Thursday, August 10, 2017

Rock Hall: First Time Nominated & Inducted (Updated 2017 Eligibles)

Updated for 2017 Eligibles (2018 Ceremony)

They waited forever.  But once on the ballot, they went in first time nominated.  For some acts, like Neil Diamond, who waited 22 years, people wondered why he wasn't nominated earlier.
And there were many others that the NomCom passed over, who eventually got in right away:  The Hollies 20 years, Chicago 21 , Steve Miller 22, Albert King 25,   Little Anthony & The Imperials 23, Dr. John 17, Bill Withers 18, ELO 20, Joan Baez 31, Hall & Oates 16 years. 

 Changing NomCom members helped get some of those nominated. At the 2013 NomCom meeting, new member Questlove was responsible for getting Hall & Oates nominated. Back in 1998 when they were first eligible, it's doubtful that they had an advocate on the NomCom.  New NomCom members means new voices which means new ideas.  Which is why I'm a big advocate in adding and replacing NomCom members every few years. 

So, what artists out there now, will get a first nomination and be inducted immediately? Remember that the voting bloc changes yearly, which could have a bearing on how some of these are elected and in what year they get in.  

I'm also on the lookout for names like Bobby Womack, Bill Withers,  Jimmy Cliff,  Dr. John, Miles Davis, etc. Surprise (to me at least) nominees, that ended up getting inducted their first time. How many more of those types of artists are out there?

The recent wave of Populist-oriented acts getting inducted (Rush, KISS, Chicago, Journey) had an impact on this latest addition of First Time Nominated & Inducted, which has been updated to include 2017 eligibles (2018 ceremony).

A Tribe Called Quest/Wu-Tang Clan - ATCQ's 2016 album, their first in 18 years,  finished 3rd in Village Voice's 2016 Critic's Poll, which proves how viable they remain.  Certainly one of the best loved Rap acts.   WTC are a Rap supergroup who are eligible in 2017 (2018 ceremony).  My guess is ATCQ will get nominated first.  They've been eligible since 2015.  

Bad Company - Classic Rock acts aren't always an easy one to figure (Yes, Deep Purple, KISS-nominated twice) were passed up when first nominated with voters. But with more of his peers being inducted, Paul Rodgers should have all the support he needs.  Not to mention Bad Co.'s had quite a few songs that are Classic Rock staples,  and don't forget Free, which are equally respected. 

Bjork - Though she lacks the U.S. commercial success of Annie Lennox or Cyndi Lauper, Bjork has been a critical favorite since the early 90's.  Her influence on Alt/Indie & Rock artists is pretty wide.  The NomCom will get to her someday.  By then she should be a strong pick.

Carole King/Carly Simon/Stevie Nicks/Tina Turner -  If it ever happened, King would go in right away for  her solo career.  It seems the NomCom decided years ago that her induction as a non-performer in 1990 was good enough.  But there's a push to get her in for her very deserving recording career.  Stevie Nicks is a new name that I've seen mentioned.  Hard to top her Fleetwood Mac hits, but she's had a fine solo run.  It doesn't seem like it will happen, but Tina Turner could also get a good look for her post-Ike years. Carly Simon could be a NomCom surprise pick, and should do very well with the Baby Boomer vote, especially those that love Singer/Songwriters. And besides if Sting can get a nomination for his solo career, these more deserving names should get one as well. 

Commodores/Lionel Richie - All this Rock Hall Populist talk only refers to Rock acts.  What about Populist R&B ones?  True, 70's R&B Vocal Groups/Bands don't do very well with Hall voters.  Mostly because not many have been nominated.  My beloved The Spinners have been nominated, but passed over 3X, and others like Kool & The Gang, the Gap Band, Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, Ohio Players, Stylistics, can't get on the ballot.   The last one inducted by voters was in 2009,  Little Anthony & The Imperials.  In 2015 the "5" Royales got in as an Early Influence.  The Commodores were one of the biggest crossover bands of the 70's/80's.  On a par, hits wise at least, with Earth, Wind & Fire.  Lionel Richie became one of the 80's biggest Pop stars.  But like Phil Collins, has received only scant critical praise.  As with Genesis though,  current Hall members could reward Richie's longevity, and the Commodores solid catalog of hits all in one vote.       

Cyndi Lauper - Another MTV mainstay.  The image may have taken over how some perceived her music, but the decades have proven that her best records were superb.  And in 2015 she was elected to the Songwriters Hall of Fame. 

Dire Straits - Here's a name that I've only seen mentioned briefly as a certifiable snub.  But think about some of the current Hall members that Mark Knopfler has worked with. He's one of those well-respected artists that his peers would support. And they were pretty big in the mid-80's.  

Doobie Brothers -  A good old populist Rock band.  Here's how they could go in first time:  still touring, lots of hits played on AOR and Oldies 70's stations, been around forever and many of their fellow 70's inductees would vote for them.  I'm giving them a very slight nod in this newly minted Populist AOR genre over Foreigner. And a wider nod over Boston and Peter Frampton.  But not  Jethro Tull, Dire Straits, Bad Company or the Moody Blues

Eurythmics - An MTV staple, they also crafted many of that decade's most memorable hits. Another NomCom mystery.  Why have they not been nominated?  By now Annie Lennox is as loved as any female singer from any era. 

Foreigner - In 2013, Mick Jones and Lou Gramm were inducted in the Songwriters Hall, so there is some support for them inside the music biz.  Maybe not enough for a first time induction, but not out of the question.  Big selling Classic Rock Act who still get played on multiple radio formats.  Would also do well with current AOR acts are in.

Glen Campbell -  And how about some Populist Country acts?  Campbell is a name I thought about for the Hall in 2013.  A sentimental, but deserving favorite.  I can't believe he rarely gets mentioned among Hall snubs. But remember.  He was never a critical favorite even when he was having hits. But his career has gotten a closer look since his passing.  Campbell's in the Country Hall, was part of the fabulous Wrecking Crew, and also hosted a late 60's/early 70's TV series that helped expand Country's reach (with many Pop/Soul artists as guests). The last Country artist inducted was Floyd Cramer in the sideman category, 2003.  Wanda Jackson, was an Early Influence inductee in 2009, but she started in the Rock field. Campbell would also make a strong Musical Excellence pick.

Harry Nilsson - In a somewhat similar position as Warren Zevon.  Loved by many current Hall of Famers.  Once he's on, he's in. 

Jethro Tull - Like ELP, people tend to forget how popular Jethro Tull were in the first half of the 70's.  And with many of their Classic Rock contemporaries recently going in, they might go right in.  Eligible since 1993. 

Joe Cocker - In the fine 2017 Cocker documentary, Mad Dog With Soul, Randy Newman is puzzled when he's told that Cocker isn't in the Hall.  Billy Joel, in 2014 (same year Cocker died), wrote a letter to the Hall asking them to nominate him - Joel's letter. Fact is, no one can believe he's never been nominated.  One of the last of the Baby Boomer icon's that would be an easy first time inductee.

Johnny Winter - Looking for a Blues act that's respected by many of his Hall peers? When Winter died in 2014 many wondered why he wasn't in the Hall. Unfortunately, he now falls into a category, along with Billy Preston and Joe Cocker, of worthy acts that the NomCom missed while they were alive, but may leave out of the Hall forever.  

Judas Priest/Motorhead - I put these two Metal legends together for a reason.  Seeing that all Fan vote winners have been inducted, it's very possible that these two, when nominated, could top that poll.  So, if both do, does that mean they are automatically are in? Priest's fan base is pretty large, but Lemmy is one of Metal's most loved figures. 

Kate Bush -  While she never was as big in America as she was in England, her stature as one of the best songwriter/performers has only grown in the last twenty years.  Her influence was huge on many female singer-songwriters that emerged throughout the 90's and today. 

Kool & The Gang -  Just expanding on my Commodores post above.  Another Populist R&B acts.   Before they had Pop crossover 80's hits, Kool & The Gang were a pioneering 70's Funk band, who then morphed into a hit-making crossover act in the 80's. In 2018 they will celebrate (pun intended) their 50th anniversary. Look, it's time the Hall nominated some big-selling Old School R&B acts like Barry White, Luther Vandross and the other names I mentioned in my Commodores post.  But seeing how hard it's been for Chaka Khan and of course, Chic, to get in, I have little faith another 70's/80's R&B act like Kool & The Gang would get much love.  But I'll remain hopeful.

Monkees -  It's now just a question of when the NomCom will get permission from Jann Wenner to slot them in on the ballot.  (that last sentence is not sarcasm)

Moody Blues - The Yes snub had me thinking quite a bit about this one.  It's true that the Moody Blues haven't been nominated because critics, and many NomCom members, never liked them.  That was true with the old NomCom. But here comes populism.  With Rush, Yes, Genesis breaking the Prog barrier, the Moody's should go in right away. 

Neil Sedaka - In 2009, Leon Russell, thanks to Elton John, became the first inductee under the newly minted Musical Excellence category.  So, why hasn't Elton thought of pushing another one of his influences (signed him to Rocket Records in the 70's  and sang on Neil's #1 "Bad Blood") into the Hall?  Sedaka's catalog of hits, and longevity, might be enough for the nostalgic vote. But, sadly, the NomCom seems to have moved on from early Rock era performers.  Sedaka is another name that some will think is already inducted.  Eventually early Rock era artists like this, deserving, but left behind by the Hall, will have to go in by a newly minted Veterans Committee (which I've been advocating for years).  Sedaka is also in the Songwriters Hall.  

Neville Brothers/Aaron Neville -  Sometimes the NomCom forgets about artists.  Could be the case here. True, the 3X nominated Meters haven't been able to get in.  But the Neville Brothers are as much of an New Orleans institution as 2011 inductee Dr. John.   Aaron's solo career has been worthy as well. 

Nina Simone - The 2015 Oscar-nominated documentary on her life brought her career back into the spotlight.  So, many thought she would get a nomination based on the critical acclaim from the doc.  So far, it hasn't happened.  But I'm still hopeful and when it does, betting she'll get lots of support. Could also be an Early Influence pick.

Patsy Cline - Her legacy goes beyond the Country market, and into the Pop one, thanks to many crossover hits.  Ex-NomCom member Robert Hilburn was a big advocate for her induction. See my ending sentence from the Glen Campbell entry about Country artists MIA from the Hall.  Another Early Influence Candidate.

Radiohead -  A critically-loved Alt-Rock band that also has a loyal fans.  I think they will sail in when eligible in 2017 (2018 ceremony).  

Rage Against The Machine - Doesn't matter if Tom Morello is on the NomCom, they are another band that gained much acclaim and should do well in the fan vote.  Morello's a popular industry face/voice, and they should get many votes from current Hall members. Eligible 2017 (2018 ceremony). 

Roxy Music - Maybe I'm being too optimistic.  They only had 1 Top 40 record in the U.S. But Bryan Ferry's band was a critical favorite. And are often mentioned as a major snub.  Add them to the list of names most people can't believe have never been nominated (e.g. Cocker, Moody's, etc.)

Soundgarden - Eligible since 2011, which means they've waited as Nirvana and Pearl Jam have been inducted.  Not as popular as those two bands, but still around, and have the catalog to push them in right away.  I'm not sure how Chris Cornell's death will impact a nomination.  But before that I've been thinking they were pretty close to a nomination.  And don't forget NomCom member Tom Morello's Audioslave connection with Cornell.

Todd Rundgren - After Something/Anything, his solo career probably became too esoteric.  Maybe that's hurt him.  But add his Production work to his solo hits, and his case becomes even stronger.  Another candidate for the Musical Excellence slot.

Warren Zevon - Definitely a favorite among many current Hall of Famers.  Once he's on, he's in.

Whitney Houston - If Janet Jackson couldn't get in on her first try, then Whitney might have a hard time as well.  But maybe by the time they nominate her (which could be after Janet and Chaka Khan get in), voters will be more welcome to 80's R&B artists (yeah, I know, slim chance, but I'll keep hoping).  Even one as iconic as Whitney.

Willie Nelson/Kris Kristofferson - Two legendary Country Outlaws. Nelson would be just too big a giant for voters to pass up.   Willie's reach extended over to Rock musicians, who have covered his songs. As I wrote in my Glen Campbell post above, not many Country artists inducted anymore.  He would also be a great Musical Excellence pick.  Speaking of writers.  Kristofferson's legacy rests with the great songs he wrote in the late 60's/70's.  More famous as a songwriter (or actor) he still had a few hit records of his own.  Another name whose music was covered beyond Country acts.  How about the Hall do the right thing for 2018 and nominate or even better, induct Glen Campbell, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson in the Musical Excellence category.  

Notes:  Other names that I considered:  Cher/Sonny & Cher, Tom Jones, Jim Croce, Gordon Lightfoot, Jimmy Buffett

Remember: Current Hall members are still an older voting bloc.  Even though the NomCom would have loved to see the Smiths, Cure, Nine Inch Nails, Jane's Addiction and Depeche Mode get in right away, the more conservative bloc of voters might be keeping them out.  So what has the Hall done?  They are starting to seek out newer, younger voters among critics, writers, etc., to try and get those artists from the 80's inducted.

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