Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Some Of Your Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Comments

Whenever we tackle the topic of The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, a couple of things happen ... we tend to strike a nerve with those most passionate members of our list who feel strongly (one way or another) about the way things are currently structured within the selection process ... then we get a list of a couple of dozen of artists who you guys feel have been short-changed by this process ... along with a critique of the artists that are being inducted instead. Too often that passion turns to anger (and then things start to get ugly!) Quite honestly, our readers seem to be split 50 / 50 on this topic ... about half of you are fascinated by the insight and perspective some of the commentators bring to the table, especially regarding artists you didn't know were NOT in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame ... most people just ASSUME that somebody of Chicago's caliber, for example, HAS to be there, when this clearly isn't the case. They're genuinely SHOCKED to learn that Chicago, Neil Diamond, The Moody Blues and (until this year) The Hollies have never been inducted.

The OTHER half are sick and tired of hearing us go on and on and on about The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, most often because you guys stopped caring about (or giving any credence to) the artists they select and continue to ignore long, long ago ... from THIS batch of readers, we get nothing but "Enough Is Enough Already" emails. (As such, I've got literally a couple of hundred of Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Comments that have never been run in Forgotten Hits, because you can only beat a dead horse for so long before you lose your audience ... and, let's face it, what we write here is never going to change anything anyway!!!)

So, with that thought in mind, we'll present just a few of your comments, followed by an "Open Letter To The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame" submitted by Y103.9 DeeJay Jim Shea (coming up TOMORROW on The Forgotten Hits Web Page) ... and then we'll put this topic back on the shelf for awhile. (I'm sure it'll come up again once the Induction Ceremony comes along in March ... but for now, we'll just give it a rest.)

I should start off by saying ... as I have said DOZENS of times these past few years ... that MY objection isn't so much to the artists being selected ... I've stated dozens of times that I'm not advocating UN-inducting ANYBODY ... whoever is in, STAYS in ... between ALL of us, I'm sure we can find at least SOME shred of validation as to why they were selected in the first place ... I just think that the nominating process needs an overhaul. FAR too many GREAT artists are continually overlooked in favor of newer acts who have really done nothing to further or expand the horizons of rock and roll. (Case in point: The Ventures waited 23 years to get in ... all THEY did was invent a whole new genre of rock and roll instrumentals ... and that's not what is routinely written off as a "popularity" comment by some of you "nay-sayers" out there ... truth is, The Ventures really only had a couple of "hits" ... but they influenced THOUSANDS of future musicians and revolutionized the way rock and roll music could be presented. Yet it took 23 years for The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame to recognize them.) Meanwhile, FAR less-worthy acts are being inducted on their very first ballot ... and it just doesn't seem right.

Over the past several years I've offered several suggestions that might help "streamline" the selection process (and help The Hall save some face along the way.) One way would be to have a "Mass Induction Ceremony", picking 25 acts heretofore ignored but certainly deserving, and hold a SEPARATE Ceremony (on PBS for example, who seems to be far more willing to cater to our age demographic, which would tune in to watch this program in DROVES I would imagine!) At least this way, they could recognize these artists while they're still HERE and able to APPRECIATE the acknowledgement.

Another idea was to have ONE Artist each year elected by THE PEOPLE ... go ahead and let The Hall pick from their list of Favorite Flavors Of The Month ... but allow the fans at least SOME say as to who REALLY belongs enshrined within The Rock Hall Walls. Sure, this'll take a lot longer to recognize some of this long-deserving talent, but at least artists like Neil Diamond and The Guess Who and Chicago and The Moody Blues and The Monkees would FINALLY get in!!!

I also wanted to mention again a website that we referenced several times in our original Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Series ... Click here: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame of the Future - News, Analysis, Voting & More - Future Rock Legends ... and strongly suggest, when you've got the time, that you pay this site a visit and spend some time there ... there are WAY more facts here than you'll ever digest in one sitting ... and what's REALLY neat is that they not only tell you who's in but they ALSO tell you everyone who has EVER been nominated ... who is eligible (and for how long they've been eligible ... and ignored) ... and then even handicap these artists by predicting the odds of them EVER being inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. All in all, VERY interesting, entertaining and insightful reading. Very special thanks to our new FH Buddy Neil, who hosts this incredible site.

And now, on to some of your comments ...

Remind me again ... why should we give a rat's ass what the RRHF thinks?
The idea that a self-appointed arbiter of taste can decree who is or is not worth listening to, is a contradiction of everything Rock And Roll stands for.
Ed Erxleben

>>>you can't HONESTLY tell me that Laura Nyro, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen,
Bonnie Raitt and / or Percy Sledge rocked harder than ANY of the artists mentioned above. (kk)
I don't think rocking hard has anything to do with who gets nominated or selected for the RocknRoll Hall of Fame. It's just who "they" decide to let in the club. One of the nominating board members even had the nerve to say in print, when asked about Linda Ronstadt, that he didn't think Linda ever was really a rock singer. But then in the next breath, he out of nowhere said that he would be more likely to support Emmylou Harris as a nominee. No further comment is necessary.
Tony Partridge

>>>As pointed out many times in these pages, there are no "right" or "wrong" opinions when it comes to music ... music works on SO many levels that it affects each and every one of us differently (kk)

So true. There are so many arrogant music enthusiasts that believe just the opposite. If you disagree with them, you are wrong. I have been called a "bigot" (how original), and narrow minded when I disagree with some of them. They go into a fit of rage. Their identity is threatened when they realize their supposed music expertise is just an opinion.
Dwight Rounds

Regarding your Forgotten Hits Hall of Famers re-post of the most Deserving and Denied Artists, I have to take issue --
Number of R&B artists on the list: 1
But Paul Anka, Pat Boone and Peter Paul & Mary made the Top 40.
Back to drawing board.
Tom Lane
You have to understand that this is not MY list ... this list was compiled using the votes and opinions of our nationwide readers, all of whom are oldies music fans. The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame has inducted a TREMENDOUS amount of R&B acts over the years ... and, without question, they are all deserving of such an honor ... there is no QUESTION as to the impact that R&B had on what ultimately became known as Rock And Roll. But the people have spoken ... based on literally THOUSANDS of votes, the music fans selected THEIR Top 40 List of The Most Deserving and Denied Artists ... nearly a hundred others made the "Runners Up" list. We tend to listen to the votes and opinions of the "many" rather than accept the theory that Jann Wenner has ALL of our best musical interests at heart by handling the selection process himself. (kk)

Hoping one day the R&R HoF will recognize Jan & Dean - Tons of great singles while spanning several genres as they became the Monkees before there was such!


There seems to be a definite block out on the Philly Artists from the early days of rock and roll ... although latter day megastars like Daryl Hall and John Oates are being ignored, too. As it currently stands, just to be nominated you have to have released your first record 25 years ago ... once reaching that milestone, to keep so many of these artists waiting ANOTHER 25 years is RIDICULOUS!!! And the saddest part of all is that there are fewer and fewer of these artists around to enjoy and appreciate the recognition ... yet so many of the "new kids" are getting in on the first ballot! Not at ALL what we all thought The Hall was GONNA be! (kk)

>>>I still don't see Todd Rundgren on that list ... (Diana)

I understand your beef with the Rock 'n' Roll Hall Of Fame. Diana bitches every now and then about Todd Rundgren not being inducted into the Rock Hall while Madonna is. My reply to her is that, since the RRHOF is operating the way it is, perhaps it's a blessing that he hasn't been inducted. Which brings me to this: I know who my heroes are and so it doesn't matter to me if the Rock Hall acknowledges them or not.
We're seeing more and more artists starting to denounce the ways and means of The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame for this very reason ... it just doesn't MEAN anything anymore to be a member. (Back in 2006, The Sex Pistols refused to attend the induction ceremony, calling the museum a "piss stain". I'm not even a Sex Pistols fan, but that's a pretty bold statement to make for an artist who WAS selected!!!) We've reported in the past that several of the voting members didn't even bother submitting their ballots because they didn't feel any of the candidates on the list were truly worthy ... what does THAT tell you about the caliber of the artists being selected ... even their own "team of experts" can't find anybody redeeming to induct!!! (This is because the NOMINATING Committee is an entirely different group of people than the VOTING Committee ... and, as has been addressed before, MANY petitions containing ten thousand signatures or more from the public demanding consideration for a particular artist have been routinely ignored.)
We've ALSO addressed the issue before about the debate as to whether too many people are being denied induction ... or too many people are being inducted. Honestly, you can look at it both ways. Let's face it, once you've acknowledged Elvis and The Beatles and Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly and Ray Charles and Sam Cooke and The Everly Brothers ... The Beach Boys, Little Richard, Fats Domino, James Brown, Jerry Lee Lewis, Aretha Franklin, Bo Diddley, Carl Perkins, Eddie Cochran, Stevie Wonder, The Rolling Stones, The Supremes, The Temptations, Bob Dylan, CCR, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, The Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Santana, The Eagles, The Mamas and the Papas, Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Michael Jackson, Queen ... how on earth do you induct artists like Solomon Burke, The Flamingos, Bonnie Raitt, Percy Sledge, The Velvet Underground, Etta James, Ruth Brown, Leonard Cohen, Patti Smith or Grand Master Flash into the SAME Hall Of Fame?!?!? How on EARTH can you equate these artists to those who have gone before them ... claim that they helped to shape rock and roll music in the same way or on the same level or have had the same impact as the "first tier" of artists. Maybe they should have stopped a long time ago ... let in those 50 or 60 TRULY deserving artists and said, "That's It ... this is the BASE core of The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame ... now every year we'll induct another five or six artists that deserve SOME level of recognition ... but on a different 'tier' than these others." Honestly, if everybody out there made up their own list of the MAIN 50 who just could not be denied, setting all bias aside and simply weighting that list on those artists that are undeniably deserving ... we'd probably (for the most part) agree on 80-90% of these artists ... because they flat-out BELONG there. How many more could you list ... of "second tier" deserving artists ... before you'd find somebody like Percy Sledge on your list? 50 more? 100 more? 200 more??? 600 more?!?!? Miles Davis? Buddy Guy? GREAT artists to be sure ... in their chosen field of jazz and blues ... but Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame artists? Honestly, if you WERE to make such a list ... would you REALLY put Bonnie Raitt or Patti Smith or Leonard Cohen nearer to the top of that list than Chicago, The Guess Who, The Hollies or Neil Diamond? Forget the "Popularity Contest" aspect of this ... make your OWN list ... but be honest and subjective ... you can ONLY list 200 deserving artists. Would Laura Nyro or Solomon Burke or The Velvet Underground or Grandmaster Flash or The Red Hot Chili Peppers or Percy Sledge REALLY make your list ... or do you see where I'm going with all of this??? (kk)

>>>How about the top selling American Duo of the 70's - Carpenters? Karen and Richard made some of the finest recordings and sold in numbers that qualify them for induction. True, they didn't rock out ... but musically, it's hard to top what they produced from 1969-1983. (Chip Cogswell)
>>>Yeah, you'll get some arguments on that one ... Hit Parade Hall Of Fame, yes ... "Soft Rock" Hall Of Fame, definitely ... but The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame??? Ain't NEVER gonna happen!!! (kk)
Hey Kent:
As one who thinks the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame is Stupid, why not put The Carpenters in? Being Wenner and the rest of the politically motivated numbskulls have no real set criteria for getting in, put them in! They might put Donna Summer in! Neither belongs in because neither is Rock at all, but if you put one in, then why not the other. The Hall is filling up with nonsense every year anyway. I actually couldn’t stomach much of The Carpenters stuff when it was out, but after 35+ years of Radio dreck, they don’t sound half bad anymore. Why not! They actually should get rid of the hall of fame part of it and just have it as a museum of Rock n Roll, then everybody has a chance to be included that had some input in the culture.
The Museum is a BEAUTIFUL tribute and houses an INCREDIBLE collection of memorabilia representing the music we all know and love ... and ALL walks of musical history have been routinely represented. (They even had a "One Hit Wonders" section up for quite a while.) kk

I agree with you on the Stooges. Things like this remind me of why I stopped reading Rolling Stone magazine years ago. I always felt like they tried to force groups like the Stooges down our throats. They made it seem that if you liked an act like the Guess Who, the Raspberries, Tommy James, or Neil Diamond you were a nerd that did not know anything about music. This nerd has not had many requests over the years for the Stooges or Afrika Bambaataa.
Phil Nee

Yeah, remember when Rock And Roll Music was "Feel Good" Music??? Artists like The Guess Who, The Raspberries, Tommy James and the Shondells, The Turtles, The Monkees, Herman's Hermits, Paul Revere and the Raiders EXCELLED at giving us music that simply made us FEEL good ... and we reacted accordingly. Conversly, I don't think I've EVER had a song by The Stooges or Afrika Bambaataa stuck in my head ... nor would I want to!!! In fact, I honestly couldn't sing one if you ASKED me to!!! So much for THEIR long-lasting contributions to rock!!! (kk)

On the subject of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame: This subject has been beaten to a pulp, stomped on and left for dead. Nothing we are gonna say or do is gonna make a difference. However I've noticed that many of us have become as bad as our parents were when criticizing what music has come to. Keep in mind we always favor the music we grew up with. For most of us, that's from the mid 60s to mid 70s. 20 years from now, your kids will be bitching about the lack of Madonna, Mariah Carey, Justin Timberlake, or the flavor of the month songs from the radio, if indeed there is still music to be heard on the radio and that is a distinct possibility. Interesting that the Beatles "1" compilation was the top album of the past decade. It's the only one of the top 10 I bought. In fact it's the ONLY Beatles release I've ever bought. Those 2 million 1963 dollars that Capitol Records spent promoting them finally caught me. Did anyone notice that the top money making act of the decade was the Rolling Stones? One suspects if they have to wheel Mick & Keef out there, they'll still perform. I forget the dude's name, but I read a couple weeks ago that the guy who wrote the Hokey Pokey passed away at age 100.
Rock And Roll Never Forgets

A couple of years ago The Cryan' Shames did their "Gramps With Amps" Tour! (lol) And I still remember Mark Volman of The Turtles thanking security for keeping all the wheelchairs in the audience from rolling up to the stage. We're ALL getting older and, without question, our greatest affection will always be for the music we grew up with. (Hey, that's the whole basis for Forgotten Hits!!! lol) And Madonna, Mariah Carey, Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears and any host of OTHER recent musical celebs will most likely find their way into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame some day, too. (Hell, Madonna's already there ... and she certainly DESERVES it.) But some of these recent nominees (like The Red Hot Chili Peppers and the aforementioned Afrika Bambaataa) just haven't earned the stripes that SO many of these other long-denied artists have. Honestly, how DO you measure a career in 20 years if Wenner has his way and has the eligibility criteria changed? Especially when sustaining a 40 year career seems to mean nothing!!! (kk)

Just read your post on the proposed RRHOF rule changes, and I agree with you 100%. Thought you might be interested in something we're doing over at: http://peoplesrockhall.blogspot.com/2010/01/nominees-for-first-election.html

Ted Cogswell

I appreciate where you're coming from, Ted, and I can only wish you a lot of luck. We've had numerous discussions with John Rook over the past couple of years regarding HIS alternative Hall Of Fame, The Hit Parade Hall Of Fame, recognizing artists who performed well on the charts ... a MUCH broader spectrum of recording artists in ALL fields of music ... with a reward system based on actual performance and statistics ... and a situation where the votes of the fans DO count toward the induction process. Yet, despite a Virtual Who's Who List of Prestigious Names attached to this committee, even THEY can't shake the whole "American Music Awards vs. The Grammys" stigma ... The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame was SUPPOSED to be IT!!! The Be All / End All ... and they CONTINUALLY abuse this privilege. (I swear they throw a "ringer" in there every year JUST to get everybody's fur up and earn a little bit more publicity ... that old adage that "there's no such thing as BAD publicity" seems to fuel this organization each and every election period! And I get that ... honestly, when else, other than nomination time and election time, do we even THINK about The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame during the course of the year??? Quite honestly, they seem to bask in the controversy ... let's pick at least one jaw-dropper each and every year to keep people talking ... and let's ignore these other artists, offering absolutely NO explanation as to what makes them unworthy of such an honor.) That being said, I went ahead and voted for MY Ten ... the real shame is that there's no way to AWARD these artists this honor. (Not sure how you came up with your "First 25" but picking ten was easy ... holding it to ONLY ten was the hard part!!!) Somehow I believe that ALL of these artists always knew what their contribution was to the evolution of popular music ... and it was SO profound that we STILL hear that contribution to this day. (kk)