distance.  4

Minutemen - Just as the band was reaching mainstream audiences, D. Boon died at age 27 in 1985. But their 80's records still hold up and has kept their Indie/Punk/Alternative legend intact.  6

New Order - Featuring three members of Joy Division, they actually have had a bigger career, and arguably a bigger influence than that revered group.  Dance music meets rock and roll.   7

Nine Inch Nails - Nominated twice in a row (2015, 2016), their induction could either be imminent or they could languish on  the ballot for years.  But Trent Reznor is well-liked throughout the industry that I think they will get in soon.  8  

Sinead O'Connor - One of the most admired and influential female voices,  Not afraid to do her own thing, which caused her a sizable audience, she kept pushing boundaries as most great Rock stars do.  8 

Pavement - Revered 90's act.  That College Rock sound you heard since the 90's owes something to this band.  But see my blurbs on Sonic Youth, Pixies and you will get an idea of how tough it will be for acts like this to get inducted.  6

Pet Shop Boys -  Still around today, this duo's sound was an extension of the oft-derided Disco era,  Which means you could dance to them, and that's not always popular with the Rockists.  But just enough hits that a nomination doesn't seem a stretch.  6

Pixies - Being an influence on Kurt Cobain won't be enough.  Don't seem big enough for the NomCom.  6

Pogues - As Rolling Stone describes it, Irish Folk meets the Clash.  Not big sellers, but well-remembered, and they had that sound all to themselves for quite awhile.  5

Psychedelic Furs - One of those 80's bands whose hits get lots of play on 80's oldies channels, and were generally loved by critics.  Slightly under the radar for Hall consideration though.  5

Rage  Against the Machine - Stormed out of the gate with their 1992 debut and peaked with their 3rd album in 1999.  This should be interesting, though, now that Tom Morello is on the NomCom.  But they will get nominated pretty quick.  9

Replacements - Despite being critical faves in the 80's, it was kind of a shock to see them nominated in 2014.  But critical success, and their reputation as one of the last great American Rock Bands,  might not be enough to get them inducted.  6

Siouxsie and the Banshees - Led by Siouxsie Sioux, they were one of the first and  most successful punk-goth bands of the late 70's/80's.  Sioux was a captivating and colorful lead vocalist.  4

Smashing Pumpkins - Hugely popular and they weren't.  And Billy Corgan hasn't mounted the type of resurgence that could get them in.  Will get nominated, but induction could be years away.  6

Smiths - Too British?  Who knows?  But no denying how influential they were to bands on both sides of Ocean.  Nominated two years in a row (2015,2016), so good on the NomCom for keeping them around.  7

Sonic Youth - As big a critical favorite that is listed on this page.  Lots of classic albums, no big singles.  But if critical fave Los Lobos can get nominated, then Sonic Youth could appear someday.  7

Soundgarden - Getting lumped in with the Grunge era, they were more hard rock than that.  Seems like they are just a notch below Nirvana/Pearl Jam on the NomCom's definition of iconic 90's rock and roll.   7

Squeeze - One of the most critically-acclaimed Alt-bands of the 80's.  Just missing the big hits that could get them a serious look.  5

Tears for Fears - Broke through in the U.S.  after releasing a #1 U.K. album.  But their discography thins out after their breakthrough.   4

Uncle Tupelo -  One of the most acclaimed of the alt-country bands that came from the early 90's.  A critical favorite, but Jeff Tweedy's Wilco has a much better chance than this one.   5

X - Kind of forgotten, but they were one of the best reviewed bands to come out of the early 80's Los Angeles Punk scene.  6

ICYMI.  Here's a link to 8 other genres and their artists that could and should be Hall inductees/nominees:

Looking at 7 Genres & The Rock Hall

Suggestions, complaints, etc.
email:  tmlane12@gmail.com

This was a suggested blog post:  Thanks David.

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