Thursday, October 11, 2018

Here We Go Again: THE RNRHOF 2019

  • Def Leppard
  • Devo
  • Janet Jackson
  • John Prine
  • Kraftwerk
  • LL Cool J
  • MC5
  • Radiohead
  • Rage Against the Machine
  • Roxy Music
  • Rufus featuring Chaka Khan
  • Stevie Nicks
  • The Cure
  • The Zombies
  • Todd Rundgren

Bullshit or not, The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame is a great yearly discussion. I look forward to the same debates much in the same way I look forward to Thanksgiving, or my yearly physical. The conversation is not without its greatest hits.

"Rap sucks!"
"What about Procol Harum?"
"Fuck Radiohead, I'm voting for Don & Dewey."

Without further ado, I'd like to offer my nickel's worth of opinions on this year's nominees.

As far as hard rock and hair bands go, Def Leppard ain't bad. As a matter of fact, they've put out at least a half dozen excellent singles, including "Photograph" and "Bringing On The Heartbreak." But, no. Absolutely not ever! If it only had to do with sales, maybe. Otherwise, I see nothing special here. Keep moving.

I do love that first album, and that string of MTV hits were damn catchy. But what have they done since 1985? Who have they influenced? If there is a weirdo wing, then yes! Devo, to me, are legendary for the wrong reasons.

Of course not. No. Why? She wasn't part of The Jackson 5 or Motown, at least not for her hit-making streak. Just no.

Prine has surely written some amazing songs, and lord knows he's influenced many. I just don't see it happening, though I wouldn't be upset if it did.

Charming guy. First few records for DefJam full of great tunes. Might have even influenced a few hip-hop artists a long the way. But, no sir. Just not deep enough.

Something tells me Radiohead is going in. Long time readers know how I feel about this band. They peaked with "OK Computer," one of the greatest records of the last 25 years, arguably, of all time. But since then it's been a patience contest. Fans would of course, disagree, which is why they will be chosen. I'd need one more masterpiece before I'd be convinced.

No. Aggressive, politically charged, relevant. Check, check, check. Musical? Occasionally. Influential? Possibly. I still say no.

They were damn good when they were good. Not many could mix rock, funk, R&B and jazz, as well as these guys. But those days in the sun were short-lived. I say, no.

Miss Nicks is already in with that other band. As a solo artist, she's had some good singles, but not much more than some good singles. Maybe someday, but not now.


Ralf and Florian were innovators. Few, if any, were creating the sounds and rhythms they were making prior to their debut. They were a big influence on Bowie's Berlin Trilogy. Bowie's Berlin Trilogy still gets talked about today as being influential. They crossed over in to the pop world. They had huge club hits. I vote yes. Big yes!

These guys recorded only three records. Three very uneven records. But what was good, was great! And there isn't a rock and roll band, or metal band, or punk band who hasn't cited The MC5. Influential? Oh yeah! Important? Damn straight! Yes.

Fan or not, it's hard to ignore the fact that no one sounded like Roxy Music, not then and not now. This was a truly original band that appealed to fans of pop music, glam, punk, jazz and the avant-garde. They made a seamless transition from art rock to new romantics. Each record, beginning with their debut broke new ground. I'm voting yes, please.

I don't mind The Cure. I truly love The Zombies. The Cure made a lot of records. The Zombies didn't. The Cure have been going strong since their inception and have put together a massive fan base. The Zombies did very little since, though individually, Argent, Blunstone and White have contributed great work has solo artists and producers. "The Love Cats." "Odessey & Oracle." Who do I want in? The Zombies, of course. Who will get it? The Cure, but one can hope.

He pisses off a lot of people. He's sabotaged his own career, sometimes spitefully. He's consistently released inconsistent records since his days with The Nazz. Many of you think I'm out of my mind for loving him as much as I do. But, if you keep me out of this, you'd have to really make a case to keep Todd Rundgren out of the Hall. As a vocalist, as a guitar player, as a songwriter and most definitely as a producer, Todd has done plenty to love. He better get in, otherwise, there will be hell to pay.


buzzbabyjesus said...

We are in total agreement here.

Troy said...

It seems as though every year there has to be some artist that has enough commercial appeal or name recognition to be able to put into news headlines, etc. and generate enough attention or 'clicks'. For that reason alone, I see at least 1-2 of the following getting in: Def Leppard, Janet Jackson, Stevie Nicks, The Cure. Not that I think any of them belong in the HOF...

After that, they can include 1-2 who may be deserving but have lower name recognition.

Finally I have to say that, of all classes over the years, this is the year where the nominees are the least interesting to me personally. Every year there has been someone that I would have seen or liked to see. This class leaves me cold. That's just me.

A guy called Tak said...

Todd is the only one who deserves to be inducted this year, period.
RNRHOF shouldn't be determined by how many gold/platinum albums artists had.

Shriner said...

I would argue for DEVO. Nobody sounded like that at the time and nobody still does, IMO. They had an influence on music video most definitely. But I see Kraftwerk taking that slot this time around.

The MC5, though -- deserves a slot in that newly-created "influential singles" section for "Kick out the Jams" without question and that'a about it (and this is coming from somebody who has lived in the Detroit area for his entire life and is overly happy to see anybody from the area make it to the Hall)

For me, the only two locks are Todd and (undeservedly in this grouping by probably is owed favors by Jann Wenner) Stevie Nicks. (The last I saw, Stevie is leading the "fan voting" ballot thing, so I'm sure the rest of the actual voters already checked that box for her, too...)

I think the Zombies *might* get in before Argent and/or Blunstone die, though.

drstu said...

Since I don’t even know a lot of these bands and artists that get nominated, I’ll take your word on a lot of these things(haven’t a clue about Def L or the Cure) but I still want to know where the hell is Zevon and Nilsson. Ask the same question every year.

Gene Oberto said...

Of course, Mr. Rundgren, and long overdue.
Saw Roxy (well, Bryan Ferry and his band) and it was just as professional, wonderful, entertaining and musical as ever.
Kraftwerk's "Telephone Call" is my ringtone. ("The number you have reached has been disconnected...") They are long overdue as a group that popularized electronic music in a variety of facets.

Brett Alan said...

If Janet Jackson and LL Cool J aren't deserving, then none of the other artists on the ballot should even be discussed. Janet and LL are by far the most qualified artists on the ballot, with long-term success, critical acclaim, and huge influence. If those two get in and any three of Radiohead, RATM, Kraftwerk, Rundgren, The Cure, and Rufus join them, it will be an excellent class. I love the Zombies, but, come on, they basically made two albums. Granted one of the two is one of the greatest albums in all of rock, and the other had a couple of legendary hit singles, but it's still hard for me to put them in.

Sal Nunziato said...

Who exactly, Brett Alan, has Janet Jackson influenced? I certainly wouldn't deny an argument for Janet being in, I'm just taken by your opening sentence.

Charlie Messing said...

Well, I agree with almost every single one of yours, Sal! I would trade Todd for Devo, but that is because I'm weirdo, rather than poppy. Outsider, whatever. I also agree with the fellow who lamented the exclusion of Zevon and Nilsson, but more than either I'd pick Link Wray. And yes, Devo did fall apart back in the early 80s, as Casale has said. When Mothersbaugh used a machine instead of the excellent Alan Myers, they lost Myers, me, and It. Good work, fella.

itsok2beright said...

We agree on 1 and 3 halves out of 5, sort of.

Roxy Music: They were New Wave and Punk, before New Wave and Punk were cool. Influenced many artists. Definite yes vote.
MC5: They were Bad-Ass before Bad-Ass was cool, Mutha-Fucka. But, longevity and influence are somewhat limited. Maybe.
The Zombies: Similar to MC5. They stood out in their era, but aside from a few radio songs, sort of walked away aimlessly (zombie pun, sorry). Maybe.
Todd: I go back and forth. Very long career, with high quality and well written music, though, he did stub his toe a few times. But, there was nothing earth-shattering that influenced the masses (not that this is a criteria). Maybe so, mainly due to his longevity.

I personally feel Janet should be given more of an opportunity. Her music did cross over some genre's and she certainly had a reasonably long career without too many major missteps. She used videos to her advantage very well. Though, if her last name was not Jackson, would she have been as popular? IDK.

Maybe not this year, but at some point I would vote for Rage. Breakthrough and wide-ranging sound. Yes, political, but not offensive. Very talented, but short-lived as that particular group.

Don't know enough about Kraftwerk. The others are just not deserving to be in a Hall of Fame.

wardo said...

Nobody should get in until they induct Nicky Hopkins.

Zippy said...

Or course you’ll know in advance that I think Radiohead truly and deeply deserve induction (for whatever that may or not be worth) beyond that, I’d still offer that I think they are akin to the Beatles or Floyd of our time, as far ahead of the curve as those bands were in their day, and not just artsy avante-garde, but with deep emotional, and melodic power. A band of big ideas, musically and intellectually. Influential? Undeniably. Do you think Wilco makes Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and goes off in their new direction without Radiohead leading the way? And so many other bands and artists who began using the studio as an instrument again.
After them, yep, Todd of course belongs. And MC5 and for me, Devo, Stevie Nicks, Roxy Music, and even though I don’t like them at all, The Cure.
As Gene Simmons once said (kill me for starting a sentence that way) it’s not the “Hall of Critical Respect”
If I were feeling extra generous I’d allow Rage and Rufus.
I love Def Leppard too, but you nailed it. Good, decent band. Good stripper runway hits? Sure. Hall
Of fame? Not if the term still
Means anything.

Unknown said...

Not surprisingly, I am in total agreement with you Sal. How do you like them apples?

Chris Collins said...

I vote yes on Janet. Solidly. She was a MASSIVE star in the late 80's/early 90s (albeit one with no actual personality whatsoever). About a dozen great singles. Everyone from Paula Abdul to Beyonce basically lifted her act. If Joan Jett is in, Janet should be in. And considering it's called the Hall of Fame, there's an argument that you can stop anyone in a midwestern mall and ask them to name 5 Janet Jackson songs and they'll get there faster than they do 5 Radiohead songs.

Sal Nunziato said...

"And considering it's called the Hall of Fame, there's an argument that you can stop anyone in a midwestern mall and ask them to name 5 Janet Jackson songs and they'll get there faster than they do 5 Radiohead songs."

That's a damn good argument, Chris. I should stop playing by the rules.

Chris Collins said...

Goody two shoes

Zippy said...

By that mall argument, Chris, Taylor Swift, Celine Dion, and the New Kids On The Block should be in. But that still wouldn't make them rock'n'roll.
Maybe a Pop Hall Of Fame.
And Leadbelly, Joni Mitchell, The Yardbirds, Frank Zappa, and even Bob Dylan probably wouldn't make it by your Mall method.
There's already an award for biggest sales totals, it's called money.

You can certainly apply those rules you're suggesting if they ever wanna open a Rock'n'Roll Mall Of Fame. The gift shop would be amazing.

Sal Nunziato said...

Wow. Good point Zippy. You’re out, Chris.

Chris Collins said...

I am out!!! Fair enough!

And I wasn't entirely serious. But, let's face it, we argue because the standards seem to be entirely arbitrary as it is- the hall already has Journey, Bon Jovi and other cheese bands. Should they be in the same Hall as Frank Zappa or Joni Mitchell?

And Run DMC is in there. So is NWA. Are they rock and roll? I still think that Janet was big enough a star that if Joan Jett or Steve Miller is in the Hall, then so should Janet.

And, mark my words- Taylor Swift will most definitely be in that hall someday.

Sal Nunziato said...

Well you do know I was kidding Chris. You’re so in. But, I could pose a reasonable argument for Joan Jett, NWA and especially Steve Miller before I could find a reason other than fame to induct Janet.

Chris Collins said...

I totally know you're kidding. So am I. I guess we differ on Janet. And clearly Steve Miller! to me, listening to Steve Miller and not listening to Steve Miller are the same exact experience

Sal Nunziato said...

I see a non-Take The Money And Run/Jungle Love Weekend Mix in our future.

Chris Collins said...

I can't wait! and forgive my above grammatical error

Rob S. said...

I think that Janet Jackson influenced a lot of performers who are not very well respected either. Janet has influenced Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Paula Abdul and countless other pop video dance artists.....and what is more rock and roll than exposing your breast at the Super Bowl.

FD13NYC said...

Those would be my picks, except for The Cure.

heartsofstone said...

I agree with all of your choices. The fact that Kraftwerk has been ignored until now is ridiculous. I love that they nominated Roxy without a bass player.

kevin m said...

Here is NY Magazine's view point on this year's nominees.

Personally, I'd love the Cure to get in there.

Anonymous said...

I think the problem here is an 'either-or' mentality. So there are folks who say fame should be enough, because rock/pop (And please don't try to demarcate the difference between those two, as it's a continuum; "Please Please Me" was done by a different band with different goals than "A Day In The Life", but they didn't pick "The Latter-Day Beatles" for the RARHOF) is....duh...popular music, and even dunderheads like KISS (Obviously I'm not a fan) were huge despite their crass incompetency belong in for that reason alone; while I skipped them as a contemporaneous teen, enough of my buds were fans that they clearly were of significance in their time, and that doesn't go away just because they were subpar and doing it as a career decision as crass as the cheese bands Mr. Collins noted above (And let me add, even the cheese bands and manufactured bands/artists made some great music, regardless of their intent; the term 'guilty pleasure' is not part of my vocabulary, and if I heard a KISS song I liked, I'd be happy to note that). On the other hand, there are those that say fame and popularity shouldn't enter into the decision. While I'm more in this school than in the other school, I, as is clear from what I wrote above, think it's folly to disregard fame/popularity in an award based on a popular art form.'s the criteria I'd use for the Hall. There's such a thing called the National Register of Historic Places. To get a place in it, it has to be argued that the place (often a building, but also districts or properties) played or represents a significant role in the country's history. It can be that it's sacred to a group (such as a mountain believed to be the origins of life, to Native Americans), that it's an example of a specific, important time in history (think: historic Colonial Williamsburg), that it's a unique example of America (such as the Watts Towers). These criteria incorporate both the sacred and the profane, if you will, and allow stuff important only to the locals (Places are nominated at the local, state, and national levels of significance) along with nationally-important places to be included. This prevents the local scenes from being eradicated because they weren't big in LA or NYC or DC. In other words, it protects the past for the future, important in a country as dynamic as this that often tears everything down for something new before we have a chance to assess its significance.
End of Part 1 (Blogger said my original reply was too long, so Part 2 follows)

Anonymous said...

Part 2
Anyway, by extending this philosophy to the Hall (But not overdoing it: Your second cousin's bar band may've been the rage at the local ragers, but they didn't put out any releases that caught the notice of anyone beyond the local weekly), there's room for both Janet Jackson, whose music I'm unfamiliar with (Tho I know it sold huge), and for some of the ones I think should be recognized for their artistry -- that is, their contribution to the art form of rock/pop, regardless of ultimate sales -- like X, Nick Drake, the Sonics, Billy Childish, Buzzcocks, Richard Thompson, Minutemen, etc etc. The Hall seems afraid of genres in rock except for Classic Rock, so prog, punk, garage and metal are all short-changed (And I do think of Hip-Hop, and soul, and Kraftwerk's electronic music, and disco, as being in my catholic-with-a-small-'c' definition of rock/pop). By my proposed criteria, it doesn't matter much if you know the Sonics hugely influenced a whole movement from the 1980s on of bands that embrace gritty mid-60s American garage esthetics; it's enough that that's a real thing, embraced by discerning musical fans. Of course, nominating such wouldn't garner the attention the Hall favors -- it too is after popular acclaim -- so it's perhaps not realistic to expect any significant change in how they do stuff. But the result is clear in 'business-as-usual': seemingly random choices being made, with, as alluded to above, Journey entered alongside Hendrix.
As an aside about some of the names bandied about in previous replies, I love Leadbelly, for example, but he should be in under 'Influences' rather than as a rock/pop artist, if, in fact, he is in under that designation. And, please don't attack my distaste for KISS; some stuff just doesn't work for me, and I came by my distaste for them honestly. I begrudge no-one else their loves and hates.
C in California

Anonymous said...

Hello, please remain seated,

Almost 30 posts in, and no one has mentioned John Prine? (Well, Mr. Nunziato did in the original post). Prine is one of the premiere lyricists of the past 40 years. If your not familiar with his work try googling any of the following:
Lake Marie
People Putting People Down
Unwed Fathers
All the Best
Bruised Orange

Those songs would put Any songwriter on the map, and they’re not even from his first few masterpiece albums. He is a true songwriting treasure who has influenced countless Americana artists. Come on HoF. Choose art.

Fun facts: Prine apparently keeps his Christmas tree up 52 weeks a year because it makes him feel good. And he still proudly subscribes to Archie comics. And he writes songs goog enough for Dylan to cover.


Brett Alan said...

Sal, Janet Jackson introduced New Jack Swing, which was the dominant sound on the radio in the early 90s. Bell Biv Devoe, Bobby Brown, Keith Sweat, and all of that stuff was very heavily influenced by Janet. Even today that sound shapes the sound of artists such as Rhianna and Bruno Mars.

This might not be your kind of music, but it's been one of the key sounds of the past few decades.

Ken D said...

I second everything RichD said yesterday re John Prine. Hands down, the best there is.

Re everything else said about the RnRHoF: sorry, but I simply don't care...

Sal Nunziato said...

I don’t know how long you’ve been a reader, but you should know I’ve written about all types of music, I’ve defended hip-hop, heavy metal, hard-core punk, the Pet Shop Boys, and everyone else in between I thought Janets escapade was an amazing record. What have you done for me lately was pretty damn funky too. And her Johnny Gayle cover of What’ll I Do on the Janet record was one of my favorite things that year. But unlike her brother and brothers, I still don’t think she belongs in the rock ‘n’ roll Hall of Fame and neither do Keith sweat, Bell Biv I still don’t think she belongs in the rock ‘n’ roll Hall of Fame and neither do Keith sweat, Bell Biv DeVoe, or Bobby Brown. Sorry., or Bobby Brown. Sorry.

Sal Nunziato said...

Sorry for the messy comment. I was dictating. One last thing, I wouldn't have even thought about debating this if your original comment hadn't started off with such a strong statement.

Dr Wu said...

While Stevie Nicks being inducted would confuse me far more than Janet (I’ve grown increasingly indifferent to the Hall - c’mon, Ringo Starr but not Roxy? And not a knock on Ringo, whose early singles were fantastic.), I would submit instead Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis whose songwriting and production were far more influential to the sound of Pop and R&B since their work with the S.O.S. band - Jimmy and Terry were hot well before Janet. And I do love Janet’s early singles and albums. I would understand if Janet were inducted and would wish her the best - and put ‘Control’ on the sound system at maximum volume and have fun!
And ‘Hell Ya!’ The Cure deserve to make the Hall: ‘The Head On The Door’ to ‘Wish’ are a run of great and classic albums. ‘Standing On The Beach’ collects the early singles and could make a solid argument for induction on its own. And certainly they were influential: many of the early-aughts NYC bands cite The Cure. Remember to cast your ballets. Namaste.

Anonymous said...

The MC5 and The Zombies are my favorites among the nominees listed and Todd Rundgren has created three of my all-time favorite albums. Beyond that I decline to step into the snakepit of whom is or isn't worthy of joining the R&R HOF.

My personal R&R HOF would include these musical acts for this year:

Dave Alvin
Los Lobos
The Meters/Neville Brothers
Procol Harum
Mavis Staples (as a solo act)
Richard Thompson
Lucinda Williams

Now that is Rock & Roll I can get passionate about!

Captain Al

Eric said...

how roxy music has been bypassed for decades with a half dozen genius records exposes the sham in cleveland. a sound as u pointed out has never been duplicated...i saw them at radio city when avalon was released....phil m and ferry=rock originals

too bad ur not a replacements fan

Eric said...

with regards to new jack schwing--- teddy riley and toni tone tony

Sal Nunziato said...

I’m not a Replacements fan? Thanks for letting me know. I’ll get rid of all my records and live bootlegs. Phew!

Anonymous said...

Happy Sunday, Sal:

I usually agree with you 100% but who has DEVO influenced? A hell of a lot of people, in my opinion.

Are they Hall Of Fame material? Probably not, unless you play the "If ____ is in there, then DEVO should be in there" game.

Rock On,

Michael Giltz said...

Hilariously, I ended up scrolling through Rolling Stone's 2012 update of their 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. I have only myself to blame. Unexpectedly, Janet Jackson has two albums on the list: "Rhythm Nation 1814" at 277, "The Velvet Rope" at 259 and . "Rhythm Nation 1814" by the way is listed just ABOVE Harry Smith's "Anthology Of American Folk Music" and below Parliament's "Mothership Connection." "The Velvet Rope" is ABOVE Willie Nelson's "Stardust" and below The Kinks "Village Green Preservation Society." So those two and NOT "Control?" Having almost no interest in her, that still surprises me. I would say Jam & Lewis for sure as producers, but not Janet. Of course any list -- 500 best albums, Hall of fame acts etc -- will look frustrating and dumb, especially when done by committee. Oh well. Nonetheless, I made the exact same choices as Sal when I first saw the list, so this time I must be right!

Anonymous said...

Springsteen, Mellancamp stand on the shoulders of John Prine.
Both should induct him in.
I can't figure out the beef, that Jann has with him.

Rundgren, the Runt, not actually - a tall guy.
His production credits rate up there with Glynn Johns, Eddie Kramer, Roger Nichols.
Badfinger, Meat Loaf, NY Dolls, Grand Funk, The BAND (!!!)
Rundgrens eclectic styles were incorporated by the Nazz, the Hello People, Utopia.

Nile Rodgers in...? Todd not in...? C'mon