An Incomplete Legacy of Rock & Roll

A trip to Cleveland is not at the top of the list of romantic getaways for most girls. Thankfully, my wife isn’t most girls. We went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum this weekend for an early celebration of our six-year anniversary and Paul McCartney’s 70th birthday. During our visit, we made some observations that were kind of disturbing, or at the very least, intriguing.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame & Museum

It started as a simple observation by my wife, “Abba is in the Hall of Fame?”.

I replied with a befuddled, “Carly Simon isn’t?”

We then went through a list of musical geniuses who’ve been overlooked by this exclusive club that surely should have made it long before some others, whom I won’t discredit by naming. If you look through the list of inductees, you will find many who would rank much lower on the list of their contribution to artistry and performance, much less talent.

For an artist or band to be considered, they must have 25 years under their belt. That’s the reason why The Beatles weren’t inducted in the first class, I’m assuming. They went in on the class of ’87, a year after Elvis was honored.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation began in 1983 and now has specific categories of inductions, which makes the process all the more debatable. For instance, there is a “Performers” category and a category for non-performers called the “Ahmet Ertegun Award”. The bad thing is, Carole King is in the Hall of Fame as a “Non-Performer”. Not only that, she didn’t receive induction on her individual merits, rather as a duo with Gerry Goffin (her ex-husband).

Harry Nilsson, one of the greatest songwriters of all time and arguably the greatest male vocalist of all time, not to mention a favorite singer of The Beatles, is not in the Hall of Fame. I challenge anyone to find a more perfect album than “Nilsson Schmilsson” by an individual artist. He was also one of the first rock artists to take the leap into standards with orchestra accompanying his incredible voice.

This one is peculiar. Bon Jovi is not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Others that may surprise you, and keep in mind who IS in before you discount those who are not; Journey is not. Now, I know you can’t have every band inducted at once. I know it takes years for many of these bands to receive their accolades. There’s just a lack of comprehension that Alice Cooper’s band would be included in 2011 and KISS would not have been included at all. Not that he doesn’t deserve it, mind you, it’s just odd to think about.

Kansas, The Cars, Joan Jett, Wings and Peter Frampton are nowhere to be seen. The Zombies are only on AMC’s Walking Dead. The Monkees incorporated television and music long before MTV. The Big Bopper was in the same airplane as inductees Richie Valens and Buddy Holley, yet he’s overlooked year after year.

The one that angers me the most is Blood, Sweat & Tears. There’s absolutely no reason why they wouldn’t be in there. “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy”, “Spinning Wheel” and nearly a dozen singles charted and about 20 albums, yet no nod. Maybe they just don’t like bands with a great horn section, because Chicago isn’t there either.

One of my favorite albums of all time is “Eldorado, A Symphony” by the Electric Light Orchestra. They’re not in. Neither is Bachman-Turner Overdrive, so no, I ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Apparently, the Hall of Fame hasn’t been takin’ care of business.

Does Black Sabbath (2006 inductee) deserve to be in the Hall of Fame? Yes, but not until Deep Purple is inducted. Lastly, why is Rush not in there? The greatest drummer in the history of rock and roll is overlooked. Not a broad enough appeal? Nonsense! Iggy and the Stooges are in there, and they didn’t sell a thousand albums.

I don’t mean to take away from any of the artists in the Hall of Fame. No doubt, this entire blog is based on my opinion. The problem isn’t with who’s in, it’s with the fact that The Association hasn’t been considered by The Foundation, but Abba’s in the Hall of Fame?

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