Criteria: 2012 Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Nominees. Names are in alphabetical order.
(Note: DDD is not affiliated with the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame)
Edited By: Sampson
Last Updated: 2011-12-21
QUALIFICATIONS (on a scale of 1-10)
10 - The Immortals
9 - Deserves To Be A First Ballot Lock
8 - Should Be Guaranteed An Induction
7 - An Eventual Induction Is Likely
6 - Should Be Nominated At Some Point
5 - Worthy Of At Least A Debate For A Nomination
4 - Not Insignificant, But Shouldn't Be Nominated
3 - No Business Being Debated By Committee
2 - No Business Being Even Mentioned
1 - No Business Visiting The Hall Of Fame Without a Ticket
2012 Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Nominees
Each year the Rock 'n' Roll Hall Of Fame nominating committee takes a small step forward in their approach to their duties, they seem to take two steps backwards by injecting their own personal agenda into the proceedings. This year they've continued the much needed expansion of the ballot, selecting 15 artists for consideration for the Class of 2012. They've also, at least on the surface, made a more conscious attempt at diversity in areas of race (6 black artists on the ballot), gender (5 acts with female representation) and in point of origin (2 Brits, 1 Scot). All of that is welcome after years of white male guitar dominated ballots. Additionally the committee, while still battling to control their overt obsession with the late 60's/early 70's scene their members came of age in, has begun to put forth more artists who've only recently become eligible. It helps in that regard that both Guns 'n Roses and Eric B. & Rakim both became eligible this year, but they're joined by five others who also had their greatest success in the 80's and 90's, a radical departure from recent years when the ballots were still heavily slanted to the old standby decades of the 60's and 70's.
But for all of these positives the unchanging nominating committee's longstanding tastes and biases are still far too evident in many of the choices. Acts from the 1960's and early 70's, though not overrunning the ballot as in years past, still account for more than a third of the nominees, while by comparison the 1950's get shut out from consideration this year. Furthermore, one of their choices, the appearance of Freddie King on the ballot further boosts the chances that the blues, a full-fledged musical genre entirely outside of rock, will get another inductee at the expense of a black style of rock 'n' roll itself, such as funk, disco or rap. That has long been the trend when it comes to the Hall, substituting outside genre minorities in an effort to appear racially inclusive while rejecting candidates from rock's own black dominated subgenres.
Meanwhile The Small Faces/Faces nomination seems totally unexpected bearing in mind that their primary members Rod Stewart and The Rolling Stones Ron Wood, are both already in for their later careers, which far surpass their more erratic beginnings within a group that would seem to be not quite important enough on its own to be seriously considered by most. Lastly, whichever committee member with an unrequited crush on Laura Nyro has to be told that while talented she's essentially a minor figure in rock's overall lineage and certainly not deserving of a third nomination when dozens of others who far surpass her achievements remain on the outside looking in.
In spite of these questions, the 2012 ballot does hold promise for an entirely deserving induction class. Nine of the artists would make legitimate selections and depending on one's tolerance for a lower threshold for induction four others have credentials that can at least be reasonably debated by most. But as questionable as the nominating committee's wisdom has been over the last decade or so, the larger voting body has been even more indefensible with their final selections at times, so while it certainly remains possible that five eminently qualified candidates can be agreed upon this year, the recent history of the Hall suggests that it is far more likely that there'll be no such sensible consensus reached. If nothing else however, the opportunity is there to be taken.
THE BEASTIE BOYS
As diverse résumés go, what the Beastie Boys slightly lack in charted hits (1 Top Ten single), they more than make up for in every other facet of qualification. Three #1 albums and two others that hit the Top Ten give them enough Commercial Impact to be viable. Their Musical Impact was enormous, coming at a time when rap was making huge inroads into the mainstream their arrival gave many suburban white kids their entry into that world, bringing with them a punk attitude that further blurred musical subgenres and which help make their debut, Licensed To Ill, the biggest selling rap LP of the 80's. Their follow-up, Paul's Boutique, was one of the most influential albums in history, bringing the creative possibilities of sampling to new heights and in the process setting the sonic template for much of hip-hop ever since. The universal respect they hold from across the musical spectrum is unquestioned, and the unique cultural niche they inhabit and their continued success and experimentation over the next two decades along with their enduring name recognition to the public at large makes the Beastie Boys failure to get inducted in either of their first two times on the ballot all the more baffling. At some point that has to change and with the advent of gangsta rap and the overwhelming commercial dominance the style found in the 90's and beyond quickly approaching the eligibility requirements for the Hall, it seems sensible that the Beastie Boys would make it in before that happens, but sense is not necessarily what the Hall voters are known for, so we'll see.
British artists have always needed to achieve mass popularity in the US for full acceptance of their careers, unless you were the Sex Pistols where mass notoriety was an acceptable substitute for success. The 60's British Invasion that began this trend has continued unabated ever since and the Rock Hall selections typifies this. Of the more than thirty European based acts to make the Hall, all were pretty huge in America. Jeff Beck may not have had hits, but his guitar work with other groups made him a name artist, while Traffic had the overall recognition of Steve Winwood to aide their cause. When those are the two least successful artists, outside the aforementioned notorious Sex Pistols, that means the bar for entry is fairly high. Thankfully there hasn't been much worry about the deserving candidates from the British Isles reaching that level, as evidenced by the sheer number who have deservedly gotten in. Which brings us to The Cure, who may just be the most interesting test case on the ballot. While not completely unsuccessful on the U.S. Charts (16 Top 100 entries, though just three Top 40 hits), their popularity in the U.K. is far greater, as they scored 4 Top Ten hits there, among their 20 different songs to make the British Top 40. Thus they are essentially a provincial British act with brief American acclaim, unlike most of the other 31 artists who were British acts in origin, but universally renown. With more such acts on the near horizon - Radiohead, Oasis, Stone Roses, et. all - the fate of The Cure could be indicative as to the likelihood of many more to follow. As it is, The Cure's influence is substantial, as they helped usher in bleaker sounds that came to symbolize many of the newer subgenres that came of age in the 80's and into the early 90's, yet they had enough musical diversity to break free of that image and expand their style accordingly. Not quite stacking up to the others on this ballot doesn't mean their appearance isn't without some merit.
As this year's candidate most associated with the 1960's, Donovan's chances for induction inevitably rise, as the Hall's voters have rarely missed a chance to show their love of the flower power generation. Donovan was one of the true musical symbols of that bygone era, a Scottish minstrel hippie, rooted in folk-sensibilities, but with a mystical outlook that was perfect for the psychedelic times during which he rose to fame. Though he had some huge hits, including many that remain widely known today, that extreme image he cultivated which served him so well when it was current has relegated him to an almost living caricature of the times ever since. Furthermore, while the lyrical insight his songs were seen to hold then got more closely inspected in years to come they began to be viewed by many as bordering on pretension as opposed to exhibiting a creative genius as once was thought. This modern reassessment quickly knocked his stature down several notches and made him seem a rather unlikely candidate for induction into the Hall Of Fame. But neither image he was saddled with, the pied piper of the times or the parody of those times, was ever fully accurate, and so a second reassessment of his career has begun to take shape and, perhaps needing more 60's icons to lavish praise on, the nominating committee has offered him up for the second year in a row. Has enough time passed to restore his legacy with critics and fans? Eventually it probably will, but perhaps not this year.
ERIC B. & RAKIM
If acclaim by an artist's peers and influence on the evolution of a dominant musical style of rock was accurately assessed and credited, then Eric B. & Rakim would tower over all of this year's candidates for enshrinement. But while those two areas of achievement are frequently pointed to by voters and used as reasoning for inducting artists who were not quite hit makers, it remains to be seen whether the electorate is actually aware of these two areas when it comes to hip-hop and the stature this duo holds as a result. Since Afrika Bambaataa hasn't made the cut yet the question of the voter's competency in judging this form of rock remains as of yet unanswered. Let's hope they get a quick history lesson if need be. For comparison the influence and stature of Jimi Hendrix as rock's pre-eminent guitarist and Jerry Lee Lewis as rock's defining piano pounder were all it took for both of them to be enshrined in their respective first year of eligibility, despite rather short credentials in the way of hits. The same should hold true for Eric B. & Rakim, for it was the latter who brought to the table a new standard of lyrical flow and delivery and who to this day remains universally considered the greatest MC rap has ever known. Consequently, while their familiarity with those on the fringes of hip-hop awareness may remain fairly low, their place in rock history is as vital as almost any name to come along since its birth in the late 40's. They elevated the art form to new heights and virtually all rappers since have strove to match the creativity and technique they showed. Of all of this year's nominees the fate of Eric B. & Rakim should be the one which is most closely watched. On paper, considering the voting body's history of neglect and lack of understanding of rap's place as rock's new cornerstone, they would appear to be a long shot, but in terms of credentials, few can match them.
GUNS N' ROSES
Any guess as to who the likely headlining act of the Class Of 2012 will be? If you need to actually guess at it you aren't qualified to even be discussing rock 'n' roll. In terms of sheer star power, controversy and the enduring image that rock music most closely aligns itself with, there is but one answer to that question. Ever since Guns N' Roses exploded onto the national scene with the record breaking debut LP Appetite For Destruction, there have been few, if any, acts to rival them for any of those things. They were the very definition of rock stars, decadent and larger than life, and, at least while it lasted, their music was every bit the equal of that image. Shaking free of the much maligned hair-metal tag that had brought that style into mainstream radio popularity, GnR brought the musical credibility and uncompromising style of metal together with the commercial viability of its less than respected mutant offspring to produce a run of classic material amidst a roll call of mayhem and ultimately destruction - of venues, reputations and the group itself. Years later most members have escaped fairly unscathed by it all, but in leader Axl Rose there remains the one irrefutable wild card that could threaten to deep six their well-deserved bow for their short-lived reign. The music world will hold its collective breath, hoping to see a full-fledged on-stage musical reunion of the complete group, knowing all the while that if they managed to pull it off without it blowing up it would surely be the first time in their entire careers they'd managed such a feat. Either way, their career has already left rock with an indelible musical and cultural image.
It is downright surprising that it has taken over a decade for Heart to get their first nomination. On the surface they seem like the exact kind of act the Hall loves to showcase. They were consistent hitmakers with a wide audience over two full decades, giving them instant familiarity to a huge contingent of music fans. They had perceived artistic integrity, which means that even the most elitist critic had to acknowledge that they weren't simply a vapid hit machine churning out unchallenging material to feed a taste-deprived public. In their midst they had two iconic female members, lead singer Ann, who could belt out vocals to match any man, and guitarist Nancy, whose skill on the instrument was never questioned even by the most chauvinistic male rock fan. Their 70's material ensured them continued airplay on the still-status bestowing classic rock radio formats and kept their musical legacy alive as the years passed. But somewhere along the line they apparently fell out of favor with those who make historical evaluations, such as the Rock 'n' Roll Hall Of Fame, whether it was their 80's forays into balladry that resulted in some of their biggest hits, but can leave certain critics squeamish, or if they just became another group that got lost in the cracks of time. How they fare now is largely dependent on how the majority of voter's simply choose to view them. If they are remembered mostly for their 70's work, and with the Hall favoring that decade over the 80's as a whole, their chances go up. Though they're not strictly a female act, since three members were male, but the two most identifiable remain the Wilson sisters, then there's a definite feeling they'll be competing with the other women on the ballot. Though not quite as qualified as Donna Summer, voters tend to go for chicks who can play a mean guitar. Fair? No, not either that they're seen that way, or that they'd be vying for one or possibly two female "slots" in the results, but that's probably the reality.
JOAN JETT & THE BLACKHEARTS
Speaking of female guitarists... A curious nominee, not completely without merit, at least for some brief consideration anyway, but strange considering the lack of any apparent reasoning for choosing this particular group at this specific juncture to appear on the ballot for the first time after a half decade of eligibility. The 80's were certainly in need of more artists than have been offered up the last few years, but there are many who are more qualified out there who are also still waiting for their chance to be considered. If female representation was sought then acts from Big Maybelle to The Marvelettes to The Go-Go's and Salt-n-Pepa require more far pressing attention by the Hall. While Jett and company have one immortal song, "I Love Rock 'n' Roll", and the accompanying riff-based attitude they recycled repeatedly in subsequent hits, making them somewhat limited, that song ensures they'll always be remembered, even without an induction for the group themselves. If the Hall Of Fame treated nominations as a stand-alone honor in of itself and simply saved induction for a higher level of immortality, then this nomination would be far more understandable. They definitely deserve that initial level of recognition, but since most nominees eventually get enshrined then it's hard to comprehend what they bring to the table that say their contemporaries The Pointer Sisters don't have significantly more of. Put another dime in the jukebox...
When it comes to defining rock history, the Hall, along with most critics, tend to place far too much emphasis on the blues, as well as country, in its story. While the blues definitely played a role in rock's evolution (and to be honest blues structure in songs forms the basis of most all non-classical popular music of the past hundred years at least), it was nowhere near as intertwined with rock 'n' roll as it's made out to be. They were entirely separate genres, blues existing with its own boundaries and definitions long before rock and continuing along those exact same lines even as rock took over as the dominant musical genre shortly after mid-century. Yet the Hall Of Fame has taken the perspective that since so many of rock's most hallowed artists have reverence for the blues and show clear blues influence in their own work, that it is somehow almost interchangeable. Therefore it comes as no surprise that the Hall has inducted six traditional blues artists as Main Performers, along with another eight pure blues artists as Early Influences, far more than are afforded gospel for one, which had a much greater influence on rock's style, particularly at its dawn. With that said, it's not that the blues artists don't deserve recognition for their influence on rock, they absolutely do, but when the Hall Of Fame continually turns to it while neglecting other divergent influences, or worse yet, when it uses blues artists in the Main Performer category to ease criticism that they have a clear bias against true rock subgenres that are black-dominant, such as funk, disco and rap, then it becomes problematic. None of that is Freddie King's fault, or concern (though he died in 1976), but it is necessary to note that his appearance on the ballot probably owes more to Eric Clapton's worshipping him than it does the Hall's own knowledge of King's work itself. For the record though, King was a vibrant guitarist whose instrumental "Hideaway" was a mandatory song to learn for any aspiring blues-rocker, and a phenomonal talent overall, but unfortunately his career was purely in the blues realm, not rock which is what this Hall Of Fame claims to honor.
Seriously? Again?? Haven't we been through this already??? Haven't Nyro's strict credentials by this point been shown to be seriously lacking enough to keep her from additional consideration? Is it not reasonable to insist on basic standards of qualifications in the areas of Commercial Success, Influence, Musical and Cultural Impact to be afforded the right to be nominated? If so, why is Nyro making her third straight appearance on the ballot when those levels have not been reached to justify even one nomination? She's ostensibly being considered for her reputation as a top singer/songwriter, yet as a singer she placed just one song - barely - in the Top 100, and that was a cover of a Drifters hit, not even her own work. As for her compositions for others, while she definitely had more success there, they were with songs that are on the outer most fringes of rock itself, far more comfortable in an Adult Contemporary realm. More pressing is not the question of why Nyro is nominated yet again, but why those like Three Dog Night, who did take one of her songs and make it a hit, haven't been considered, when it was they who actually were successful with not just her composition, but with dozens of other songs, eleven times hitting the Top Ten and being the hottest artist for an entire calendar year. If they are considered "too pop" for a nomination, why then would the songwriter who supplied them with one of those hits not be similarly disqualified? Furthermore if it's more her overall acclaim for her dual output as an artist who was more successful as a songwriter that got her these three nods, then why are other artists who fit that profile of being more renown for their songwriting than their own performances, but who had far more success and acclaim in BOTH areas than Nyro, not being offered up on the ballot, such as Don Covay, Jesse Belvin or William Bell? This longstanding crush on Laura Nyro by the committee needs to come to an end. Not being elected to the Hall Of Fame, or just firmly stating that she shouldn't be nominated again, does not imply that her career itself is without merit. It is only this repeated consideration for joining rock's all-time immortals that is meritless.
THE RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS
Two years ago when they were first eligible and made their debut on the ballot it seemed certain that it'd be their only appearance, for it was all but assured they'd waltz right in. After all they were exactly what the Hall needed and claimed was lacking among the more recently eligible artists - they were established hitmakers who still held modern relevance, they had the ability and indeed the track record of grabbing headlines with their live performances and thereby could inject life into the induction ceremonies, and with their election they could, temporarily at least, fend off critics of the Hall who justifiably complained that newer acts were getting shafted and the Hall Of Fame was becoming simply a place for crusty old-timers. Except something happened on the way to this slam dunk induction - they failed to get enough votes! Then last year, as if to confirm their snubbing, they weren't even nominated. But now once again voters have a chance to make amends and their credentials remain unchanged, yet still as impressive as before. They're still established hitmakers, releasing acclaimed albums and smash singles for twenty years, and they still carry with them the reputation as an explosive live unit with musical chops to equal their sometime bizarre antics on stage. Around the time The Chili Peppers first appeared on the ballot there was some talk that the Hall's governing body was considering dropping eligibility requirements from 25 to 20 years after an act debuted in order to speed up the process for the bumper crop of 90's artists they saw on the horizon. It was another inane thought from an organization rife with them and thankfully they decided against it. But had the Hall Of Fame simply grasped the importance and appreciated the accomplishments of those who made their debuts in the 80's, such as The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and all of the misunderstood and maligned artists and overall styles they callously dismissed due to their own narrowing tastes as music elitists, then they would've seen that there was no lack of deserving artists during that time period after all. Then perhaps the Red Hot Chili Peppers, with their aggressive funk-punk hybrid sound, irresistibly catchy songs with far deeper undercurrents, would've only needed one appearance on the ballot to earn their due.
RUFUS WITH CHAKA KHAN
One of the many enduring mysteries with the Hall's nominating committee was how certain big-name, influential and respected acts failed to make even a single ballot over the years after first becoming eligible. Among the most conspicuous absences from consideration was Rufus with Chaka Khan, who were a major presence on the rock scene for most of the 70's before Chaka embarked on an equally highly regarded solo career in the 80's. Was it that split in her own career that caused them to be ignored for years, since she did have some huge hits on her own that wouldn't be included in the group's résumé, even though she continued recording with them as well? It shouldn't have had any effect on their collective credentials, other than to potentially bolster them, as their work as a group was more than enough to make it on its own merit, with ten Top 40 Pop Hits and five #1 R&B Hits to their credit. Additionally, Chaka Khan's influence as one of the most rhythmic vocalists, male or female, in rock history is unquestioned and that would certainly fall under the career of the group where she first made her name. So if that were the case it would be yet another misstep in the Hall's effort to establish their competency, and if there's another more sinister reason, such as Rufus's style of funk not being known or respected by the nominating committee, or worse yet, thinking that they'd be unfamiliar to and possibly unwelcome to a potential target audience that the Hall claims not to ever consider, yet which seems to be excessively catered to year after year nonetheless, then that would be truly unfortunate. Whatever the case may be, this nomination is long overdue.
THE SMALL FACES/THE FACES
The Small Faces began in the mid-60's as one of Great Britain's most promising bands led by singer/songwriter/guitarist Steve Marriott, who led them to star status in the U.K. with a dozen Top 40 hits, including five songs that hit the Top Five. Yet frustratingly they were unable to break in America at a time when that had become the standard all British acts were expected to live up to. Their lone U.K. #1, "All Or Nothing" failed to even make the U.S. charts. Not until the totally atypical single "Itchycoo Park" in 1967 did they achieve any popularity in America, but soonafter the original group went down in flames, brought on by record company shenanigans. Marriott left in 1969 and was replaced by two future legends, Ron Wood took over guitar duties while Rod Stewart was handed the vocal chores. With their arrival and the change in direction of the band the name was eventually shortened to the Faces and this lineup was actually even less successful than the Small Faces, notching three Top Ten hits in England, but nothing that crept higher than #17 on the U.S Pop Charts and within a few years Stewart went solo and Wood left to join the Rolling Stones. It's a fascinating story and there are many in England who insist that the combined musical output of the two groups was the equal of their more famous contemporaries and if not for misfortune and mismanagement they'd have been universally recognized as stars too. But as anyone who saw the movie The Commitments can tell you, there are thousands of band stories that end that way, great potential, music that electrified all who heard them, but infighting, career missteps and other extraneous forces prevent them from living up to that potential. Now the Hall Of Fame wants to overlook all that and reward them anyway largely for what might've been? They're not without credentials, as their many hits in Great Britain will testify, and they certainly had talent, as the subsequent careers of many of their members will attest, but the American equivalent of this would be to induct The Falcons, the proto-soul vocal group whose members included Wilson Pickett, Eddie Floyd, the incredible bass singer Willie Schofield, acclaimed songwriter Sir Mack Rice and future Contours lead singer Joe Stubbs, who was the brother of the Four Tops Levi Stubbs. All were dynamite performers, they had two amazing hits, one of which was monstrously influential on future sounds, and the subsequent careers of most of their members leave no doubt as to their collective talent. But it's what you accomplish together which can be measured that counts and so it is unlikely the Falcons, as great as they were, will ever be nominated. Comparatively The Small Faces/Faces legacy would've remained more tragically romantic had they not been nominated and instead gone down as one of the great "could've been's" in rock history.
Of the 15 acts named on the ballot, only Donna Summer and Heart can rival the Spinners commercial success of 29 hit singles. But considering it's taken a quarter century after they first became eligible for them to even be nominated, it's no guarantee that their success will actually have any bearing on their overall chances at induction, so overlooked they perennially seem to be. Such is the fate of a group that scored big out of the gate in 1961 with a Top 30 hit, "That's What Young Girls Are Made For", and then had but one moderately sized record in the ensuing decade (on Motown no less, which couldn't get them across despite their unmatched ability to create stars) before finally breaking through in the early 70's with a lush Philly soul sound that defined the era of black rock 'n' roll. Considering that hugely popular style has been systematically ignored by the Rock 'n' Roll Hall Of Fame thus far, with only one other group of that subgenre having been nominated and inducted to date, that doesn't seem to bode well for the Spinners. But if their six #1 R&B Hits don't rattle the voters memories, or the tremendous lead voice of the late Phillipe Wynn doesn't impress them much either, there's always the fact that they achieved their greatest fame on Atlantic Records, and since Atlantic founder Ahmet Ertegun was also one of the co-founders and visionaries of the Rock 'n' Roll Hall Of Fame, there's a long held suspicion that Atlantic artists and executives sometimes receive preferential treatment from voters. The Spinners truthfully shouldn't need any wink and a nudge secret handshakes to at least be seriously considered, especially since the black vocal group sound of the 70's that was so dominant is so inexcusably lacking in the Hall, but there's not much to go on to predict which way the votes will turn out, because usually credentials like they have would've at least gotten them nominated a half dozen times already. There are three acts whose primary careers overlapped the 60's and 70's (Nyro and The Faces being the others) and The Spinners are by far the most deserving, but do the voters know this or even care if they're looking to that era for an inductee?
If The Rock 'n' Roll Hall Nominating Committee justifiably gets criticized for repeatedly offering up the same names to get rejected year after year, showing a tendency towards stubborn personal agenda of its members, occasionally that persistence is with a good cause. Such is the case with the undisputed Queen Of Disco who is on the ballot for the fourth time in the last five years. By any objective measure she should've been inducted the first time around, but voters have shown an outright hatred of the most popular style of late 70's rock and continually turn their noses up at the possibility that such an artist would be officially recognized for her towering achievements, which include over thirty hit singles, 14 of which made the Top Ten, easily the most of any artist on this year's ballot. Yet like it or not, disco was massively popular, hugely influential and far more culturally significant than almost any style of rock ever was in its time, and Summer was a talented singer who also wrote a good deal of her own hits, far more than Nyro who's nominated largely for her songwriting, or Leonard Cohen who was inducted a few years back based seemingly on his writing credentials alone. Summer's work was impeccably crafted and defined an entire era of rock, and while the voters may want to deny the decadent dance floor period ever existed, their repeated denial of Donna Summer's rightful spot in the Hall only keeps the focus on their own lack of respect for the entire story of rock.
Funk-rock was a band-driven sound requiring stellar musicians on all instruments playing an interlocking and unrelenting rhythm to create the deep groove it relied on. Yet as a style it was dominated by single visionaries who directed and fronted these bands, from James Brown and Sly Stone, to George Clinton and Maurice White, even Dyke Christian. The one notable exception in its formative years was War, a truly democratic ensemble whose whole was greater than the sum of its parts, even though those parts were uniformly excellent. Beginning as the backing band for former Animals frontman Eric Burdon, with whom they scored a few big records, they soon broke off and achieved even greater success throughout the seventies with seven Top Ten hits. Their Latin roots expanded the sound palette of rock across cultural boundaries and their style incorporated everything from the lightly swaying sound of "Summer" to the car culture deep funk of "Low Rider", which itself quickly took on its signature song's name to describe the entire sound of similar-records. Their politically relevant lyrics frequently served as a backdrop of the times and yet they never lost their audience by becoming preachy. Decades later their records remain well-utilized by hip-hop samplers, giving them an enduring presence long after their heyday. They've been nominated before, but despite their credentials War seems to always be in danger of being overlooked in favor of more headlining grabbing artists. Even with so many cohesive instrumental bands on this year's ballot, encompassing all types of styles and many eras, there are few, if any, of them who could've competed with War at their peak.
It would be unexpected and refreshing if the Hall elected a class that showed rock did not die with the mid-70's guitar bands. They could lean heavily towards the 80's and beyond with a lineup of Guns N' Roses, Eric B. & Rakim, The Beastie Boys, The Red Hot Chili Peppers with Donna Summer filling it out to finally acknowledge disco's legitimacy in an official way. But the chances of that all happening, given the voting body's longstanding reluctance to deviate from their own personal musical tastes, is unlikely. Yet there are a number of equally worthy alternatives to consider in Rufus with Chaka Khan, The Spinners, Heart and War, which would also showcase rock's diversity while not getting any objective historian up in arms about the selections, even though somebody slightly more deserving would invariably be left out. But this is the Rock 'n' Roll Hall Of Fame voting body we're talking about after all and as long as they have at their disposal the means with which to create hostility and confusion they probably are assured of doing so until they prove otherwise.
It should be noted that the other areas the Hall Of Fame considers without the aid or detriment of a larger voting body are the categories involving Early Influences, Sidemen and Non-Performers, all of which have had questionable histories themselves, particularly the Early Influence segment. By far the most deserving eligible candidates not yet in the Hall reside here and that has got to be addressed. Wynonie Harris, Roy Brown, The Ravens, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Big Jay McNeely and Amos Milburn are mandatory selections to say the least and long overdue. They along with Russell Simmons, Cosimo Matassa and Tom Dowd from the Non-Performers category and Sam "The Man" Taylor, Mickey "Guitar" Baker and Maceo Parker from the sidemen category remain among the Hall's most glaring and unforgivable omissions. Year after year these simple and obvious selections go unfulfilled which only weakens the Hall Of Fame's legitimacy as an historical institution. It's more than time these oversights started to be corrected.