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Here They Are Now, Entertain Us: The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Nominees Class Of 2013

The Zombies: Apocalypse Now

The latest batch of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominees are out and boy are people happy.  People LOVE the RRHOF for two reasons.  One, because it’s irrelevant.  You’ve heard these arguments – rock ‘n’ roll is a rebellious art form that shouldn’t be enshrined, it’s not legitimate because The Swinging Blue Jeans aren’t in, Jann Wenner is a socialist Commie that wants to destroy America, etc., etc., etc.  So, people love it because it’s one less thing to worry about.  The other group loves it because IT MATTERS, MAN.  Status, money, legitimacy.  Do you want to live in a world where The Mamas & The Papas are not in the RRHOF?  If they weren’t, the universe would lack….harmony.

OK, this year’s nominees.

Nirvana.  A lead-pipe cinch if there’s ever been one.  Nirvana was all about Kurt Cobain’s endless pain expressed in primal scream therapy abandon.  Besides physical pain and drug addiction, Kurt was the poster boy for the emotional abandonment of the latchkey generation.  He was so dedicated to the “life is pain” concept, he married Courtney Love.

KISS.  Instead of actually writing a new paragraph, let me just cut and paste what I wrote about RUSH last ear.  The same money grubbing concept applies.  “The RRHOF has steadfastly ignored ultra-commercially successful, critically lambasted arena rock bands that (like it or not) define rock and roll to a lot of people.  Van Halen gets in because Eddie’s a recognized guitar torture wizard, but KISS, Def Leppard, Cheap Trick, Bon Jovi, etc., are forever sitting on the sidelines, while Laura Nyro gets her eternal free parking pass.  Being the smart people that they are, the HOF is having it BOTH WAYS this year.  Yep, they have opened the voting to the fans, who will undoubtedly vote for the most commercially successful act (and will have more of an inclination to visit that ugly building in Cleveland in the future).  And, the HOF gatekeepers can sit back and say ‘Hey, it’s not OUR FAULT these cheesy arena rock bands are in our shrine, blame the unwashed masses.’  If you don’t love the HOF’s collective money raking cynicism on this one, be cool or be cast out.”

The Replacements.  Given the reaction to the band’s recent reunion gigs, The Replacements seem to be more popular than ever and nobody in the 1980s matched the quality of their releases Let It Be, Tim, and Pleased to Meet Me.  In many ways, the Replacements were the last great traditional rock ‘n’ roll band.  Certainly deserving, but they may have been too anti-establishment, or just drunk, for the pantheon.

Hall and Oates.  This duo was always hard to categorize – were they pop, rock, blue-eyed soul, or just a guy with good hair hanging out with a walking porn ‘stache?  They were ubiquitous in the 1980s when the much-loved Tommy Mottola was their manager.   I’d say they aren’t a good fit for the RRHOF, but then you’d hit me with your Laura Nyro coffee mug.

Paul Butterfield Blues Band.  A holdover nominee for last year.  You’re not getting three sentences out of me about these guys.

Chic.  Another holdover from last year.  Rock critics actually loved Chic during their heyday, but they were vilified by the public as part of the “Disco Sucks” movement.  Nile Rodgers got a profile bump this with “Get Lucky,” but I don’t think that will nudge them across the goal line.

Deep Purple.  I’m not sure which Deep Purple is being nominated.  The pop band that did “Hush”?  The hard rock band of “Smoke on the Water”?  The heavy metal band with Joe Lynn Turner?  Having so many different versions of Deep Purple probably doesn’t help their cause.

Peter Gabriel.  Gabriel is already in the RRHOF as a member of Genesis.  (Think about that statement for a moment).  I don’t think his solo career is worthy of a slot and I don’t want to see John Cusack induct him with that damn boombox.

LL Cool J.  When he’s nominated next year, we can say, “Don’t call it a comeback!”

N.W.A.  Another repeat from last year.  As the commercial pioneers of gangsta rap, they’ll probably break in someday.  Oldsters remember the world pre-N.W.A., when “mother” wasn’t half of a word.

Link Wray.  “Rumble” sounds like an angry group of brontosauruses slowly stomping across the Earth, crushing everything in its place.  That, my friends, is rock ‘n’ roll.

The Meters.  Another repeat from last year and they won’t cissy strut their way in this time.  A “legacy” induction if there has ever been one.

Linda Ronstadt.  Not counting Alfa Anderson/Luci Martin/Norma Jean Wright of Chic or Paul Stanley of KISS, the only female act nominated.  Linda has the resume to be inducted and with the recent announcement that she has Parkinson’s disease, she could be a sentimental selection as well.

Cat Stevens.  A polarizing figure both musically and socially.  With fellow drip James Taylor, helped to define the singer/songwriter movement of the early 1970s.  There are some things that don’t deserve our nostalgia.

Yes.  English progressive rock flag bearers that I never listen to on purpose.  Can’t you just see them on the Hall of Fame stage, doing a fifteen-minute version of “All Good People”?  Perfect bathroom break.

The Zombies.  What’s your name?  WHO’S YOUR DADDY?  It will be a sign of the apocalypse if Rod and Colin are bypassed.

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