OK let’s forget the flowery prosaic intro and just jump headfirst into this year’s crop of nominees:
- Peter Gabriel
- The Meters
- The Replacements
- Hall & Oates
- Linda Ronstadt
- LL Cool J
- The Paul Butterfield Blues Band
- Deep Purple
- Link Wray
- Cat Stevens
- The Zombies
Whoa… I’m a HUGE Kiss fan! Have been so since the age of 6! And Deep Purple… the forefathers of modern hard rock and metal! I have a full mad-on when it comes to the music of Hall & Oates — “Abandoned Luncheonette” is a favorite classic album. Cat Stevens is one of the great singer-songwriters of his era, and love ’em or hate ’em, Yes is prog royalty of the highest caliber. Nirvana? Duhr. Revolutionized music, not just for grunge but for more mainstream exposure to indie rock.
But all in all… just look at all those great artists! What a list! So exactly how excited about am I about their nominations?
Look, it’s like this: the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame only has as much importance and legitimacy as you give it. It has no inherent value, authority, finality, or be-all end-all’ism. The voting block is primarily comprised of Jan Wenner and his little circle-jerk of odious personalities, who never fail to give every Bruce Springsteen, REM, U2, and Bob Dylan album a top Five-Star rating months before the thing is actually recorded.
Is there a some kind of agenda against certain types/genres of music? Of course there is. Everything is codified at some primal subjective level, and accordingly the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame has about as much legitimacy as, say, Rolling Stone magazine. Which is to say, none whatsoever.
People do like to lose their freakin’ minds over this organization, though. I’m a huge Eddie Trunk fan, but listening to his tirades about the “Rock and Roll Hall of Shame” is as tiring as it is predictable. No matter how much I might agree with him. Was I thrilled that Rush — one of my favorite all time bands — was inducted into the Hall last year? Not really. It’s somewhat heartening to see a band that I’ve loved for over 30 years get some kind of mainstream recognition, especially after they’ve been critically slaughtered and pop-culturally trivialized for the vast majority of that time. I mean, other than the 40+ million albums sold, legions of adoring fans, and endless host of musicians, singers, and songwriters they’ve influenced.
That’s the thing. If the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has no real legitimacy — and it doesn’t — then you are a hypocrite if you celebrate when your favorite bands get in after years of denigrating the organization as ‘useless’, ‘pointless’, or ‘out of touch’. It’s akin to calling a country club fascist, exclusionary, and repulsive until they let you in, and you suddenly find yourself in a position of utter elation.
I love Kiss. This comes as no surprise to anyone. But I couldn’t give a bright red rosy that they were nominated this year. Or any year. Same with Hall & Oates, Yes, Deep Purple, Nirvana, Cat Stevens, etc. A RRHoF nomination doesn’t make their music more important, lasting, or accepted. Because when you boil it down to its very essence, your enjoyment and appreciation of an artist shouldn’t even begin to be swayed by a bunch of self-important nutsuckers voting in a room somewhere.
And those are my thoughts. Here’s a video… or something. The audio is definitely NSFW. Earmuffs: