Monday, July 4, 2011

Missing members

In a recent posting on a message board (http://ourrockandrollhalloffame71305.yuku.com/topic/1534/R-RHoF-Screw--Started----Group-Inducted--s-Bobby-Nunn--Leo), the subject was broached regarding members of groups who were not inducted with their groups.  (For clarification, this does NOT have to do with lead singers being the only ones inducted, like Smokey Robinson, Bob Seger, Prince, etc.)  And Charles Crossley, Jr. brings a good point that this would not happen today.  When the O'Jays were inducted in 2005, they included members that left before the group broke through big in the '70s.  Rob Trujilio was given a statuette as a member of Metallica despite his relatively recent arrival in the group.  Despite purists' objections, Sammy Hagar was inducted as a member of Van Halen.  And so on.

At a cursory glance, it actually seems pretty silly.  If the Coasters are inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, isn't it really more of inducting the entire body or concept that is "The Coasters"?  Is it of paramount importance to induct the right members as opposed to, say, actually inducting the group at all?  Will the casual fan or visitor to the museum even know the difference if Bobby Nunn and Leon Hughes weren't omitted?

But surprisingly, it does matter.  By choosing to induct or not induct certain members, you're effectually choosing which songs do or do not matter in an artist's catalogue, or to the history of rock 'n' roll.  As the breakthrough mainstream hit for the Coasters, the 45 of "Searchin'"/"Young Blood" is actually pretty important for the introduction of the Coasters, not to mention as an introduction of ethnic humor to a wider audience... meaning I don't really get the humor in "Young Blood", but the laughter from the members of the Coasters while singing "Well lookee there", "What's your name?" and "You're The One" was genuine.  They were cracking up while recording it.  To not induct Nunn and Hughes also slights the music they were part of, which in this case is pretty consequential.

And the Coasters were just the first.  As a member of a fan site for the Four Seasons, the topic constantly comes up of the omission of Joe Long, who replaced original member Nick Massi.  Even Frankie Valli himself fought to get Long included, but lost out.  Long, by the way, was the bass singer/player from 1966 until 1975, a time which saw the Four Seasons' most experimental material and some of their best, including songs like "Opus 17 (Don't You Worry 'Bout Me)", my personal favorite "Tell It To The Rain", "C'mon Marianne" (the opening guitar line was the inspiration for the keyboard line on the Doors' "Touch Me"), "Beggin'" (which received new popularity recently as a remixed dance hit), "I've Got You Under My Skin", their comeback single "Who Loves You" and their critically revered, commercial flop album Genuine Imitation Life Gazette.  Some even want Gerry Polci and Don Ciccone who were the primary lead singers during the time of the Seasons' second wind in the mid-to-late '70s.  Doesn't that music deserve to be recognized as well?

And what about the Supremes?  Was Cindy Birdsong included as Florence Ballard's replacement?  Personally, I think Jean Terrell deserves recognition too, since it was the first time since "When The Lovelight Comes Shining Through His Eyes" that the Supremes' songs didn't sound like the lead singer was full of herself.  Bruce Johnston was key in helping the Beach Boys stay afloat during the mid-'60s all the way through the '80s.  Not recognized.  And I doubt they got all the significant members from the Temptations, Eagles, or Drifters in, either.  Oh yeah, and I'm pretty sure that more often than not, Steely Dan was more than just a duo.  Now there aren't many who'd say put Pete Best and Stu Sutcliffe in with the Beatles or Dave Mustaine with Metallica, but even so, there's a lot of missed members falling through the cracks.

So what, if anything, is the solution?  Inducting them separately would be misleading, indicating that these people had significant solo careers, which is clearly not the case.  And inducting them as Side-Men would only be a further insult to them, essentially saying they weren't actually group members, merely session players that also toured with them; and until we know what the plans are for that category in renaming it "Excellence In Musical Recording", it only further compounds the notion that it's a bad idea to induct them as such.  Creating a separate category called "Overlooked Members Of Previous Inductees" is really not a good idea either, as it would drag out the ceremony longer and only serves to further embarrass the foundation than they are by having not included them in the first place.

My idea is this: induct them retroactively.  Just over the course of the off-season, simply put out press releases on behalf of the foundation stating "The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Foundation officially recognizes (insert name here) as an included and inducted member of (insert group here), which was inducted in (insert year here), and shall be heretofore recognized as part of the inducted class of (insert year here again)."  Give them a statuette, let them sign the wall, and it's good.  You don't need to make it a part of the actual induction ceremonies, though you can if you want. 

It's not a perfect solution, but it corrects the oversight, abates the bloodlust of the diehard fanbase, minimizes the potential discrediting to the Hall Of Fame, and until we master time travel, is in my opinion the best option on the table.

That, and continued observation to try and prevent it from happening again.

P.S.  Feel free to add other missed members in the comments.  I'm just rattling off but a few examples.

8 comments:

  1. All the members of The Eagles were inducted.

    Don Henley
    Randy Meisner
    Joe Walsh
    Don Felder
    Glenn Frey
    Bernie Leadon
    Timothy B. Schmit

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  2. I have known of this problem for a long time. I knew that Mark Evans, Simon Wright and Chris Slade were not inducted with AC/DC in 2002/2003 (well, they do not play any song originally recorded with Simon these days), but I had never thought of the cases you mention.

    The only other potential case I can think of like this is if they induct Roxy Music - a favourite band of mine and certainly considered. Will they induct only Ferry, Manzanery, Mackay, Eno, Jobson and Paul Thompson - or will they at least induct studio bassist John Gustafson and some of the musicians on Avalon like Andy Newmark and Neil Hubbard??

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  3. Original O'Jays member BOBBY MASSEY (1958-1972) was inducted with the rest of the group. However, Original O'Jay BILL ISLES , who sang with the group for the 1st 7 years of its existence,1958-65, was not inducted. Instead, they inducted SAMMY STRAIN,one of The Imperials , who sang with the O'Jays from 1976-1992,to replace the late WILLIAM POWELL, then left the group to return to THE IMPERIALS when that group reformed.

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  4. Dio wasn't inducted with Sabbath!

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  5. Gram Parsons was not inducted with the Byrds.

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  6. To see a more detailed account on the history of THE O'JAYS...see their story on the T.V.One musical documentary series UNSUNG , available on YouTube HERE:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bx2RlcEuiMw

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  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  8. The Byrds- Gram Parsons
    Grateful Dead- John Perry Barlow, Bruce Hornsby (not an official member but toured with them for about as long as inducted member Tom Constanten
    The Allman Brothers Band- Chuck Leavell, Lamar Williams, Warren Haynes, Allen Woody. Also, some ABB fans(including myself) feel that the phenomenal guitarist Derek Trucks, who both joined the group post-induction, should find a way into the hall somehow. Other bands have had lineup changes since their inductions, but I think keeping them out is good, because they don't represent the group's status as being HOF-worthy, but in the case of Trucks, he has proven to be one of the best guitar players of all time, ranking at #16 in RS's 100 Greatest Guitarists list, ahead of legends like Carlos Santana and Neil Young.

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