Wednesday, December 23, 2015

3 Reasons I Felt Compelled to Write about the 2016 Rock Hall Inductees

Deep Purple, 1971
It’s the holidays and the Rock Hall gave all of us true rock fans the closest thing to a gift that I can remember since at least 1995. They actually chose to induct a classic rock heavy class for 2016. This year’s inductees are Deep Purple, Cheap Trick, Steve Miller, Chicago and NWA. Not a perfect class, and maybe not the most exciting. But, for the most part, especially out of those nominated, they got it mostly right.

Granted, if it were up to me, I would have switched out NWA with Yes. NWA simply isn’t rock and roll. Sorry, but they’re not. Yes should have been in long ago. The only other change I’d consider is The Cars over Steve Miller. That’s minor though as I’m not a huge fan of either, although I think The Cars are slightly more deserving.

Cheap Trick
I honestly wasn’t going to write a post about this year’s inductees, but I changed my mind for three reasons.

1. The Rock Hall Deserves Credit for Getting it Right…Mostly

I’m the first to criticize the Rock Hall when they get it wrong (and they have very often). So, I felt it only fitting to give them credit when they do some good things. Yes, it took way too long for Deep Purple and Cheap Trick to get in, but they’re going in finally.

For Deep Purple, the membersbeing inducted are Ritchie BlackmoreDavid CoverdaleRod EvansIan GillanRoger GloverGlenn HughesJon Lord and Ian Paice. Left out are Steve Morse (guitarist since 1994) and Don Airey (keyboardist since 2002). These exclusions make no sense to me. They’ve been key contributors for a big chunk of their history. Just put them all in and be done with it.

Steve Miller is being inducted alone even though his biggest hits were made with the Steve Miller Band. Not sure why the band isn’t going in. Seems like another miss on the Rock Hall’s part (similar to initially inducting Bruce Springsteen without the E Street Band, but on a much smaller scale.)

But all in all, it’s one of the strongest ROCK classes being inducted in a long time.

2. The Rock Snubs List Continues to Get Shorter has rallied for all the bands that have been snubbed over the years. EddieTrunk has talked himself hoarse every year when the nominees and inductees are announced. Slowly but surely, the Rock Hall has been righting a few wrongs with their inductees. The biggest snubs by far had been Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, KISS, Rush, Heart and Deep Purple.

Whether it’s due to true rock fans crying out for their favorite bands, the Rock Hall finally getting a clue or simply that enough actual rock bands are getting in to be able to vote in the bands that also truly deserve to be there, they’ve made a dent into the list of snubbed bands.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s still a lot of work to do. Bands like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Yes, The Moody Blues, Bon Jovi, Bad Company, Ted Nugent and so many others still have yet to get in. So until all of these bands are in, don’t argue to me about non-rock artists like Janet Jackson.

Which leads me to…

3. Who is Considered Rock vs. Non-Rock

Cleveland fought to get the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame because we are a rock and roll city. So when I see the headline in our own newspaper say “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Rejects Janet Jackson, Nine Inch Nails,” it drives me crazy. How about celebrating the actual rock and roll artists that are being inducted?

Nine Inch Nails aside (because they’re rock, have strong Cleveland ties and I’m on board for the most part with his argument), the author said he was baffled that Janet Jackson didn’t get in. It’s not baffling. She’s simply not rock. He argued this point by saying “a solo artist of her caliber deserves to be in a hall of fame that celebrates music history.” I have no problem with that statement – as long as it’s not in the ROCK AND ROLL Hall of Fame.

It’s the usual argument of which bands are rock and which aren’t. I’ve constantly argued that the Rock Hall is not the “Music” Hall of Fame or the “Pop Music” Hall of Fame. It’s not a catchall for any talented artist, nor should it be. If there are no Pop, R&B or Rap Halls of Fame, then that’s a completely different argument and has nothing to do with the Rock Hall.

Many of the supporters of non-rock acts will say that rap, pop, country, Motown and others have some roots in rock. That may be true, but if that’s the argument you want to have, you should see no reason for a rock and roll hall of fame at all. Rock came out of blues and country, so every artist should be included in the Blues Hall of Fame or Country Music Hall of Fame. I checked…there aren’t any rock artists in the Country Hall and only a handful of artists in the Blues Hall that cross over (Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan).

I realize this will forever be a huge discussion point for music fans. And, as much as I like the final result of this year’s group, I could just as easily hate next year’s. So, I’ll simply enjoy it for now and say, “Good job, Rock Hall!” for as long as it lasts.

What are your thoughts? Did they get it right? What do you see as the hits and misses? Thanks for reading and please share it with your friends.

Image sources:
"Deep Purple (1971)" by Warner Bros. Records - itemphoto frontback. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons - /media/File:Deep_Purple_(1971).JPG

Cheap Trick via Todd Heft (License CC 2.0)

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