Monday, October 1, 2007


I'm not one of those contrarians who hates the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In fact, I like the fact that artists are honored for an enduring body of work. I even like the museum, I've been there a few times, including opening weekend.

And of course, any list of the "greatest/most influencial/most important" artists of all time is subjective.

That said, if the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is about influence and not sales, I don't see how The Stooges haven't gotten in yet. But this year, they aren't even on the ballot. What the frak?

It would be one thing if the Hall didn't recognize punk rock: but The Ramones, The Clash and The Sex Pistols are all in. Without The Stooges, those bands wouldn't exist, probably neither would two of last year's inductees, R.E.M. and Patti Smith. Who else wouldn't exist without The Stooges? Let's see, off the top of my head: The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jane's Addiction and Nirvana? Oh yeah, and David Bowie.

There are some other artists that I'd like to see get in: Tom Waits, Warren Zevon, Bill Withers, Emmylou Harris, The Faces, The Cure, and The New York Dolls, among them. There are a few whose influence I don't think you can dispute, like KISS and Alice Cooper. But the fact that The Stooges aren't in is nothing short of an embarassment.

So, this year's ballot includes John Mellencamp. I'm a fan: I don't think that he changed the world musically, but he's written a pretty incredible catalog of songs, and he was a big force in bringing activism back to music in the '80s with his classic Scarecrow album and the co-founding of Farm Aid. I hope he is finally inducted (although I think he - along with many other inductees like R.E.M., Patti Smith, Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders to name a few) would agree that The Stooges deserve to be in first.

The Beastie Boys also made the ballot: it's been 25 years since they released their hardcore punk debut, Pollywog Stew. I don't think that you can dispute that they belong in the Hall of Fame. I'm sure they'll get in.

I'm not one of those people who hates disco, I think that whole "disco sucks" thing was just racist classic rock radio. I like Chic, and wouldn't mind them in the Hall, but I think there are lots of other artists who should be in first. I like some of Donna Summers' records, but she wouldn't get my vote. Madonna isn't rock and roll - except in attitude. I don't mind her, but I wouldn't vote for her, either. I was happy that Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five got in last year, and I'm happy to see Afrika Bambaata on the ballot. I thought Run-D.M.C. would be on the ballot, but I guess they'll be on next year. The Dave Clark Five is on the ballot - get ready to find Little Steven on the campaign path, he's been saying that they should get in for years. The sad thing is, if you're curious why (as I am) it's difficult to find out what the big deal is about them, as their music is out of print.

One omission I am surprised about is Metallica, who are eligible this year. I thought that they were a lock. But then, the Hall of Fame/the Rolling Stone establishment has never been big supporters of heavy metal: it took forever for the almighty Black Sabbath to be inducted. That was another one that they should have been embarassed about. But Metallica have plenty of time.

It's just too bad about The Stooges. Hopefully The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will come to their senses at one point. I actually spoke to Iggy Pop about this a few years ago. He said that he would like the recognition. And he deserves it.

1 comment:

Indie_dinosaur said...

iggy pop was on the ballot in 2004 i believe, but wasn't elected... but now he's back performing for madonna this year, which is enough to make me tune in and watch. it's gonna be aired live on VH1 Classic (8:30/7:30c). more details over at their site