Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Why The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Will Never Live Up To Its Promise and Potential

Mr. Onesti's review reads like one of my actual dreams, where I go from room to room seeing these great musical idols or I am traveling, bumping into them along the way.  Not sure if I would have been able to talk coherently if I were there.  Doesn't it sound like the made-up stories of that kid who sat next to you in school?  (exhale) But this was real!!  Amazing!!!
Shelley Sweet-Tufano
I think EVERY person on this list would have loved to experience a night like that ... but I, too, think I would have been tongue-tied.  (kk)


However, the future prognosis for The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame is not good ... most of us have been upset with the ways and means of this organization for a good number of years now ... but after reading this article in Rolling Stone last week, I am now CONVINCED that the situation will NEVER improve ... and, in fact, has only gotten worse ... and that's a REAL shame.  The potential and foundation on which this organization was built has clearly been lost in the shuffle somewhere.
Originally designed to spotlight only the artists who made the greatest contributions to moving rock music forward, both as an art form and expanding its horizons, head and shoulders above the rest ... outstanding in their field ... one cannot help but wonder how you enshrine side by side artists like Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley and Bill Withers ...  The Beatles, The Beach Boys and Leonard Cohen ...  Stevie Wonder, Buddy Holly and Bonnie Raitt or Percy Sledge.
The scales have been tipped, never to return to "even" again.  Is Green Day a great band?  Yes, they are.  Were they extremely popular and innovative for their time?  Yes, they were.  Do they belong in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame?  Probably ... but NOT at the expense of long over-looked artists like Chicago, The Guess Who, The Moody Blues, Yes, Electric Light Orchestra, Three Dog Night, Chubby Checker, Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon, Tommy James and the Shondells ... and SO many others that have not only been continually passed by ... but have never so much as ever even graced the ballot.
Check out this article from Rolling Stone (run by the same Jann Wenner who has thrown his weight around for YEARS controlling The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame) and you will see that we are forever doomed to ignore the artists who GOT us here ... in favor of the newly eligible acts, up for consideration solely on the basis that they have paid their necessary 25-year dues, rather than their actual achievements and contributions ...
The annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony was held this past weekend at Cleveland's Public Hall. Green Day, Ringo Starr, Bill Withers, Lou Reed, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, The "5" Royales and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band all entered the institution, and every living inductee was on hand to perform.   
Now we have a question for you: Who should enter the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016? Anyone that released their first album or single in 1990 or earlier is fair game. Newly eligible acts include Smashing Pumpkins, Blur, A Tribe Called Quest, Alice in Chains and the Black Crowes. There's obviously also a huge list of previously eligible acts, including N.W.A, the Smiths, Sonic Youth, Pixies, the Replacements, the Cure, Joy Division, New Order, Devo, Cheap Trick, Television, Yes, King Crimson, Deep Purple, Motorhead, LL Cool J, De La Soul, the New York Dolls, MC5 and Depeche Mode. Vote for whatever act you want, but please only vote once and only for a single selection.   
You can vote here in the comments, on or on Twitter using the hashtag #WeekendRock.
So here's the deal ... 
Last week, under the pretense of misleading the public to believe (even for a minute!) that they have ANY say or influence over who is and isn't nominated for future Rock Hall consideration, Rolling Stone Magazine (aka Jann Wenner) asked the public who THEY think most deserves a spot on the future ballot.  Nice gesture, right?  Except the fact of the matter is that Jann Wenner ... and The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame ... have NEVER cared about what the public thinks ... in fact, I'm convinced that they go out of their way every year to nominate two or three "head scratchers" that the majority of the world isn't familiar with, just to get the "What the fuck's up with that?!?!?" reaction that manages to steal a few news headlines each and every time.
Then, after they ask you who YOU think deserves a spot on the ballot, they then go on to list the people that you (the unknowing, unsuspecting, uneducated, uninformed and unopinionated public) would most likely want to choose from ... in other words, presenting their OWN list of artists from which to choose, narrowing the list down to HUGE, nationally known artists like The Smashing Pumpkins, Blur, A Tribe Called Quest, Alice In Chains, The Black Crowes, NWA, The Smiths, Sonic Youth, The Pixies, The Replacements, The Cure, Joy Division, New Order, Television, Motorhead, LL Cool J, De La Soul, MC5 and/or Depeche Mode, each of whom REVOLUTIONIZED Rock And Roll Music with their earth-shattering, innovative and inventive ways.  (Can anybody out there tell me how ANY of these acts qualifies to even make the ballot!!!) The ONLY vintage acts on this list are Yes, Deep Purple and Cheap Trick, all of whom have made our "Deserving And Denied" List in the past.  Devo?  The New York Dolls?  (They've been suggested several times in the past and never made it in.)
What you DON'T see on this list is ANY indication that The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame is going to do ANYTHING about the TREMENDOUS number of oversights they've had in the past.  Notice that there is absolutely NO mention of Chicago, The Guess Who or The Moody Blues ... Electric Light Orchestra ... The Doobie Brothers ... Chubby Checker ... Freddy Cannon ... The Turtles ... The Monkees ... Tommy James and the Shondells ... and so many OTHERS that have made our list in the past.

Instead, Jann Wenner, founder of Rolling Stone, (who also heads up the nominating committee for the rock hall) continues to exercise his power to insure that the candidates HE feels most worthy get in, regardless of what the public thinks.  That's why you won't find artists like those listed above on the list ... but "rockers" like Bill Withers and Leonard Cohen are in ... and acts like NWA (Niggaz with Attitude) continue to make the ballot year after year after year, despite the clear message being sent by the select few allowed to vote that they really don't belong in there either.
As far as I'm concerned, this is simply proof positive that it isn't going to change or improve their method of selection any time soon.  If you haven't already given up on this organization by now (as most of us have), you may as well throw in the towel now ... the artists you grew up with that most influenced YOUR tastes in music don't stand a chance.
Let me remind you again of the original mission statement of The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame ... and how they've back-pedaled to avoid inducting artists that they don't think are worthy enough to belong:
Rock and Roll and its artists are viewed in an incredibly subjective manner by any individual brought into the circle of discussion.  As such, there is often widespread disagreement or fracturing of opinion about who is or was a rock artist and what importance did he or she have.
Artists become eligible for induction 25 years after the release of their first record. Criteria include the influence and significance of the artists contributions to the development and perpetuation of rock and roll. 
Nomination and induction into the Hall of Fame is not about popularity, records sales, which label the group is on, or anything other than the process below. The love for, the evaluation of, and the impact of any artist are subjective questions to be answered by the nominators and the voters.  Unlike baseball, football, basketball or hockey, statistics are not relevant.   
The only formal criteria for the performance category is that an artist has to have had their first recording released 25 years ago.  That said, candidates are reviewed and discussed relative to their impact on this music that we broadly call rock and roll.  The innovation and influence of these artists is also critical.  Gold records, number one hits, and million sellers are really not appropriate standards for evaluation.  
People sometimes forget that rock and roll, its artists, and its other participants are viewed in an incredibly subjective manner by any individual brought into the circle of discussion. As such, there is often widespread disagreement or fracturing of opinion about who is or was important and to what degree.  
I really think that all deserving candidates will have their moment eventually.  Unfortunately, it often isn't the time frame they or their fans desire.  In fact, there's not only precedent in our history, but also with the other sports Halls of Fame where many of the legends do not get inducted in the their first year of eligibility, or for many years to come in quite a few instances. 
So artists like Chicago and Blood, Sweat And Tears that added a whole new dimension to the sound of rock and roll by adding horns are NOT inventive and influential enough to make the cut.  The Guess Who, the biggest selling band in Canadian History, whose music continues to be played around the world daily are NOT considered important enough for consideration.  The Moody Blues and Electric Light Orchestra, who merged symphonic sounds with rock and roll, don't deserve a spot ... but artists like each of the individual Beatles, Neil Young, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, Lou Reed, Eric Clapton and several others should be inducted MULTIPLE times instead, thus taking the spot that COULD have gone to somebody else previously ignored.  Why induct an artist like Chubby Checker, the ONLY person in the history of rock and roll to top the charts TWICE with the same record, BOTH times igniting an absolute dance sensation that captured the hearts and spirits of both the kids AND the adults ... when you can induct Eric Clapton three times instead???
FH Reader Danny Guilfoyles sent us some commentary that ran in Bob Lefsetz's column recently ... it just reinforces everything we've been saying for the past fifteen years.  Most of the artists themselves are fed up with the system ... and no longer care if they get in or not, as the fact that they have been snubbed for so long far outweighs any "honor" that would come with a nomination now, this late in the game.  (The Rock Hall also seems to have a way of waiting until an artist is deceased to honor them, rather than dignify them with an honor while they're still here to enjoy and appreciate it.)
Many great comments regarding the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame from members of the music industry in response to a blog by Bob Lefsetz. The majority (all but the final one) are in agreement with the on-going assessment of Forgotten Hits and its readers.
Danny Guilfoyles
Bob Lefsetz's original article ...
How did we get here? Where the only people who seem to care are those desirous of getting third-rate talent inducted and the old men who are on the nominating committee?
Once upon a time rock and roll ruled the world. They said it would never die.
But it did.
The problem with rock is innovation has stopped. There are some good bands, but they barely test the limits, stretch the dynamics, of those who’ve come before. It’s endless repeats of an old formula. And if you think that’s interesting, you’re probably addicted to your Nintendo 64.
Whereas music has twisted and turned, completely mutated since the core members were inducted.
Now the R&RHOF is all politics. Getting people in. And if you think Ringo Starr deserves to be in as a solo act, you’ve never heard Yes. “Roundabout” means more than all of Ringo’s solo hits combined. But for some reason, prog rock is sorely underrepresented in the R&RHOF.
We’ve all got deserving admittees who are not.
But we’ve given up hope. When KISS and Rush are in before Steve Miller and Kraftwerk, never mind Deep Purple, those who truly care throw their hands in the air and ignore the whole process. They know it’s flawed. That it’s not about artistry, but connections.
And the R&RHOF lumbers on ignorant of the country’s feelings. Making the ceremony bigger, including youngsters for the telecast the same way the Grammys include TV stars. This has got nothing to do with rock and roll.
Once again, rock is dead.
It was killed by greed. Michael Jackson put a stake in its heart with “Thriller.” And everything good dies out. Or how did Billy Joel put it, “only the good die young”?
So close the doors. Throw away the key. The Museum of Modern Art doesn’t include antiquities to broaden its appeal.
Let them have a Hip-Hop Hall Of Fame.
And if we’re lucky, an EDM HOF right next to it.
And while you’re at it, include a POP HOF. With a special one hit wonders exhibit that will draw throngs.
Just like Jann Wenner screwed up his magazine by shrinking its size and then publishing the unsubstantiated UVA rape story, he’s ruined the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. Through myopia, by wielding tight-fisted control, by being so inside the bubble as to not know what’s going on.
The R&RHOF is the kind of institution people would rather not be a member of. Madonna’s got nothing to do with rock and some inductees are so far from luminaries, it’s laughable.
Rock ruled the baby boomers.
And since the baby boomers have political power and money, they think they can foist their viewpoint upon the country and it will stick. Just like the Koch Brothers believe by spending enough money they can control the narrative, never mind Congress.
Your old road is rapidly agin’
Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’
See that the biggest venue in America is the smartphone. And its stars are Snapchat and Facebook and they’re all about getting people to connect and communicate. It’s no longer about top down, but bottom up. The public rules. To see young and old farts blowing smoke at the R&RHOF ceremony is to witness something irrelevant, assuming we’re paying attention at all.

... and the responses it inspired ...
Bob -
Ha ha! Right on. The music business keep recycling what went before, except they don't know about melody, or want to know about it. Is it still possible to write a compelling melody? Absolutely. But we get recycled simplistic
Rock is now 60 years old! In the 70's big band had only been out of style for 20 years. Now, today's teenagers are still be forced to listen to their grandparents' or even great-grandparents' music.
Yes, music ruled the world, briefly, as it turned out. Now, it's back to selling soap, but maybe, just maybe, there's a kid in a little club somewhere........
Bernie Leadon

Peter Noone

Bob ... 
I do not believe Steve (Miller) will ever be inducted into the R&RHOF as long as he lives, nor do I expect him to win a Grammy. Steve has treated music industry executives with disdain his entire career and most of them really dislike him intensely.
I remember Dick Hodge and I negotiating Steve's contract with Doovid Barskin of Capitol Records ... Steve rejected every counter offer Capitol made and kept asking for more until we got the highest royalty rate in the industry. Glen Campbell had the best rate at that time, and we topped his by a few cents more, and obtained total artistic control for Steve. Steve was obtaining a true measure of success at this time, and he was in a real position to leverage what he wanted, Capitol could not recover any advanced royalties, and had a limited time period to press and distribute Steve's music. Steve had retained all of his publishing rights as well.
Steve is known throughout the industry as not putting up with any Bull Shit from record companies or promoters, and has pretty much operated as his own manager over the years. He has, however, retained an excellent business relationship that has made him a very wealthy man.
For all these reasons Steve and his band are scarcely recognized in "politically" controlled music industry awards and events. I agree with you that the R&RHOF was a well intentioned concept, but has, unfortunately, turned into a misguided joke.
Again, thanks again for being so kind to acknowledge Steve and his contribution to the real Rock and Roll.
At 71, Steve and his band are touring almost continuously performing to sold out venues throughout the World. Remarkably, he seems to be at the peak of his abilities.
Bud Miller

Can you explain why my brothers band Chicago is not in the RRHF? 46 years and 30+ records. So strange how they run that club.
Lauren Scheff

a joke. no joe cocker, chicago, yes, todd r, sting etc. but the e street band is honored even though they're essentially a backing band that has never written a song and were fired by their boss in the 80's (oh....sorry, certainly bruce's wife deserves this over other viable candidates). in fairness, induct tom petty's heartbreakers who at least contribute to the music and have been by his side for an entire career. what started as honoring great artists who represented a true american art form has disintegrated into another vapid tv awards show. what a shame.
Michael Leon

Bob -
You want the Hall of Fame to be relevant? Put photographers in it.
And I am NOT lobbying for myself - far from it.
People like Jim Marshall, Gered Mankowitz, David Gahr, David Bailey... and later on Ethan Russell, and others ....those were my heroes growing up. They were the people that brought the music to life on every album cover and on the pages of the handful of magazines that ran rock photos back then.
They deserve to be recognized and honored as much as any band or artist you can think of.
Neal Preston
Ps - Emerson Lake and Palmer!
(Actually, Emerson, Lake and Palmer is another GREAT suggestion ... more Progressive Rock ignored by The Hall ... they should make our Deserving and Denied List as well! --kk)

normally i don’t chime in on your commentary
in this instance I feel compelled to
The Rock and Rock Hall of Fame has been reduced to Jann Wenner’s personal toy anda feeble excuse for a HBO Special.
Oddly enough the recent I Heart Radio special on NBC was a better reflection of music television than the Hall of Fame show
or for that matter this years Grammys
John Beug

Right on the money, Bob. No Steve Miller? That is a joke. Soon artists will start to think about asking for their names to be removed. Watch it happen.
Guy McCreery

Amen from a good friend of Steve's. I just asked him about that the other night after a show in Austin.
Watt Casey, Jr.

Is King Crimson in?
What about our friend Steve Lukather's band Toto? (I'm serious Bob)
These groups made incredible records and sonically in their era were the master records
Maybe they should do this every 4 years like they used to do the Olympics
For that matter what about Mariah? Didn't she assist in the biggest era in the industry....
I mean no disrespect to Ringo as I love him and his band is all our close friends in a revolving door
Doobie Brothers/ Chicago?
Who knew
Chris Apostle
King Crimson has made a number of our ballots over the years ... but have since fallen out of The Top 50.  I think Toto is a GREAT suggestion, however.  (kk)

ELO / Jeff Lynne
Cheap Trick
Harry Nilsson
Joan Jett
Deep Purple...
Never mind. I give up. This makes my soul hurt.
Trey Callaway

Hi Bob,
Thanks for this. I'm not so upset about Ringo getting in as I am the class with him: Green Day and Joan Jett do NOT belong in the Hall before Steve Miller, Todd Rundgren, Yes, the Monkees, Paul Revere and the Raiders, and especially Chicago, who'd been a top-selling band for more than 30 years.
Tony Pizza

Don't forget to add Chicago not being nominated, you should write about the politics between them and RS. Jokingly adding maybe it had something to do with naming their albums as numbers instead of titles (except one or two I recall).
long time fan (of yours of course)
Frankie Ball

What can the criteria be if it took Hall and Oates this long and Chicago still aren't in? Forget Todd Rundgren or Little Feat.
Hall of Fames should follow some chronology (older bands first) not hop around in time with no apparent rhyme or reason.
But while the induction process may be a frustrating head scratcher, the exhibits and artifacts resonate with any music lover. Lennon's hand-written lyrics, Beck's Fender Broadcaster from "Having A Rave Up", Janis' Porsche, the Temps gold-plated mic stand, a piece of Otis' plane,
John Cipollina's amp and guitar, Rod Argent's electric piano, etc.
The R&R HOF+M is absolutely a great place to visit if you happen to find yourself in Cleveland.
A lot of these pieces are real goose bump material and the beauty is everyone experiences them in their way. Neither Jann Wenner nor politics can screw that up.
William Nollman

And how about the ACM Awards being in a 75k Seat venue if that's not about money than I don't m ow what is...
Matt Gaines

Bob, the rock 'n roll Hall of Fame has been a piece of shit for a long time. They are people who don't know good music. It's a joke.
Nick Wegener

Happy to see Rush, SRV & Bill Withers get in .... Besides Yes, what about Deep Purple, Journey, Bad Company, Iron Maiden, Scorpions, UFO, Judas Priest, Boston, Foreigner, and , Pearl Jam?
Shawn Kilmurray

It's all about the numbers on the telly! Like last night with one of the Jonas' Spawn on the ACMs. Country, my foot! They were there for the viewing numbers, not the Country rep. And, anyway, most country nowadays is second-rate classic rock. Dregs.
And that troublesome HOF...we'll never see deserving artists like Paul Revere and the Raiders, Procol Harum, Warren Zevon or Poco in there. What a joke.
-Sean Anglum / Colorado Springs, CO

Glad you mentioned Yes as that's a good example
Roger Maltby

I agree with you 100%; however a much better example of your Yes point would be Procol Harum ,who were always a far better live band (I saw both in concert in the early 70's), recorded more accomplished and innovative albums and leave a far more dynamic legacy than Yes ever can.
Stephen Dessau

It's interesting that you mentioned the band "Yes". Yeah that is a real head scratcher. They basically invented a genre.
An outstanding band and they certainly should be in there.
Peter A. Barker

R&RHOF…A bunch of Music luminaries getting together to pat each other on the back telling each other how great & rich they are.

My two biggest complaints about this year's class: Joan Jett and Bill Withers. I like Bill Withers music a lot. Soulful voice, great melodies. Good enough to be among the "elite?" Not a chance. And don't get me started on Joan Jett. I went nuts on her on my podcast, Top 5 Records, because she is terrible. All of her hits are covers. Hate Myself... isn't a cover but it's a fucking horrible song! If she is getting credit for The Runaways, why not induct Lita Ford? Did her solo music really influence anyone? Did it bring us Miley Cyrus? Thanks for nothing!
Pete Guzik

I am not disagreeing with you (I don't think, I'm not sure), but if the Hall of Fame were simply called the "Music Hall of Fame" would you feel any better? I would because the RRHF includes some amazing inductees...who have nothing to do with Rock, the genre.
How do you deny a true artist like Bill Withers, who is in all ways qualified for the kudos--except that he's not Rock? You don't. You include him--you make sure that future generations know his name by virtue of a permanent account. But you don't call the damned building in which his memory resides the RRHF.
Kyle Osborne

I dearly wish that what you've written here is somehow not true. I really do.
But everyone who has lived a life of music knows that it is.
And they thought the Hindenburg was a disaster....
Dave Dalzell

Steve Perry hasn't been inducted so RRHOF is irrelevant.
Lisa Gregory

The RRHOF is a business. It has no true relevance to the music.
Frank Gagliano

The R&RHOF reminds me a lot of the Hollywood walk of Fame. Used to be you had to be one of the classic bona fide Stars. Now you just cough up the dough.
Kaley Cuoco is getting a star?? Clint fricken Eastwood doesn't have one??!!
I think Kiss and Rush deserve to be in, but Madonna and NOT Deep Purple??!! And of course a band like Yes, can the committee NOT recognize the talent in that band??!! I also love Steve Miller's early work
All other genres can get their own HoF, leave Rock n' Roll the hell alone.
Mitch Nixon

I hope I won't live for the day when Skrillex is inducted before Tommy Bolin.
Great post.
Rob Penland

Chicago, Grand Funk
RR, J Geils, YES, Moody Blues!!!
Why us one hit wonder Percy Sledge in RR HOF and other one or two hit wonders ?
Poetics of dancing when rappers and one hit wonders are in it BS!
Doak Turner

Hi Bob,
I love your blog and never responded before, but I think I can go one better. When Jim Henke was curating for the opening of the museum, I spoke to him about Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller's incredible collection of historical memorabilia. This included the 78 of Big Mama Thornton's "Hound Dog" with the actual Cash Box race charts from 1953, the Hound Dog contract co-signed by their mothers...they were only 19 when they wrote it, a 78 of "K C Lovin," the original Kansas City by Little Willie Littlefield, etc etc. There were boxes that included rare session photos of the Robins, Coasters, Drifters, Brill Building shots, young Mike and Jerry with Elvis. Tom Dowd, Nesuhi and Ahmet Ertigun. Mike and Jerry were the very first independent Music Producers when hired by Atlantic -a title that Ahmet deemed appropriate and it then became a thing.
I say this because after logging for a month and shipping these treasure boxes, just a very few of these items went on display, along with one or two things from Doc Pomus and a few others in a small case in the back of a room. Michael's glove, rock star costumes were in full regalia.
Decisions were out of Jim's hands and politics ruled before the museum even opened.
Bobbi Marcus

You know what killed Rock N' Roll? No one is writing to survive. There were times when the only route they had off of the streets was through their music. Now suburbia kids are playing like they're the Ramones and it ain't workin'. Desperation fuels creativity.
Hip Hop boomed because of the same thing. Rappers literally had to write hit songs or die or starve. Now that industry is also falling to kids of comfort.
Folk on the other hand is exploding. You know why? Go to Folk Alliance International or the Folk Music Ontario Conference in Canada and you'll see why. Most of these artists are gypsy's. They have to write to survive. They go from Folk Festival to Folk Festival in the summer bumming rides or scrounging bus fair. They have to write their way out. Just a few years ago main streamers would frown at the very word 'Folk' the stuff is all over HOT radio and the big stars are trying to add acoustic guitars just to fit in.
Give me desperation again...great art comes from great pain.

The one thing I find baffling is how Hip-Hop and Rap still looks and sounds exactly the same since its emergence into the main stream back in the late 80's/early 90's. I'm not talking about Ice T or Ice Cube or Wu Tang Clan of old but seriously the look hasn't changed, the attitude hasn't changed and it's all about the bling, bitches and ho's. I don't get it, that's like the industry churning out the same big hair 80's bands to this day. That would be laughable but Hip-Hop and Rap continue today with the same look and crap and it's considered hip/current and they're still making a ton of money doing it.
Will it ever go away like rock did? I doubt it and that about sums up the attitude of the listening public today. EDM will continue albeit without innovation there will be this Generation Me listening and breaking hips in the old folks homes when it's there time to be put out to pasture.....
This is what's wrong with music today, people listen to what they are told to listen to and if there is a star involved and they worship the hype, they'll always be the mindless sheeple who will follow it.

Hi Bob
I agree with so much of what you said.
I never pay attention to the Hall of Fame. But this year it had my attention.
I was 17, lived in Montreal and discovered a little club / coffee house called the New Penelope. I went there like an acolyte going to the alter of music. Didn't matter what it was called. But it was all damn good at the Penelope.
I saw many blues and roots legends. And I was introduced to the sounds of south side Chicago by the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. On multiple occasions I sat about 10 feet away from them in this little gem of a club. They changed my life. I've never forgotten those days. I had never experienced anything like it. A club that held probably no more than 150 people. No liquor. Didn't need it. We had killer music. And I was being baptized at the fountain of music.
So when I heard that the Paul Butterfield Blues Band were being honoured, I was very very happy.
I wasn't in Cleveland last night. I couldn't watch it on TV. Didn't matter. I was, in my head back at the New Penelope in the kind of venue I love watching and listening to the best electric blues band I have ever heard. Yeah and I was only 10 feet from the stage. No one screaming. Just digging it.
Good for Paul, Michael, Elvin, Mark, Jerome, Sam et al.
Bob Bisnett

Back in the mid-90s, I was a rising young gun in the advertising industry. One of my shop's clients was the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame + Museum. We were their first agency, as I recall. Oddly dull and uncreative client to work on. The decisionmakkers LOVED Elvis, the Beatles, Buddy Holly and 70s rock. They had little regard for Blues, electric blues which birthed rock and roll. Hell, even the phrase "rock n roll" was old Black Blues jukejoint slang for sex/raucous times—not that anyone connected with the rock hall then knew or cared. They'd jump through hoops courting white artists they dug/thought would be draws to loan them memorabilia/make appearances. Some even got compensated for loaning their stuff out. But the Black artists? Not so much. If you gave the hall something, it was an honor to be asked and you'd better have obliged The Hall's requests - for free. If you didn't play ball, then screw you. (ask around, you find that that was their m.o. for more than a few years
When we started on the account we had to go visit the place as it was being built/renovated - in Cleveland, which had as much rock n roll authenticity as Iggy Azaela has hiphop. My first trip to the place it didn't just look like a museum, it looked like a set piece out of the Bonfire of the Vanities - stale, sterile, white, glass, metal... Nothing "rock" or "roll" about it.
The story we got from a couple board members was originally the RRHOF was gonna be in New York which supposedly beat out Chicago and Memphis; but Ohio came thru with a bid at the last minute. And since was OH was already home to more hall of fame's than anywhere else in the US (mostly sports related ones) and they had connections and a system in place for building more HOFs, not to mention a ton more open land to work with than New York, so their bid won.
In short, the Rock Hall was literally built on politics, cash and connections from the jump.
So what you're seeing today is what you've seen for decades... just the RRHOF being the RRHOF. It is what it is now, because that's what it was always meant to be.
such is life.
Hadji Williams

You make some very good points about the lack of innovation and envelope-stretching on the current rock scene. That's like shooting fish in a barrel.
And of course there is a lot of controversy and probably a somewhat flawed process of how artists get inducted into the Hall of Fame.
But from my perspective I just have to say that there are a lot of artists who see being inducted into the Hall as a career validation -- a reward for giving so much music to so many people for so many years. An honor from a group of folks, many of whom are peers (all inductees vote in subsequent years).
I don't think that's unfair or necessarily a bad thing.
Sure there are probably a number of artists who maybe shouldn't have been inducted. And sure, we all have a list of artists we believe should be inducted.
That's not a whole lot different than the Baseball Hall of Fame, or probably most, if not all, Hall of Fame institutions across the board.
OK, so we all could have done without Fallout Boy doing the induction welcome speech for Green Day -- I would have though they could have come up with any number of intriguing better choices there. But that was really the only "false" note last night.
I, like you, celebrate music every day of my life. Sometimes in the privacy of my own home, sometimes at a concert, sometimes in my car, and sometimes at events like the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction ceremonies or a MusiCares tribute event, etc.
The main thing is that we all celebrate the music and the people who have made the music that we love and has meant so much to us.
Toby Mamis
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(He's a bit too "angry old man" for me ... and he'll sometimes flood your mailbox with two or three commentaries a day ... but he is certainly well-respected in the music industry ... and literally EVERY artist who's ANYBODY reads his columns.)  If you like the stuff we do here in Forgotten Hits, my guess his that you'll enjoy his take as well.  Although to the best of my knowledge we've never been mentioned in his rantings and ravings, I DO find that he seems to cover a lot of the same topics that we do ... this month, for example, you'll find his take on The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Nominating and Induction Process ... as well as a list of The Top Ten Songs From This Date in 1965 ... all just a coincidence, I'm sure!!!  (kk)

Good things come to those that wait ... or so we're told.
Since our series on The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame first ran back in 2007, several artists from that list HAVE finally been inducted.  These include:
ABBA, The Dave Clark Five, Alice Cooper, Neil Diamond, Genesis, Daryl Hall and John Oates, Heart, The Hollies,  Joan Jett, John Mellencamp, Linda Ronstadt, Leon Russell, Donna Summer and The Ventures ...
Fourteen acts that at one time made our list of Top 40 Deserving and Denied Artists
When we run our list of "Deserving And Denied" Artists, those who don't follow the day-to-day activities of The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame are often SHOCKED to see some of the names on this list.  They simply cannot believe that these artists have not been honored by Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame ... they just ASSUMED that, with the INCREDIBLE track record established by each and every one of these acts, they just HAD to have been inducted by now ... but, incredibly, this is NOT the case.  (Instead, we're subjected to yearly ballots that regularly include artists like Niggaz With Attitude and Afrika Bambaataa.)
Based on your votes in years past, here is the most up-to-date list of Deserving And Denied Artists we've been able to assemble:
 1. Chicago  (going on 50 years and STILL cranking out new music, Chicago embraced and reinvented a brand new blend of rock and jazz)
 2. The Moody Blues
 3. The Guess Who  (you'll find less than a dozen Canadian acts enshrined since The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame first began in 1987)
 4. Yes  (very little in the way of Progressive Rock is on their list, too)
 5. The Zombies
 6. Jan and Dean
 7. Chubby Checker  (the ONLY artist to top the charts TWICE with the same record ... AND start a national dance craze embraced by all generations)
 8. Pat Benatar
 9. Jethro Tull  (talk about taking rock in a new direction, how do you overlook THESE guys???)
10.  Ed Sullivan  (How is it possible that the man who brought rock and roll into the living rooms of MILLIONS has never been honored for his contribution to the "selling" of rock and roll???)
11. Steve Miller
12. The Monkees (yes, they were "manufactured" ... but they've never left our hearts ... or our tv screens!)
13. Three Dog Night   (three lead vocalists, each of whom could hold their own with the best of them ... how is THIS not Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame worthy)
14. Deep Purple
15. The Electric Light Orchestra  (like The Moody Blues above them on this list, orchestrating Rock And Roll with symphonic overtones)
16. Blood, Sweat and Tears
17. Styx  (make fun of them all you like, these guys have climbed from just outside The Top 40 to #15 over the past eight years, based on our votes)
18. Journey
19. The Doobie Brothers
20. Joe Cocker
21. Connie Francis  (formerly #1 on the list, Connie has fallen these past few years as The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame continues to ignore more contemporary ... and mass-appealing artists)
22. Pat Boone
23. Poco
24. The Cars
25. Loggins and Messina
26. Tommy James and the Shondells
27. The Spinners
28. The Turtles
29. Paul Revere and the Raiders
30. Herman's Hermits
31. Todd Rundgren
32. Paul Anka  (another Canadian act LONG over-looked)
33. Bachman-Turner Overdrive (ditto)
34. Neil Sedaka
35. Johnny Rivers
36. Billy Preston
37. Dick Dale (as responsible for the whole surf craze as anybody else who's in there)
38. Grand Funk Railroad
39. Peter, Paul and Mary (why is folk music overlooked by The Rock Hall?)
40. Jim Croce
41. Freddy Cannon
42. Herb Alpert (as a performer ... he's in for lifetime achievement ... but what about his INCREDIBLE run on the charts with a whole new sound?!?!)
43. Gary "US" Bonds
44. Cheap Trick
45. The Commodores
46. The Marvelettes
47. The Grass Roots
48. Peter Frampton
49. Harry Chapin
50. Paul Rodgers / Free / Bad Company
51. Glen Campbell  (as either a sideman OR an artist, certainly there's a spot for THIS guy within those hallowed halls!!!)
52. America