Bands/artists I love that will not get into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Last week, we had a rather spirited discussion about the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s Class of 2006 (Black Sabbath, Blondie, Miles Davis, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Sex Pistols), after which I listed ten bands from the ‘80s that I want to see get into the Hall before, say, Paper Lace, who gave the world “The Night Chicago Died.” Most of my picks, admittedly, were no-brainers (the Mötley Crüe pick was more for fun than anything else), but the point I was really trying to make was that the music of the ‘80s should not be dismissed in favor of the bands from the youth of the majority of the voters, and I fear that it will take New Order and the Smiths a good five years of eligibility before they get the nod. I, for one, cannot wait to see the induction ceremony for the Smiths. You couldn’t find four people who hate each other more.

This week, I am going to run my white flag up the pole and list the bands that I dearly love that, in my not so humble opinion, do not stand a chance in hell of getting into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Most of these artists are people whom I feel deserve to get the nod. But I understand how the “biz” works, and that respect and credibility will only get you so far. The reason they’re not getting in, as far as I’m concerned, is because they didn’t sell enough records, which more or less makes this the American Music Awards Hall of Fame, but I digress.

And so, without further ado, bands I love, listed in no particular order, that will not get into the Hall.

1) Roxy Music/Bryan Ferry. These guys were a huge influence on a score of different bands, from the glam bands of the ‘70s to the New Romantics of the ‘80s. One thing’s for sure, a good chunk of Bowie’s best moves came from Bryan Ferry, and I think Bowie himself would admit that.

2) Neil Finn/Crowded House/Split Enz. The man pisses genius, as Q Magazine once succinctly put it. Neil’s presence in Split Enz forced brother Tim Finn to quit fiddling around and write something accessible, and Crowded House is one of the best pop bands in the world, ever. Finn’s solo stuff ain’t bad, either. Lord knows, his song “Turn and Run” is the best thing that Sheryl Crow will ever be involved with, but we’ll get to Sheryl Crow in a little bit.

3) Squeeze. They were smart, they were funny, and they wrote infectiously catchy songs. So why is it that they don’t have a prayer of getting in? I wish I knew. We’re now surrounded by scores of smartass singers who think they’re clever, but there hasn’t been a record since Ben Folds Five that comes even close to outsmarting East Side Story or Argybargy.

4) Aimee Mann. If she signed up for military duty, they’d make her a sniper. Mann has a way of disarming people so quickly that they don’t even know that she has taken their most powerful weapon away until she’s shoved it halfway down their throat. Meanwhile, Sheryl Crow writes songs that are barely good enough to be Aimee’s B-sides, and Crow will likely skate into the Hall on a silver platter. And why is that? Because Crow sold more records, therefore she must be better than Mann. But I know better. Hopefully you do, too.

5) George Michael. No one wants to admit that they like either a George Michael song in particular or George Michael in general, and yet, this guy wreaked unholy havoc on not only the Billboard Pop charts, but the R&B charts as well. And yet, unlike Finn, or Mann, or Squeeze, it’s that very success, or the inability to maintain it, that will cost Michael in the end. There was a point, when Faith ruled the world, that Michael was even bigger than Madonna. I admit that even I tried to resist his charms as long as I could, but the one-two-three punch of “Everything She Wants,” “Kissing a Fool” and, most importantly, “Cowboys and Angels” made me a believer. If they are holding his post-Listen Without Prejudice material against him (which is patently unfair, as there is some great stuff on Older), then I would like to submit Exhibit CH: The Pretenders, into evidence. They made one, one, good record, and they got in. For my money, George Michael has written more good songs than Chrissie Hynde has ever played.

6) The Hollies. I had planned on making this list about more current artists, but before I began, I went through Steve-O’s list of inductees, and couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that the Hollies are still on the outside looking in. WTF? These guys were incredibly popular and highly regarded. Isn’t that the magic combination? Shouldn’t they get in for “The Air That I Breathe,” “He Ain’t Heavy (He’s My Brother)” and “King Midas in Reverse” alone? If you need more examples on what’s good about the Hollies, I can give you about 20. I’m sure the Delays (whose album Faded Seaside Glamour is the best combination of the Hollies, Sundays, Cocteau Twins and the La’s that you’ll ever hear) could give you about 20 more. But sad fact is that if the Hollies were going to get in, it would have happened by now, and that is a crying shame.

7) Blur. They were bar none my favorite band of the ‘90s. I shoved Modern Life Is Rubbish, Parklife and The Great Escape down the throats of everyone within reach (didn’t I, Steve?). But after four superb records (1997’s Blur was their last hurrah), the blood started to spill between Damon and Graham, and neither has been the same since. Sure, Damon’s doing just fine with the Gorillaz, but you know that it’s killing him inside that the Gorillaz are bigger in the States than Blur ever was or will ever be.


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