Sunday, November 26, 2017

My Predictions: 2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

A bountiful 19 nominees again this year.  Last year the Hall inducted 6 plus Nile Rodgers in the Musical Excellence category.

So, once again I'm predicting they'll stick with 6, although we're all hoping they squeeze in a 7th.  Unlike last year, though, I think we'll get another Early Influence inductee (or two).  And it will come from the main performer ballot.   The Hall has done some sneaky things in the past with its main ballot.  There's a sense they'll do it again this year.

Five of my 6 picks are first time nominees.  Which is what happened last year.

Bon Jovi -  Could they be the first act to win the Fan Poll and not be inducted the same year?  But even without winning that poll, they still would have a chance. Last nominated back in 2011. Since then Populism has roared to life at the Hall.  And the voting bloc has changed a lot.  Remember: KISS first nominated in 2010, inducted in 2014.  Or take the case of Randy Newman. Nominated 2005, inducted 2013.  With Bon Jovi, lots of new voters have been added since 2011. And some might not even know he was once nominated.   But let's face it.  Who are we kidding?  Winning the Fan Poll has to be their ultimate induction ticket.  Right?

Dire Straits - Like Jeff Lynne, it seems Mark Knopfler has worked with dozens of current Hall members: (Bob Dylan, Tina Turner, Mavis Staples, Randy Newman, Van Morrison, Buddy Guy, Steely Dan, Rod Stewart, Sting, James Taylor, John Fogerty, David Crosby, Eric Clapton, etc.)  Hey, I don't now how many of them return their ballots, but he's covered a lot of Hall ground.  Which means, like Lynne,  he's garnered a lot of respect among his peers. And besides, we forget how big Dire Straits was by the mid-80's. Good enough for a first ballot induction though?

Eurythmics - In my 2017 & 2018 nominee predictions I said Annie Lennox was a beloved figure.  In other words, who doesn't like Annie Lennox?  But will all that love get them in on their first try?  I've been on board with them since the nominations were announced, so while I agree with many who say they may have to wait a year or two, I'm sticking with them.

Moody Blues - This year's Chicago.  Many voters will wonder how they are still not in.  Now this would be a surprise if they didn't get in right away.

Nina Simone - She's getting inducted this year.  But where?  On the main performer ballot?  She has a real good chance here.  How about the Musical Excellence category?  No one would argue.  Or what if they teamed her up with Sister Rosetta as an Early Influence inductee?  Simone's first record came out in 1958.  Too early for an EI slot?  Didn't hurt Freddie King or Wanda Jackson (both 1956).  Anyway,  Simone's 2015 Documentary was an eye-opener for many viewers, and raised her profile sky high with voters. And FWIW: she placed 4 albums in the Top 100 of Pitchfork's 200 best albums of the 60's, released this past August.

Radiohead - So, it appears that not everyone agrees with me that this is a sure bet.  Being critically-acclaimed won't get you inducted, but Radiohead are seen today as one of the most successful bands from the post-Grunge era. And it's not like they didn't sell records.  Still, maybe I've overrated their 1st year chances?

The Rest
Cars - I get the feeling this really could be their year.  But it seems like there's always another Classic Rock era act that takes their induction place.  I won't be surprised if their name gets called in year #3. 
 Depeche Mode - One of the reasons no one will ever predict them, is the voting bias to groups from this era:  Cure, Smiths, Replacements all came up short.  Somebody has to break the spell one day.

J. Geils Band - Now on their 5th try, this Steven Van Zandt fave seems to be one of those names that is finishing in the middle of the voting pack.  Look, this is one of those years where almost anyone could get in.  This induction shouldn't shock anyone.

Judas Priest - Here's one to watch out for.  They will finish near the Top 5 in the fan poll, and I bet that's where they will finish with voters.  Which means a real dark horse for induction.

Kate Bush - This was as close to a surprise nominee that I saw for 2018.  She was big in England, but in the States was more a critical than popular favorite. Kudos to the NomCom for getting her nominated.

Link Wray -  A guitar hero, whose saddled as being a one-hit wonder, but he actually made many more great records, post "Rumble".  A sentimental favorite with many, the Hall could put him in as an Early Influence as well (first record 1958).

LL Cool J -  His 4th nod, and I'll keep repeating what I said on his first:  his acting career has diluted his Rock Hall chances.  But I'm glad the NomCom keeps coming back to him. Everyone forgets how big he once was:  the most popular male Rapper from the mid-80's/mid-90's.  Not sure that being the first rapper to receive a Kennedy Center Honor (2017) will mean much to Hall voters.

MC5 - Just never enough support. But it's cool to seem their name on the ballot.  3X nominee.

Meters -  R&B groups just don't do well with voters (R&B acts as a whole don't do well anymore), so little change  on their 4th try.  Maybe pair them with the Neville Brothers for a much better chance. They could also be a Musical Excellence candidate.  In other words, let's get them in!

Rage Against The Machine - Can't discount this groups 1st year chances.  Sure, Tom Morello is a NomCom member, but since Rage initially broke up, he seems to have been everywhere.  Touring with Bruce Springsteen.  Being part of Audioslave, Prophets of Rage.  He's done tons of session work and is very politically active.  Good enough for a 1st year induction?

Rufus featuring Chaka Khan - She's now been nominated twice solo and with Rufus.  It's heartening that the NomCom keeps pushing her.  But R&B acts continue to get 2nd class treatment with voters.

Sister Rosetta Tharpe - Of course she belongs, but her first record came out in 1938.  If that's not an Early Influence, then what is?  As I said when the nominees were announced, she's going to be slotted into the EI category.

Zombies -   A strong dark horse candidate.  One of the last British Invasion bands that has a chance for induction.  Should do well with the Baby Boomer bloc. Wouldn't shock me if they get in on their 3rd try.

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