Friday, October 9, 2015

The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame

As promised, The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame announced their nominees for The Class of 2016 this week ... and I'll tell you what ... compared to the lists of recent years past (and as "all over the board" and "out of left field" as they've been in this area) ... it's really not a bad selection.    

FINALLY nominated is Chicago ... of course we've been campaigning for these guys for sixteen years now here in Forgotten Hits ... can you believe, despite being eligible for The Hall since 1994, this is their very first time on the ballot?!?!  And folks STILL don't get it ... I'll bet half the news releases I read yesterday referred to them as a "soft rock band".  How ridiculous is that?!?!  Chicago was on the cutting, lead edge of horn-rock in the late '60's ... and have continued to make new music and perform to sold out arenas ever since. Despite numerous personnel changes over the years, the original horn section is still intact, along with keyboardist / vocalist Robert Lamm.  They've charted FIFTY times on Billboard's Pop Singles Chart and found the perfect blend of rock and jazz to separate them from the rest of the pack of other "horny" artists like Blood, Sweat and Tears (who also have never been nominated but rank high on our list of "Deserving and Denied" artists.)  In my opinion, they're a shoe-in to get elected on their first ballot, especially since that "first ballot" is coming in so late.  (How could The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame possibly NOT induct them after 21 years of blatant snubbery?!?!  They'd look even more ridiculous than they already do!)

On the opposite side of the coin, Chic (also innovative in their own way ... the influential beat of Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards can still be heard in much of the music today ... which is what The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame is SUPPOSED to be all about) is now up for their TENTH nomination ... a new world record when it comes to second ... third ... and tenth chances!  Will this FINALLY be their year?  I think so.  (Critics are already referring to them as "the Susan Lucci of rock".)   

Another Midwest act often attributed to Chicago (but actually hailing from about 90 miles north of The Windy City) made the ballot this year for the very first time ... with a little bit of luck, Rockford's Cheap Trick may finally get the nod in 2016.  (It just may be the closest The Rock Hall has ever come to recognizing the '80's sound of "New Wave" Rock and Roll.)   

And while we're on the subject of some LONG overdue recognition for the music of Chi-Town, congratulations to Chaka Khan on HER first Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame nomination.  (Interesting that they singled her out as a solo artist and ignored her group Rufus, through which she launched her career.)   

Speaking of back-up groups, The JB's (James Brown's backing band) were nominated this year.  I don't quite get this one ... Brown has been an inductee since Year One (1986) and a few years ago, The Rock Hall finally inducted some of the other famous back-up bands previously ignored when only the front man was inducted ... at which time The Famous Flames were recognized (along with Gene Vincent's Blue Caps, Bill Haley's Comets, Buddy Holly's Crickets, Hank Ballard's Midnighters and Smokey Robinson's Miracles.)  It would seem to me that this honor has already been bestowed on the musicians most closely associated with James Brown ... which makes me think that the JB's probably won't make the cut.   

Another definite shoe-in this year ... Janet Jackson (how is it possible that SHE'S never been nominated?)  Janet is one of those "obvious" overlooked choices whose name hasn't really come up much in this context ... but she is definitely deserving of the honor (and she's been eligible since 2007!)  Certainly they've got to induct Ms. Jackson before Britney Spears becomes eligible, don't they?!?!?   

NWA should finally make the cut this year ... if only because their film "Straight Outta Compton" was such a HUGE success this past summer.  (They've been on the ballot for the past four years and while I couldn't hum you a single note of a single song they've ever recorded, their "street cred" went up considerably this year thanks to the success of that film.)  If they're EVER going to get in, this will be the year.  It would be too embarrassing to ignore them now.   

The Steve Miller Band have been eligible for 21 years without ever earning a nomination.  Yes, I still turn them off nearly every time they come on the radio ... but that's RADIO's fault, not the band's ... Classic Rock Burn-Out makes it almost impossible for me to listen to them today ... but they, too, have long-standing roots in the Rock Community.  

Forgotten Hits has long campaigned for Yes and The Cars, both of whom finally made the ballot this year.  (Yes has been eligible since 1995 ... perhaps with The Hall finally recognizing progressive album rock, other long-ignored artists like Emerson, Lake and Palmer and Jethro Tull will finally get a nod somewhere down the road.)   

I've been a fan of The Cars since their very first release.  In my opinion they helped define The '80's sound ... again very innovative and unlike anything we'd heard prior to that time.  Their nomination is well-deserved.   

That leaves The Spinners (nominated for the third time) and fan favorites Deep Purple (eligible since 1994.)  Deep Purple has come up as worthy candidates several times in our Forgotten Hits polls ... and this is also their third nomination.  

In that The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame feels a need to focus on newer, more contemporary artists, don't be surprised to see either Nine Inch Nails, the Smiths or Los Lobos get a nod ... although I can't in my wildest imagination believe that ANY of these artists are worthy of such an honor or deserve the right to be enshrined alongside the likes of Elvis, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry or Little Richard.   

Still missing in action ... The Guess Who, The Moody Blues, Connie Francis, Pat Boone, Chubby Checker, Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon, Electric Light Orchestra, The Doobie Brothers, Jan and Dean, Nilsson (rumored to be one of this year's likeliest candidates), Todd Rundgren, Billy Preston, Procol Harum (also rumored as being considered for The Class of 2016), T. Rex, Tommy James and the Shondells and The Zombies.  Can The Smiths or Los Lobos hold a candle to ANY of these artists???  (Most would say they wouldn't be qualified to carry the guitar cases of any of these acts!)   

Still, I have to say that I feel pretty good about what I see on the ballot this year.  Fifteen nominees and only a couple of groaners.     

Typically seven or eight acts get inducted each year ... and once again the public is invited to vote.  From now until December 9th, fans can visit and cast their votes for the deserving nominees they'd most like to see inducted.  Once all the votes have been tabulated, the top five acts will comprise a "fan's ballot" that will count as one of the ballots that determine the class of 2016.  (Wow!  How generous!!!)   

If I had to pick the artists I feel most likely to make the cut, I would have to go with (in alphabetical order):  Chic, Chicago, Janet Jackson, Nine Inch Nails and NWA.   

Any of the following selections (to round out the maximum of eight who might be elected this year) would be fine with me:  The Cars, Cheap Trick, Chaka Khan, The Steve Miller Band, The Spinners and Yes.   

And one final plea ... please bring back the "Non-Performer" Category this year and FINALLY recognize Ed Sullivan for all he did to bring Rock And Roll Music into the living rooms of Middle America. I can assure you that FAR more people watched Ed's "Really Big Shew" on Sunday Nights to get their weekly fix of rock and roll than EVER heard Alan Freed on the radio.  Don't get me wrong ... BOTH are certainly deserving ... but ignoring Ed Sullivan one minute longer would be a HUGE disgrace to The Rock Hall once again. 
Kent Kotal 
Forgotten Hits  

Got this from FH Reader Uncle T. Jay on the early handicaps ...

Keep in mind, these votes are most likely skewed by the age group participating ... but seven artists already have over 20,000 votes ... with Janet Jackson and Chicago pulling in nearly TWICE that!!!   

Keep in mind, too, that for all intents and purposes the public has absolutely NO say as to who ultimately gets in ... but it's still kinda interesting to see which way the fans are currently leaning.   

The nominees were announced for the Rock Hall this morning.  Thank God Mariah Carey is nowhere to be found!!! 

Here is the "fan vote" standings as of the first few hours of revealing the nominees.  Let's see how many of the early Top 10 make the final cut:   

Janet Jackson 13.92% (39572 votes)
Chicago 12.73% (36181 votes) 
Cheap Trick 10.18% (28952 votes) 
The Cars 9.34% (26545 votes)
Deep Purple 9.27% (26349 votes) 
Yes 9.19% (26121 votes) 
Steve Miller 9.02% (25638 votes) 
The Spinners 4.56% (12963 votes) 
Nine Inch Nails 4.50% (12792 votes) 
Chaka Khan 3.93% (11166 votes) 
N.W.A 3.75% (10663 votes) 
The Smiths 3.65% (10363 votes) 
Chic 2.84% (8083 votes) 
Los Lobos 2.06% (5853 votes)
The J.B.'s 1.07% (3049 votes)
Uncle T. Jay

Our generation seems most focused on the induction of Chicago ... and rightfully so ... the fact that 21 years of eligibility have passed without a single nod just reinforces the gross misuse of power executed by the nominating committee.  What today makes them more worthy of consideration than at any other time during the past 21 years?  Ridiculous really ... but if The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame is looking to save a little face this year by finally recognizing them, we're certainly not going to stand in the way.  In my mind this is simply a case of justice finally being done.

Forgotten Hits Reader (and lifetime fan and friend of the band) Tom Cuddy sent us this article from who agree that after 48 years and 36 albums, it may finally be time to acknowledge their contribution to the rock and roll landscape.   

Note: Chicago, nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame today, was inducted into the Pop Music Hall of Fame in 2014.
Voting for 2016 nominees for America's Pop Music Hall of Fame is nearing the halfway mark.  
Barry Manilow, Barbra Streisand and Sam Cooke are among the 2016 nominees. They join 11 other first-time candidates, as well as 11 returning acts to comprise the 25 artists on the ballot. Voting, at, ends October 31. Nominees are selected by a national panel of musicians, disc jockeys and journalists based on the artists’ breadth and depth of pop hits, as well as influence.
Through on-line voting, the public is choosing10 inductees; the national selection committee will add up to five other “Legacy” inductees.
New nominees, in addition to Manilow, Streisand and Cooke, are the Association, Lou Christie, Petula Clark, Fats Domino, Tommy James & the Shondells, the Lettermen, the Rascals, Paul Revere & the Raiders, Neil Sedaka, Rod Stewart and the Temptations,
The eleven returning nominees are Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, the Dave Clark Five, Dion & the Belmonts, Bob Dylan, the Four Tops, Connie Francis, the Grass Roots, the Jackson Five, Smokey & the Miracles, Three Dog Night and Dionne Warwick,
Artists must have placed a hit on the Billboard charts between 1945 and 1975 to qualify
Inductees will be announced in December.
America’s Pop Music Hall of Fame was formed in 2011 to honor artists and other contributors to pop music. It is based in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, home of Perry Como, Bobby Vinton and the Four Coins, who together placed nearly 200 songs on America’s pop charts.
Plans are continuing for construction of a four-story, hall of fame structure that includes a large performance center, as well as wings for both permanent and rotating collections and memorabilia.
In a ceremony March 15, 2013 with Johnny Tillotson as master of ceremonies, the original inductees into America’s Pop Music Hall of Fame were announced. They were the Beach Boys, the Beatles, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Nat King Cole, Perry Como, Bobby Darin, Neil Diamond, Brenda Lee, Johnny Mathis, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Bobby Vinton and Stevie Wonder.
The 2014 inductees were the Bee Gees, Tony Bennett, Carpenters, Chicago, Buddy Holly, Elton John, Carole King, Dean Martin, the Monkees, Roy Orbison, Patti Page, the Platters, Simon & Garfunkel and the Supremes. The Monkees were formally inducted during a standing-room only presentation at the Monkees Convention in East Rutherford, N.J. on March 17, 2014.
This year’s inductees were Paul Anka, Glen Campbell, Chubby Checker, the Eagles, the Everly Brothers, the Four Seasons, Tom Jones, Paul McCartney, Rick Nelson, Les Paul & Mary Ford. the Righteous Brothers, Linda Ronstadt, Johnny Tillotson, and Andy Williams.  
In Brief: 2016 Nominees:
Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, The Association, Lou Christie, the Dave Clark Five, Petula Clark, Sam Cooke, Dion and the Belmonts, Fats Domino, Bob Dylan, the Four Tops, Connie Francis, the Grass Roots, the Jackson Five, Tommy James and the Shondells, the Lettermen, Barry Manilow, the Rascals, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Neil Sedaka, Smokey and the Miracles, Rod Stewart, Barbra Streisand, the Temptations, Three Dog Night and Dionne Warwick,
Public Voting: through October 31.
Inductees Announced:  December 28, 2015

Chicago has also been a member of The Hit Parade Hall Of Fame since 2008, the organization's second year.  With gazillions of records sold and sold out shows around the world, it would seem that ONLY the all-knowing powers that be at The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame have been oblivious to this band's accomplishments.  Pretty sad since they're the ones who are SUPPOSED to know ... and recognize ... these things.  (kk)