Criteria: 2013 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)
Written By: Sampson
Last Updated: 2012-12-21
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
2013 Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Nominees
The Hall Of Fame nominating committee remains largely unchanged from year to year and thus so does the look of the ballots they come up with after their in-house debates, reluctant concessions and cutting their deals with one another to each get a personal favorite or two added on. This year, not counting the two newly eligible hip-hop groups Public Enemy and N.W.A, both of whom should be mortal locks for induction, but probably aren't in the case of the latter anyway, there are 13 other nominees. Of those there are five who have been eligible prior to this year but are appearing on the ballot for the first time. On the surface that would appear to indicate the nominating committee is indeed changing things up, yet upon closer examination it is what those artists represent that sheds the most light as to the Hall's continuing fascination with one era and, by extension their repulsion of another era they remain determined to hold back as much as possible.
That said, nine of the fifteen artists are deserving induction at some point, while only one is completely out of place on the ballot, though two or three others are iffy at best. But recent history has shown that objective merits and quantifiable credentials are very often the last thing the Hall voters look at when making their selections and with even just a handful of subpar candidates to choose from there's always far too great a risk that the ultimate choices will end up being the wrong ones. As with every year's announcement, the breakdown of each nominee's qualifications, and the analysis of the underlying trends of the nominating committee that these names collectively signify, follows below.
PAUL BUTTERFIELD BLUES BAND
Long a favorite of the ubiquitous Rolling Stone magazine kingpin Jann Wenner, whose absence on the committee itself belies the overall control over the Hall he has, no matter what official denials are issued. Not surprisingly they are a 60's guitar oriented band with a connection to one of Wenner's all-time idols, Bob Dylan. Their own candidacy however comes up short in any objective measure, despite their undeniable talent as musicians. Halls of Fame are about achievement, not potential, and they didn't live up to it in terms of success or influence. Those two criteria are, by nature, not overlapping, though plenty of artists have both. Lots of popular bands were derivative and thus have no influence to speak of, while many without commercial success were highly inventive and have influence to spare. They have very little in both. Furthermore, if they're being judged as a blues outfit, which might be what they would want, there are far more important blues acts remaining, even though blues itself is a major genre untied to rock and therefore any artist with both feet in the blues is a questionable nomination to begin with. If they're being seen in a purely rock context then they simply didn't do nearly enough to make their mark on the scene. Simply being chosen to back Bob Dylan on stage when he first went electric is a rock footnote, not an achievement in of itself, yet that more likely than not is primarily the reason they're being nominated yet again. They released some good material, were a breeding ground for great guitarists, but what their career amounted to in tangible achievements isn't enough for even a lone appearance on the ballot, let alone two.
The flip-side of Butterfield and co., whose popularity was all but nil and whose influence was limited, as they were playing a long-established form of music with no new wrinkles other than skin pigmentation, comes Chic, an elite act from one of rock's most popular styles who became the template for the dominant commercial sound over the next five-seven years, influencing both their own style as well as shaping the birth of hip-hop. The fact that they were a disco band however means that in the eyes of many who viewed it as a horrible blight on society, which seems to include most voters, Chic is somehow undeserving of recognition. Nothing could be further from the truth. In a meteoric run Chic landed four Top Ten hits of their own, including two that topped the charts. Additionally, their founders guitarist Nile Rodgers and bassist Bernard Edwards, aside from forming 2/3rds of the hottest rhythm section of their era, along with drummer Tony Thompson, wrote and produced huge hits for countless other artists, something that critics and commentators have long used to praise those whose success extends to acts outside their own releases. Yet those same people are reluctant to give Chic their due and with the dearth of disco acts in the Hall thus far and the repeated refusal to induct both Chic and fellow 2013 nominee Donna Summer, the reason is pretty transparent - a personal distaste of the style of music itself. Yet for the Hall to be taken seriously that can never be allowed to be used as a defensible reason for withholding a vote for an honor that is supposedly based entirely on merit, not taste in the first place. Voters don't have to hit the dance floor, only check the ballot off, then they can go back to listening to whatever it is they prefer. Chic has been deserving from the start and the longer that disco is denied a bigger place in the Hall, the smaller in stature the Hall itself becomes. Of the two disco artists on the ballot Summer is more deserving and also more likely to get the nod this year, but how long do Chic have to wait?
They were first eligible in the early 90's and this is the first time they've even made a ballot. Talk about a lack of respect - for them and for the hard-rock/metal field they helped to invent. Granted they're not a slam dunk candidate by any means, and should they not get elected this year it won't be an outrage, despite what hardcore fans will suggest, but they absolutely deserve serious consideration for bringing harder rock into the forefront in the early 70's. Making their résumé more diverse is the fact they were coming off an earlier peak wherein they had serious psychedelic overtones that met with considerable success itself in the late 60's. Once they switched singers and crystalized their sound they became many people's first introduction to the increasingly heavy riffs that defined the era's stadium rock. Their influence in metal's rise to prominence is their strongest card to play, as their across the board popularity was limited to only a handful of songs, but among those songs is one of the most defining anthems of the entire hard rock style, "Smoke On The Water". Too often candidates make the Hall for just one monumental song, yet for Deep Purple that wouldn't be the case. "Made In Japan" is among rock's essential live albums and despite going through numerous lineups, the band remained solid for a number of years and had hits with all of the various incarnations. This year's ballot has more than five superior candidates to Deep Purple, so in a numbers game going strictly by credentials they'd get edged out, but their appearance on the ballot at long last is a welcome sight and eventually they will deserve to break through.
Making their second consecutive appearance on the ballot after years of being ignored, Heart's chances improve as the artists around them become more niche-oriented where voters are concerned. Heart represents a strong compromise candidate for many, but their credentials are solid no matter how they're viewed. Their harder-rock roots give them appeal in that area, their later ballad hits, while a detriment in some people's eyes who continue to think of love songs as a weakness in rock 'n' roll, make them more familiar to casual listeners, while the Wilson sisters, vocalist Ann and guitarist Nancy, give them the female quotient that can be something Hall voters look for to balance the scales that tend to tilt overwhelmingly towards males. All those reasons aside however, Heart's achievements should be more than enough to stand on their own. They were incredibly successful (14 Top 25 hits, including two #1's) in a career that had a peak that lasted over twenty years. They were always very well respected musically and while not the very first to have a prominent female wielding a guitar, they were the most successful to that point, giving them a fair amount of influence. In all they would appear to be the type of act the Hall would jump to induct, but they've been eligible for years and haven't gotten in yet, so their chances remain more contingent on the competition than anything else. This year they might still be on the outside looking in again if the nominees were being ranked, but they remain a smart bet for those looking to see which of those acts can make the jump.
JOAN JETT & THE BLACKHEARTS
Another return candidate, this one undeserving of a second look. It's okay, even admirable, to cast a wide net in choosing nominees, if only to give broader consideration to a large body of candidates that together make rock 'n' roll the huge multi-layered genre that it is, but it reeks of personal favoritism of the committee when the least deserving of those names keep appearing on subsequent ballots. Jett falls into the latter category, for while she absolutely deserves to be remembered in the big scheme of things she never achieved enough to be immortalized alongside the legends. Her biggest hits were all cover songs, her musical formula remained rigidly confined and formulaic, the songs even seeming interchangeable at times, and her image became slightly cartoonish over the years. The Hall has already honored their biggest hit, "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" by naming it one of the 500 songs that shaped rock (a dreadful list, but her entry was entirely deserving at least), but that should suffice, for her career as a whole was decent journeyman (or journeywoman) rock, a bar band made good if you will, nothing more. There's nothing wrong with that, it's a career that most bands starting out would kill for, but it's not nearly up to the level the Hall should insist upon for enshrinement.
The Hall's fascination with the blues is well-established. They've long given it far too much credit for its role in shaping rock while the more prominent outside genres of gospel and jump blues (not a blues offspring, but more jazz and swing rooted) get ignored. Why? Because the 60's rock figureheads that most of the nominating committee revere (Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones, et. all) are blues aficionados. Well, so am I, maybe even more so, but the truth is that the blues itself had far less of a role in rock's rise to power than other styles and once rock was fully established the blues continued down its own unchanging path, not merged into it with the frequency that many would have you believe. Yet the blues somehow gets a dozen artists whose careers ran concurrent with rock 'n' roll into the Hall Of Fame as Main Performers, oftentimes using their presence to justify the lack of authentic black rock acts that voters either don't know enough about, or don't care about learning. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the absence of the early 50's vocal groups like the Clovers, Dominoes and "5" Royales, artists who were 100% rock, who built rock in the first place and were massively successful and influential. Their failure to get in becomes a far greater miscarriage of justice when spots on the ballot are taken up the last two years by two pure blues "Kings" - Freddie last year and Albert this year. You'll be hard-pressed to find two more dynamic guitarists in all of blues history, and music fans in general should be well versed in their work, but their inclusion is for the wrong reasons, something compounded when they bent the rules for Freddie in 2012 when he failed to get elected on the ballot and the Hall somehow inducted him as an Early Influence, despite the fact he wasn't early at all. For Albert, who had his biggest success in the late 60's, that would be a harder feat to pull off, but don't put it past this Hall Of Fame, where too often its own rules appear to be written in chalk outside in a rainstorm and can be easily wiped away to satisfy their own goals.
Thus far only a small handful of acts have made the Hall Of Fame on credentials built almost entirely on influence. If Kraftwerk is to make it they'd be one who did as well, for their music was oddly inaccessible, maybe intentionally so if that's possible. The first entirely synthesizer driven band, the group made music that was seen as futuristic, detached and almost soulless and upon their early success with it the possibilities of computerized music seemed to be the coming trend. In some ways it was, as synthesizers were used with increased emphasis in most of rock for the next 15 years or so, though rarely to the extent of Kraftwerk's vocal-less experimentations. Yet the music community, led by critics and older artists reared in organic music making, were repulsed by this sterile approach and railed against it for years. The 80's, a decade in which synths reached their widest usage, and from which artists have now been eligible for quite some time, still sees an alarming lack of big name hit makers in the Hall of Fame who utilized synthesizers in their backing tracks. The Hall's nominating committee and voters have essentially rejected the entire sound en masse, thereby ignoring a vital era of music based on their personal opinions as to its inherent quality, which is shameful. So why then consider honoring the most extreme proponent of that movement, whose biggest qualification is influencing the broader usage of synthesizers, when artists who followed that had strings of hits that used the instrument in more moderate ways get systematically punished for it? A mea culpa? A tentative concession? Or simply another of the Hall's inexplicable decisions? As for their credentials, Kraftwerk, even with that influence, fall just short of being deserving themselves, but regardless of the outcome it's unlikely that recognition from the Hall will result in a softening of the stance against synth-rooted rhythm tracks for an entire generation that followed.
Motown in the 60's churned out stars like a machine and with so many big names to deal with history has relegated the second tier Motown stars to an after thought, despite their credentials stacking up to virtually anyone else from that era. The Marvelettes found themselves ignored year after year by the Hall as lesser acts from the 60's got their ticket punched while they never were even nominated. With that injustice finally rectified it's now up to the voters to give the group their proper historical due, for as much as any at the label, Motown's explosion onto the national scene is in large part thanks to the Marvelettes, who scored the label's first Pop #1 hit, as well as solidifying the soon to be standard Motown-sound and setting the template for their version of the girl group, which became a forte of the label. Yet once Motown was established as the most dynamic company in rock other acts began to climb over them in the hierarchy, giving the false impression to many that they were simply not up to snuff. The truth is they remained consistent hit makers for a full decade, seamlessly transitioning between two lead singers, and even wrote some of their own best material, a rarity for female acts at the time. No, it's true they can't stack up to the credentials of the Supremes, but neither can all but four or five other 60's artists. They shouldn't be punished for being in the shadow of bigger names at their own label when other 60's acts who've made the Hall would've been left in the dust at Motown too. They own perhaps the deepest catalog of singles among this year's nominees and, surprisingly for Motown, among the most diverse as well. The Marvelettes have long been one of the more deserving candidates who never got a look, so now that they're being considered they shouldn't have to take a back seat to others yet again.
Making their second appearance on the ballot, their other coming way back in 1997, is a group that flew under the radar for much of their lifespan, which still looks to be the case even now, and which may not be surprising considering they were originally a studio group hired to back others anonymously, a la Booker T. & The MG's. Like their Memphis counterparts, the Meters soon set out on their own as well and recorded a string of sinewy instrumentals that defined the New Orleans sound. By adding their vocals to the mix a few years later they managed to break out of the dwindling instrumental-only market before the group split with keyboardist Art Neville forming the Neville Brothers with his siblings who had recorded on their own prior to that. The music world has long respected the Nevilles, and so you could see the Hall wanting to acknowledge them all, but together their achievements don't match up with that of the Meters, so Art may the only one who gets in. Along with his cohorts, Leo Nocentelli on guitar, George Porter on bass and the incomparable Ziggy Modeliste on drums, the Meters cohesiveness as a unit was virtually unmatched during the late 60's and 70's and a list of big names sought to have them back their own recordings. Their presence on countless hits cut by others is akin to the artist who writes hit songs for others, so that bolsters their candidacy even more. However, because of the nature of instrumental-based groups to be rather unknown to the public, the Meters have rarely been afforded their due outside of the Crescent City, but fellow artists all over the globe revered their abilities. Eventually they need to get in, but how long they'll be forced to wait is the question.
A second nomination for the enigmatic singer/songwriter whose most lasting contribution to music as a whole comes from his decidedly non-rock film scores over the years many of which were brilliant and even won him an Oscar. His forays into commercial releases as an artist however occupy a very tiny niche, largely unsuccessful despite their lyrical wit and melodic inventiveness. Undoubtedly his supporters among the nominating committee looking to justify his candidacy would point to his songwriting reputation, as they also did with the even more undeserving Leonard Cohen and Laura Nyro, along with the equally idiosyncratic Tom Waits, but in all four cases if outside contributions as a writer are his most lasting legacy to rock it's clearly not enough to warrant repeated looks by the Hall. These types of quirky outsiders seem clearly designed to offset the committee's reputed lack of enthusiasm for the more recent dominant candidates from styles outside their comfort zone. Would it be a stretch to suggest that they are even offered up to draw votes away from those more polarizing figures from the rap realm by the aging voting body members who share their discomfort with the directions rock 'n' roll has taken? Is that too drastic a conspiracy theory for your gentle minds to handle? Hmmm, well consider that Nyro's dubious election denied the far more deserving Eric B. & Rakim last year, while Waits presence bumped L.L. Cool J in 2010, and Cohen was deemed a suitable alternative for the decaying fossils with a ballot so they did not have to have to vote for somebody named Afrika Bambaataa back in '08, who undoubtedly would've frightened them half to death. Will Newman do the same to the next candidate listed here this year?
By the time N.W.A appeared on the scene in 1987 rap had already gone through several transitions stylistically following its simple party-time beginnings, but upon their arrival the image of the music and the lifestyle that surrounded it would never be the same again. Few artists in any style of rock can make such a claim, but the L.A. based group became the poster boys for the hardcore gangsta rap that brought violence, protest and outrage of the inner city to the forefront and blasted through the public's barricaded door until enough noise was made for them to actually appeal to a lot of that horrified public's offspring. Upon their debut it seemed inconceivable that their brand of gangsta rap would ever reach the mainstream but by their second LP they themselves owned the top selling album in America and the style was here to stay. Everything from fashion to language shifted on N.W.A's axis as a result of their breakthrough and the combined talents of their members, especially Dr. Dre's groundbreaking production, Ice Cube's harder than hard delivery and Eazy-E's visionary approach that tied it all together, made them the most notorious and influential group of the latter part of the 80's in all of rock. Though their career as a unit was short lived, the dominant music of last quarter century has been shaped as much by N.W.A as any other group, and for that alone they demand to be a first ballot landslide. Will the Hall voters however, many of whom are stodgy old timers who remain notoriously anti-rap, concede that this is the music that came to define rock 'n' roll as the century came to a close? We'll see, but if any deserving candidate gets denied, why won't it be a surprise to anyone if it's them?
They couldn't quite do it. Despite a fairly diverse ballot this year the stagnant Hall Of Fame nominating committee, who for years has been hopelessly stuck in time celebrating their collective late-60's coming-of-age period, once more had to reach back past the mothballs rolling around the dusty closet floor and pull out yet another undeserving British group from that period to foist upon the electorate. Never mind the fact that there are scores of dominant groups from the 80's now eligible who have yet to be nominated because the committee members had apparently stopped listening to new acts sometime by the mid-70's. Or that the early 50's rock scene remains shamefully neglected because it pre-dated their own firsthand awareness of music itself. Or even that the 70's black vocal groups who defined that era as much as any guitar-oriented band they lavish their praise upon seem all but invisible to the committee. Instead ladies and gentlemen we have Procol Harum for your consideration! THAT'S the choice when seeking one of the, oh say, twelve or so white rock acts from the 1965-1972 period thus far left out of the Hall? Were the John Fred & His Playboy Band boycotting a potential induction?? Okay, so Procol Harum aren't entirely without merit. Their single "A Whiter Shade Of Pale" was indeed very popular and quite influential, especially to the more classical strains of music that would find flower in progressive rock. But considering the Hall's previous rejection of that entire style it's a strange choice to nominate a group with rather limited success outside that lone song who helped kick off that style, and who never had a steady lineup in place very long, even with the committee's transparent effort this year to refute some of the criticism they've received for ignoring prog-based bands so long. But strange doesn't mean surprising, since the one thing that is all but set in stone each year is the Hall will nominate somebody who fits the demographic requirements they themselves belong to and this year it just happens to be Procol Harum. Next year will it be Strawberry Alarm Clock that gets the call??? Stay tuned.
Each year when the ballot comes out the Hall hopes to have a headlining act to grab the public's attention for the ceremonies the following spring, but this will be the first time where no matter who else gets elected alongside them, the unquestioned seat at the head table will be occupied by a hip-hop group, and rightly so. Though facing the cultural hurdle of the times that kept much of rap from being heard on radio and thus achieving crossover status, P.E. helped to break that barrier down, primarily through their unparalled run of groundbreaking and exhilarating albums that made them rock's most polarizing group as the 80's drew to a close. Taking the politically textured raps of KRS-One, who preceded them, and making them even more overt and unflinching in their targets, then wrapping them around the most ear-splitting beats and dense production rap had ever seen, Public Enemy became the focal point of the changing rock landscape, a change that was as transformative as any period in its history since the days it first crossed over back in the mid-50's. They were well-equipped to do it, for no MC ever matched the authoritative delivery of Chuck D., and alongside him, forever defining a role that essentially he created, Flavor Flav epitomized the hype-man, a jester-like presence that balanced the heavy messages with a whiff of the arcane. Controversy followed, just as it had with rock's crossover period when society attempted public character assassination on their most reviled musical targets, and like had happened back then too the damage inflicted was considerable and P.E. eventually saw its lofty position in hip-hop overtaken by the next generation that was much indebted to them. But a quarter century on, P.E. remains the only immortal golden era rap group still widely touring, recording and striving to make a difference. The one act that should be a stone cold lock for induction this year and that's the truth Ruth.
Progressive rock fans have long decried the Rock 'n' Roll Hall Of Fame for completely passing over that entire subgenre of rock, not only in the inductees but failing to even put one up as a nominee as well. Artists like Pink Floyd, who were only tangibly connected, or Genesis, who had their most productive period long after leaving prog-rock behind, were all that could be said to have any relation to the progressive rock movement in the Hall. At last that oversight is corrected, first with Procol Harum being nominated, but more importantly with Rush's appearance on the ballot for the first time after being eligible for more than a decade. Long considered one of rock's most impressive musical aggregations, the trio built up a huge groundswell of support for their candidacy, which may or may not have factored into their nomination. Regardless of how or why they got on the ballot, their inclusion is entirely justified. Like most prog-rock groups they had limited success with singles, but their albums and live shows have been consistently popular over three decades giving them enough in the way of commercial impact. The respect among their peers for their instrumental talents and the influence they've had with the merger of harder rock styles and the artistic approach of progressive means they aren't lacking in any area other than probably mainstream familiarity along with respect for themselves and their brand of rock itself by those doing the voting. There's a lot of competition on the ballot and they're not one of the top three most qualified, but they are equal to whichever two that would round out anyone's ballot, and so their fate seemingly lies in the taste of the voters, both for their taste for the group's work and how that taste, good or bad, may work in favor of or against the other nominees chances.
Will one of the Hall's most disgraceful omissions finally come to an end a year too late, as the Queen of Disco passed away this past spring, having seen her name appear on the Hall of Fame's ballot four of the last five years, only to see her passed over for inferior candidates that better suit the voting body's narrow field of vision. There's no area of an objective summation of an artist's career that Summer doesn't excel in. Her commercial success is astounding, only fifteen percent of current HOF main performer inductees have done better on the singles chart than Summer. Her influence is substantial, from the relentless churning drive of her backing tracks to the glassy vocals that were the hallmark of her sound. More than anything though is the way she totally defined the most dominant form of rock that existed in the late 70's/early 80's, a remarkably long period, albeit one that had harsh critics. Therein lies the problem and the poor excuse for keeping her out of the Hall during her lifetime - personal taste. Disco, love it or loathe it, was indisputably the most popular and influential style on the planet for nearly a decade and to ignore that large a segment of rock for so long is unconscionable for an institution that is designed to objectively celebrate rock's entire history by rewarding its most vital performers. In recent years, while she had to cruelly wait for her ticket to be punched during her lifetime which now has ended far too soon, the Hall has inducted a parade of minor cult figures beloved by their small clique of likeminded critics while dismissing Summer's monumental achievements out of hand. This brand of elitism has resulted in a Hall of Fame that rewards the connected at the expense of those who are actually, well you know, famous for the very music the Hall is built upon. It's tragic that Summer's death, and Elton John's subsequent public plea for her enshrinement, might be the impetus needed to put her in too late for her to celebrate it.
To be fair, no ballot is likely ever going to please everyone and so when evaluating the job done each year three simple things need to be focused on: Are there any glaring omissions from among newly eligible candidates? Has proper attention been paid to the broad spectrum of rock history with their choices, in relation to various styles, eras, race and gender? Lastly, but most tellingly, has obvious personal favoritism by the committee for specific artists, or styles and eras within rock, been allowed to infiltrate the proceedings and result in weaker candidates being nominated?
The first benchmark is the easiest to meet and usually is adequately managed, though over the last few years the choices among the recently eligible artists has been a bit thin, though thankfully none of the mandatory candidates have been left off entirely. The same can technically be said this year, as the two obvious choices, Public Enemy and N.W.A made the ballot. Their inclusion however sheds light on the committee's preferences and exposes their reluctance to fully credit hip-hop, as two of the most deserving candidates who failed to get in on recent ballots - LL Cool J. and Eric B. & Rakim - are nowhere to be found. Neither is Salt-n-Pepa, who've yet to receive even a single nomination, but should be the first female rap act to be inducted, the sooner the better. The underlying reason seems clear - like an unstated quota system, two rap acts is deemed plenty for the ballot in any one year. This so-called problem will only become more troubling for them in the ensuing years when rap's dominance in the mainstream matched its influence in the underground for the era that is currently being considered. But staving off that dicey situation another year at least, they've recycled the far less qualified Joan Jett from 2012's choices. If their reasons for excluding the eminently qualified rap acts left off this season were to fulfill the second criteria mentioned, that of ensuring the ballot represented the full scope of rock and therefore needed slots to be taken by other styles and eras long neglected, they'd have a better case. To that end the Hall will point to their inclusion of Rush, the first candidate yet to fully represent prog-rock, and for that they should be commended, though that field was long overdue for a nomination and for that they have only themselves to blame. But a quick glance at the remaining candidates and a study of the third criteria, that of not stacking the deck with undeserving artists who appeal to the committee's long-established penchant for certain styles and eras, reveals that in this way the 2013 Hall of Fame ballot falls short and is beset with the same issues of personal favoritism that have turned past elections into little more than referendums on this small restricted club's own tastes.
Any objective analysis of the history of the ballots easily shows the Hall is inordinately focused on the post-British Invasion white guitar rock that flourished over the next decade. When the first and second tiers of 50's rock icons were inducted over the first decade and a half there was a natural ebb in the artists from that era who made subsequent ballots. A few inexcusable omissions still exist, primarily from the 1948-1954 period, but since 2003 only six artists who recorded extensively in the 50's have made the ballot, or roughly one every two years, a reasonable rate considering the upper echelon from that era have already made it in long ago. By comparison however, the 1965-1972 period has had over thirty different artists get nominated in that same span, many of whom made the ballot multiple times. Worse yet is the lower quality of the names being offered from this historical period over the past decade, something seen this year with The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Randy Newman and Procol Harum, all of whom are not up to the minimum standards of objective achievement that the Hall should consider.
As questionable as the nominating committee's choices have often been, the ultimate decision still lies with the voters, who could simply use better judgment and adhere to reasonable objective criteria when making their selections from each ballot and thereby render the committee's most dubious nominations a moot point. But the voting body, consisting of critics, industry insiders and those acts already inducted, have long resisted any widespread acknowledgement of rock past the mid-70's, as well as shying away from rock outside their limited and historically inaccurate definition of it, and as long as these older, less than qualified, artists keep getting in year after year, the greater the numbers within the voting ranks that demographic will enjoy to further taint future elections and the cycle will continue forever.
A solid class of 2013 could easily be made out of the choices offered. The make up of that class could be wildly different, depending on the leanings of the voters from among the secondary level of artists, but there is no shortage of worthy candidates at least. But should the voting body's worst musical and historical prejudices surface then the 2013 class might be as shaky as the last few years.