The 28th annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees were announced on October 4, 2012, offering a list of 15 groundbreaking artists who have circulated the music scene for a minimum of 25 years, as required for the ballot.
This unprecedented event was further marked by first-time fan voting, which allowed music lovers to vote on their preferred inductees. Though voting was concluded on December 5th, fans don’t have much longer to wait; the total nominations will be revealed sometime in mid-December, serving as a pre-holiday surprise for the musicians who made the selective cut. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place on April 18, 2013 at Los Angeles’s notable Nokia Theatre.
In anticipation of the event, check the list below to revel in the revolutionary talents of the past quarter century:
From doo-wop to prog-rock to gangster rap, the 2013 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees fulfill a wide-range of experimental genres that have surpassed the last two decades; culminating in triumph as musical legends, regardless of the ultimate victor.
New York trio Vinyl Life is about to make a bunch of former DJs very happy. Their self-titled debut is the most authentic tribute to ’80s dance music that we’ve heard, well, since the ’80s. “Hi Tops” is a miniature Name That Riff, using the keyboard lines from Inner City’s “Big Fun” and Maurice’s “This Is Acid” and merging them into a freestyle freak-out. “Electric Symphony” sounds like a sunnier Dubnobasswithmyheadman-era Underworld, and “Like This” will have Mantronik fans popping in their seats. The rapping is old-school in both delivery (it’s actually on the beat) and subject matter (sex, sex, sex), and most refreshingly, it’s almost entirely profanity-free. The guest rappers on the album’s final two tracks are not as accomodating, but just try not to laugh when one of them pulls an “Instant Club Hit”-type rant at the end of the don’t-be-a-douchebag smackdown “Take It Off.” Bonus points for “Future Beat,” which takes the signature Stock, Aitken & Waterman drum sound – think the opening to Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” – and restores its inherent coolness.
The album is even available for download on a donate-what-you-want basis (but unlike Radiohead, you have to pay at least a dollar) at Tape Theory Records’ site. Best dollar you’ll ever spend. (Tape Theory Records 2009)
The 23rd annual induction ceremony for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is coming up, and with it comes the annual bitchfest by music fans and critics as to which bands deserve to get in and which do not. The general public has no say in the nomination or induction process; instead, an anonymous committee chooses the nominations, which are then voted on by an equally anonymous group of 500 “rock experts.” Bands are eligible for induction 25 years after the release of their first record. Usually there’s little controversy when it comes to the artists chosen for induction, with the real debates circling around those artists who have yet to be recognized by the Hall of Fame.
The Hall has its prejudices when it comes to selecting those worthy enough for induction. Heavy metal, punk and prog rock have a hard time getting in, while anyone with an obvious blues or country influence seems to be a shoe-in. It also helps to be American or British; no artists from mainland Europe, Africa, South America or Asia have been inducted yet.
With that in mind, Bullz-Eye has selected 10 artists, listed in chronological order of their eligibility, that we feel have been given the shaft by the Hall. These are by no means the 10 “best” artists who have failed to be inducted; just 10 “of the best” who have not yet gotten their due.
Eligible since: 1994
The Stooges self-titled debut came out in 1969 and it’s hard to imagine just how abrasive and loud the Stooges must have sounded to audiences at the time. Try putting them in context: the biggest albums of that year were Abbey Road, Blood, Sweat & Tears’ self-titled record that had the hit “Spinning Wheel” and the original cast recording of “Hair.” One of the biggest singles was “Sugar Sugar” by the Archies. Contrast that with “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” and a sense of just how far ahead of the times they were begins to develop.
Eligible since: 1999
We are loath to use album sales as a measure of a band’s true worth, but it’s worth noting that Rush’s first 16 studio albums, spanning 22 years, have sold a minimum of 500,000 copies each. The only band with a longer gold-or-better sales streak is the Stones. Aerosmith is just behind Rush, with 14 straight gold-or-better albums, and U2 will probably get there if the band doesn’t kill Bono first. Fittingly, Aerosmith, U2 and the Stones are all in the Hall; Rush, however, are not, and their exclusion can be boiled down to three words: critics hate prog.
Eligible since: 2002
They may have paved the way for Anthrax and their thrash metal ilk, but Motorhead’s influence can be heard in punk music of the ’80s and ’90s, alternative rock groups such as Queens of the Stone Age and even in electronic and new wave music (industrial music is basically thrash metal with keyboards). The Hall hates metal, for some reason – it even took them 11 years to get off their asses and induct Black Sabbath. And if Ozzy and company can barely squeak into the Hall of Fame, an underground act like Motorhead doesn’t have a prayer. Pity.
Now’s the time on ESDMusic when we dance! Lowfish (Gregory De Rocher) is Canadian, but his synthesizer-drenched style of electronica has more in common with “Spockets”-era Kraftwerk and other ’80s European minimalist electronic music than anything from the land of indie hipsters. There’s also a hint of IDM (Intelligent Dance Music) in Lowfish’s low-key melodies and beats, reminiscent of the golden age of the genre that brought us acts like Orbital, Orbit and Aphex Twin. However, Lowfish does little more than reference his idols, rarely branching out and experimenting with his own sound. For someone who probably thrives himself on being experimental he’s not doing much in the way of experimenting. In fact there’s just not much of anything on Frozen & Broken, and not just because most of it is minimalist in nature. Everything sounds the same. “Things Fall Apart” sounds like “DFD” which sounds like “Lies,” and so on and so forth. Near the end of Frozen & Broken things get a bit more glitchy and experimental, with “Clastrophobe” and “Pulled & Put Back” both using Kid 606 cut-up sounds to a certain amount of success, but even then it’s not enough to stand out. When Lowfish isn’t sounding like his influences he’s not sounding like anything at all. This music has become tiresome. (Noise Factory Records 2008)
(Love to the Mayor of Simpleton, for giving me the idea)
The news hit the AP wire today, announcing that four acts from ‘70s and Miles Davis, who died in the early ‘90s at the age of 375, were inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame. They’re technically the Class of 2006, but I call them the Class of ’81, since any band whose debut album was released in 1981 or earlier was eligible for inclusion. The very fact that only two of these bands were within sniffing distance of the ‘80s leads me to believe that a ton of also-ran ‘70s bands will get in before any of the truly worthy ‘80s bands will, and that, frankly, disturbs me.
And so, without further ado and in no particular order, I submit my top ten list of ‘80s bands that should be inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame sooner rather than later. U2 is already in, so they’re obviously disqualified.
1) REM. Forget the Bill Berry-less train wreck that the band’s become of late, and remember when they and U2 ruled the rock world the way Darth Vader dreamed of ruling the galaxy with Luke Skywalker. Between 1987 and 1994, they were bulletproof, and there are thousands of bands and nerdy record store clerks who worshiped at their altar. 2) Madonna. If she doesn’t get inducted in the Class of 1983/2008, she will have Guy Ritchie and her children dropped off the Empire State Building. Which is really hard, because there are these tall metal bars on the rooftop deck with sharp points that curl inward. I’m guessing she uses a catapult. 3) The Smiths. Forever changed the face of modern rock, they did. Johnny’s done some good stuff with Electronic and The The, but he has to know that his best work rests within this band’s catalog, feuds with Steven Morrissey be damned. 4) New Order. Simply put, there is no electronic music scene without these guys. Kraftwerk may have gotten there first (something I’ll get to in a minute), but New Order was the band that fused a rock and roll sensibility into those machines, which in turn created a legion of knockoff bands by the late ‘80s. Even the Cure nicked half of their best licks from these guys. “In Between Days,” anyone? 5) Guns ‘n Roses. It may have ended in a haze of lawsuits and coke, but Goddamn, when Guns ‘n Roses was clicking, there wasn’t a band that could come within a thousand miles of them. And forget Appetite for Destruction: their best stuff was all over the Use Your Illusion albums, the greatest single album that never was. 6) Janet Jackson. Because you don’t make it to First Name Only status without earning it, bitches. 7) Public Enemy. Because their records from the ‘80s still scare white people. 8) Run DMC. The kings of rock. There is none higher. 9) Beastie Boys. It’s safe to say that not even Rick Rubin had any idea what kind of band the Beastie Boys would become. After all, find another band who went from the Juvenile But Massive Debut to Groundbreaking, Trendsetting Sophomore Album. 10) Motley Crüe. If only because they lived the life of rock and roll excess to a degree that would even make Bonzo and Keith Moon go, “Whoa, dudes, let’s not go nuts here.” Few bands embody the spirit of rock and roll more than Motley Crüe. Oh, and they also wrote some kickass tunes.
Bubbling Under: Bands and artists I would like to see inducted but will likely need some help
• Duran Duran
• Depeche Mode
• Stone Roses
• Talk Talk
• The The
• Ministry. The birth of industrial, people.
• English Beat/Madness/Specials. Someone from the ska era has to be represented, dammit.
I didn’t list Nirvana (whose first album Bleach came out in 1989 when none of us were looking) because they’re a no-brainer first ballot inductee. Ditto the Pixies (comment entered after Neil totally faced me on their omission).
Five holdovers from the ‘70s 1) Kraftwerk. Man, how on earth are these guys not in? They were and are light years ahead of their time. Hell, Coldplay’s stealing their songs and claiming them as their own, fer crissakes. 2) Van Halen. And so, a generation of shredders was born. 3) T. Rex. Yeah, okay, Bolan’s dead, so he’ll never know you didn’t induct him, but for crying out loud, bands are still ripping him off. That has to be worth something. 4) Cheap Trick. Few bands have meant so much to so many different genres of music. Cheap Trick is that band. Big Star gets all the love, but Cheap Trick was the better band, by a country mile. 5) Rush. Thrown under the progressive rock bus only because no one knew what to do with them. But they have amassed a body of work that today’s popular bands would be lucky to emulate.
Comments, suggestions, hate mail? Bring it, suckaz.
Post script: It just hit me that I left off the Red Hot Chili Peppers, whom I meant to include, so you Fleabies out there, quit hatin’ right now.