Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Well, today the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced the artists on this year's ballot.  If I were a voter, of course I'd be writing in KISS on my ballot, as they were passed over again.  That said, there are some cool artists on the ballot as it stands, and I'd have a hard time voting for just five.  But if I was a voter, I'd go with:

The Beastie Boys: no other band has jumped from style to style like them and done it all well.  Hardcore punk, hip-hop, hard rock and instrumental funk.  Add in one of the funniest phony phone calls of all time, and the fact that they introduced a generation to the plight of Tibet and the concept of non-violent protests, these guys absolutely deserve to get in.  I just hope that they do... and that Adam Yauch is healthy enough to perform at the ceremony.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers: When they started out in the '80s, I doubt many people would have expected this band to last twenty five years, or to be able to age so well.  I love their early albums with drummer Jack Irons and the late guitarist Hillel Slovak, but they really came into their own when drummer Chad Smith and guitarist John Frusciante joined for Mother's Milk.  Of course, the followup, Bloodsugarsexmagik, is a classic, as is lots of the band's second era with Frusciante (Californication is one of the best comeback albums ever). I imagine Anthony Keidis, Flea, Iron, Slovak, Smith and Frusciante will be included if the band is inducted.  I wonder if they'll include Dave Navarro and current guitarist Josh Klinghoffer.

Eric B & Rakim: I was impressed to see them included on the ballot (while being disappointed that LL Cool J, on the ballot in the past but as of yet not inducted, wasn't included). Ask any MC who knows what he's talking about: Rakim is one of the greatest of all time, if not the greatest.  I don't know if their influence on rock and roll is as obvious as that of LL, Run-DMC or Public Enemy (who are not eligible until next year).  But a lot of rock artists were listening to hip-hop during the golden era of the late '80s and early '90s, and if you were listening to hip-hop at that point, you were definitely listening to this incredible duo.  I wonder if they'll perform together if inducted.  Rakim has been doing their music in concert, but is never that cool when talking about Eric B.

Joan Jett & The Blackhearts: Every few years there's someone who comes along and kicks everyone's ass and reminds them what rock and roll is about. That's what Joan Jett did in the '80s.  She can do gigs with indie punk bands, then do the county fair with Meat Loaf or someone, and then tour with a metal band. She's respected by everyone and rightfully so.  I would vote for her if only for her song "Bad Reputation," it's just righteous.  I should also mention that she's a great music fan, and anyone who heard her former radio show on The Underground Garage would agree.  I wish she still did that show.

The Cure: as long as there as moody kids into weird dark music, there will be a place for The Cure.  They have a pretty incredible body of work, and they really developed over time.  I mean to go from "10:15 Saturday Night" to "Fascination Street" to "Just Like Heaven," that's a lot of ground and they don't really get credit for their diversity.  I wonder which members would be inducted (other than Robert Smith, of course).

I'd have a hard time not voting for The Faces/The Small Faces.  I love The Faces, they are one of the greatest pure rock and roll bands ever.  I always thought that they deserved to be inducted more than Rod Stewart did for his solo career. I think his best vocal performances were with them. I have to confess though, I don't really know much about their precursor, The Small Faces.

I'd also like to see Guns N Roses inducted. Like anyone else who was alive in 1987, Appetite For Destruction rocked my world, and they deserve to get in just for that album. And of course, who wouldn't want to see who shows up for their induction? They shouldn't get in before KISS though.

Heart is a great group, I don't know if I'd vote for them, but I certainly wouldn't object to it if they got in. I wonder which members (other than Ann and Nancy Wilson) would be included? Ann Wilson is one of the great classic rock singers.  Freddie King is a great blues guitarist, a huge influence on Clapton (as well as Beck and SRV). Definitely wouldn't object to his induction, I'm not a huge expert on the guy beyond "Hideaway." Rufus with Chaka Khan is a cool funk group, but I wouldn't vote for them. The Spinners were a great Philly soul group, I wouldn't object to them either. I've discussed Donna Summer as a Hall of Famer with Larry Flick: I don't mind a disco diva being in the Hall of Fame, especially because I think "I Feel Love" is pretty radical and badass.  But if disco is going to be represented, I'd lean more towards voting for Chic (not on the ballot this year). I think War is actually a really underrated group, I'd like to see them get in at some point. The two artists on the ballot I would object to: Donovan (I just can't take his music, its way too hippie for me) and Laura Nyro (great songwriter, but not a rock and roller).  

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