Saturday, November 29, 2014

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominees for 2015

It has been a while since I’ve checked in on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I used to get excited to see the yearly inductees. But it is a mighty bit gender- and English- biased. Way, way back in 2009 I said there were a few major oversights: The Stooges (subsequently inducted), Kraftwerk (nominated this year), Roxy Music (no love), Gram Parsons (no love), and Whitney Houston (no love).

So besides the sad fact that this year Parsons, Houston, and Roxy Music are once again maligned (five years in a row, now) that still leaves a gender bias, as I wrote up back in the day. Obviously, I want Kraftwerk to win, so we’ll put them in the first spot, since they are on the nominee list again this year:

1. Kraftwerk

Now, it is likely there’ll be five inductees total, so let’s look at the nominees for the four other spots:

The Paul Butterfield Blues Band
Green Day
Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
The Marvelettes
Nine Inch Nails
Lou Reed
The Smiths
The Spinners
Stevie Ray Vaughn and Double Trouble
Bill Withers

Right off the bat: holy shit. They actually came up with a really good list this year. I’m going to knock out a couple losers immediately, though. First: Sting. The Police are already in there. Sting’s solo career is just not that impressive. He’s no George Harrison. Second: The Marvelettes. As I said, we need more recognition of women in rock, and the academy has recently been more interested in those early 60s groups. But beyond ‘Please Mr. Postman’ what are they known for? I guess if they won I'd be okay with it, but they aren't really deserving.

Okay, so focusing on the female quotient, so underrepresented, let’s make the next two Joan Jett and Chic:

1. Kraftwerk
2. Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
3. Chic

leaving two positions open. I’m going to say Bill Withers, who is now 76, should be on there before he dies. Just seems like a nice thing to do. Most of the other living artists are all relatively young by comparison.

For the last position let’s look at the real innovators, the indisputably critical artists: NWA, Nine Inch Nails, The Smiths, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, and Lou Reed. Heck these five would be a great year on their own, and I won’t be disappointed if any of them wins. That said, I’m going to go with age again, and the oldest group, clearly, is The Paul Butterfield Blues Band – seminal in the blues-rock movement of the 60s. Their inaugural 1965 album kicked open the door to the whole movement, and is widely considered a classic. Paul Butterfield died back in the 80s, but some of the other band members are alive and kickin’.

Final roundup, then, looks like this:

1. Kraftwerk
2. Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
3. Chic
4. Bill Withers
5. The Paul Butterfield Blues Band

According to the fan vote the top five, as of today, are:

1. Stevie Ray Vaughn and Double Trouble (I’m cool with that)
2. Nine Inch Nails (Again, cool with that)
3. Joan Jett & the Blackhearts (yay!)
4. The Paul Butterfield Blues Band (yay!)
5. Bill Withers (yay!)

Hopefully Kraftwerk will be on there too…

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