Monday, September 05, 2016

2017 Rock Hall Nominee Predictions

Populism rules! Well, it did in 2016.  But what about 2017?  That's the puzzling question we are all confronting when making this year's picks.   My own predictions run the usual NomCom scenario of newbies, known names, critical darlings, returnees and best of all, some surprises.

Once again, I have to throw this out there: I've been following the Rock Hall for a long time, but I have no moles within the NomCom feeding me info, so these picks are just a guess. NomCom members apparently are told not to talk about what goes on at their annual meeting.  Some little tidbits do sneak out.  This is why it's so hard to predict what will happen.  And in the end, only a handful of my choices will make the cut, anyway.

But we do have to wonder.  If there is indeed a need to satisfy HBO with big name inductees, what will happen to the nomination chances for those that don't fit that description?  Does this mean that past nominees like Gram Parsons, Joe Tex, Replacements and the Meters won't return to the ballot?

Anyway, 15 nominee picks below,  plus one with an **, which is explained next to their name.

1. Cars - Nominated for the first time last year, these New Wave/AOR/Top 40 staples should get another good look this time.  Or a populist group like Journey or ELO  could land here.

2. Chaka Khan - Last year 5 R&B act were nominated, and none got in, so I gave the NomCom credit for giving the genre a try.  I expect they'll get close to that number this year. Nominated solo last year and with Rufus in 2012, Chaka's a big enough diva with more than enough crossover appeal to get back on the ballot.

3. Chic -  At this point I wouldn't be surprised if they don't get nominated.

4. Commodores -  Yep, this would be a surprise.  But, hey, how about a "Populist" R&B pick for a change?  And let's face it, the Hall is lacking in 70's/80's R&B inductees.  Lionel Richie & Co. were a pretty popular crossover group along the lines of Earth, Wind & Fire.  I'd also like to see SpinnersKool & The Gang, Ohio Players, Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes get some attention.  The NomCom loves War, so they are probable.

5. Eurythmics  -  Annie Lennox is a beloved figure, and the Eurythmics had just enough hits Stateside to dodge the dreaded "Too British" tag.  There were only 3 women nominated in 2016 (Chaka KhanJanet Jackson and the 2 women who round out Chic), and the Hall was rightly slammed for having no inductees.  So, I'm certain the NomCom will have 4, maybe 5 on the ballot this year.
Re: Eurythmics. Although not thought of as 80's Indie Rock/Alternative, they could fill what is usually given in that yearly slot.   If not then the Smiths or the Cure will be back.

6. Janet Jackson - She might be too big a name to pass up, even though her pregnancy (or post-pregnancy) will coincide with next year's April induction ceremony.

7.  Joan Baez - Too Folkie for the Rock Hall?  That could be Baez's problem, but the Hall could use another Folk inductee and it's Baez that deserves it.  Don't know if the NomCom cares about these things, but she just turned 75 last January. And she's another Baby Boomer icon.  Just think who they could get to induct her (hint: initials B.D.)  BTW- this slot could also go to Nina Simone.
Also: nominate Baez or Simone and we're certain to hear from the old "That Ain't Rock Crowd" (aka the Eddie Trunk Gang or if you want to get technical, the Rockists).

8.  Judas Priest - So, now we get to the "What will Tom Morello do?" part of the program.  Eddie Trunk (yep, him again)  may not be on the NomCom but he might have Morello's ear.  We know he's told him to push Judas Priest on the ballot.  Is it a slam dunk?  Maybe Morello will push for someone else.  A non-Metal act like Bad Company  (FWIW, Steven Van Zandt's wife is always complaining that Paul Rodgers is a big Hall snub) would be a good choice.  Stay tuned.

9.  Kraftwerk - Nominated 3X, last in 2015, one of those influential bands that the NomCom adores, but voters haven't come around to yet.  I don't think the NomCom's going to give up on them.

10. Los Lobos - Last year's surprise pick could be back if Dave Marsh is as passionate about them as he was last year. Marsh's support centered around American politics in late 2015 regarding Hispanics. Well, a year later nothing has changed.  Enough for another nomination?

11. Monkees - This will be interesting.  A well-received tour and album could put them over the top.  But the NomCom works in strange ways.  I'm still not totally convinced about this.  If you're looking for a different mid-60's act, then this could go to the Zombies, Marvelettes, Shangri-Las.

12. Nine Inch Nails -  The NomCom obviously loves them.  On the ballot the last 2 years.

13. Pearl Jam -  Too easy.

14. 2Pac  -  Too big to ignore in his first year eligible?  Lots of other Hip Hop acts to choose from:  LL Cool J, De La Soul, Eric B. & Rakim.

15. Yes -  Twice nominated, it seems like every other AOR act is getting in, but them.  This is another spot the Moody Blues could take over.  Or ELO.

**Willie Nelson -  A perfect choice for the Musical Excellence slot.  The last Country act inducted was in 2009 (Wanda Jackson), and she started in Rock.  Before that, Floyd Cramer in the Sideman category in 2003, so this is a genre that is sorely lacking.  And there are good contenders:  Patsy Cline, Glen Campbell.  Both would garner lots of support from voters.  The first time I thought of Willie for the Hall was back in 2009.  Willie is as big a musical icon as there is and he's crossed genres with hits on the Pop Top 40 chart.

Just Missed The Cut:
BTW- Have to admit that the list below might be a better ballot than the one I'm predicting.

Aaron Neville/Neville Brothers
Bad Company
Bon Jovi
J. Geils Band
Joe Cocker
Kate Bush
Harry Nilsson
Nina Simone
Nine Inch Nails
Roxy Music
Link Wray
Warren Zevon

I remain a strong advocate for some kind of Veterans Committee which would induct pre-Beatles era acts.  The Hall seems to be playing around with the Early Influence category anyway.  Time to scrap it and bring in something new.

Read my thoughts about it in a post I did in December 2015.
Rock Hall Snubs & Veterans Committee


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