With all that in mind, this particular entry is being typed in the interest of being a mid-season commentary, of sorts. Shortly after the inductees for 2012 were announced, people were already laying predictions for the Class of 2013, but most of those were in the spirit of a “We’ll get them next year” comment one may have heard from a Brooklyn Dodgers’ fan back in the ‘40s or ‘50s, or from a Buffalo Bills’ fan in the ‘90s. Now that the dust has more than settled, even following the announcements of the six additional Performer inductees chosen by special committee, it might be interesting to take a premature look at who might be on the ballot this autumn. Note: this is not an attempt, to use the analogy, to make Christmas start earlier every year; rather, this is more of a “Christmas in July” kind of thing. This is intentionally super-early for the purpose of tracking trains of thought, comparing what was believed back in March, against what will be believed by the time September rolls around. As always, all are encouraged to post their own mid-season thoughts if they want their own written record to compare against come September.
As it stands now, perhaps the most obvious choice to be on the ballot for 2013’s class is Whitney Houston. Her death earlier this year is reminiscent of the death of George Harrison. It wasn’t until after his death that the movement to get his solo career recognized even began to amalgamate. By the time George died, the ballot for 2002 was in progress, and it took another two ballots for George’s name to finally appear. Whitney, however, has the advantage of having already been considered for nomination; that is, her name has already come up for serious contention at the NomCom’s discussion, but failed to actually culminate in a nomination. This time, she could very well be a lock for nomination, and probably induction. Sadly, this will not likely also apply to the Monkees, with the recent death of Davy Jones, though there has been outpoured support from rock heroes. The Monkees have just never been the critics’ choice, and critics make up a strong contingency of the NomCom.
With the currently, seemingly obvious selection of Houston, this year may be a year they give Donna Summer’s name a rest, after three consecutive failures to get in, four of the past five. However, last year was a year off for Chic, who may very well be back for nomination number seven, with renewed effort. With a healthy number of nominees (and inductees this time) being returning names, there may also be a good number of returned candidates. To that end, it’s not a bad idea to pad the predictions with the likes Kiss, Bon Jovi, War, and even the Cure to once again represent the alternative scene. There are a number of other possible repeat nominees as well. With the upcoming wave of grunge artists that will begin in 2013, for the Class of 2014, this could be another year where the NomCom tries to cram in as many recurring favorites as possible.
With the Beastie Boys in, the rap artists most likely to be nominated are also two of the most prominent names on the list of the newly eligible. They are, of course, Public Enemy and N.W.A. Now that the Beastie Boys have proven that a rap artist can get in, despite having a second rap act on the ballot, it’s a safe guess that these two will be two of the next three that Touré will be pushing for, and it’s a good bet that they’ll both make it onto the ballot, too. Sadly, with two big-name rap acts up for eligibility and the prominent possibility of Whitney Houston, soul music looks to get overlooked this time around, so probably no Spinners again, or Joe Tex for that matter.
With grunge looming on the horizon, it may also be the last chance for a while to get Stevie Ray Vaughan And Double Trouble in. The (Small) Faces gave the Hall two more Clyde McPhatter Clubbers in the forms of Rod Stewart and Ron Wood. While Eric Burdon stands a chance of being included with an induction of the aforementioned War, it’s also possible that a group’s former lead singer’s solo career will get recognized as well. There are a couple good possibilities out there, but this time the selection could very well be Peter Gabriel, much to the delight of one particular fellow Rock Hall Monitor.
With Touré already accounted for, it’s a good idea to figure out a couple other NomCom members. Little Steven didn’t have any noticeable favorites on this most recent ballot, though he may have been part of the camp to put Heart, Laura Nyro, or Freddie King on. Still, he doesn’t usually go too long without one of his causes on the ballot. Furthermore, it recently came to light that ‘60s teen queen Lesley Gore has now made the same list of seriously considered artists that also includes Whitney Houston. That name has Little Steven’s endorsement written all over it, and she stands a good chance to make it, to add another female name to the ballot. Roy Trakin admitted to being at least one of the people who pushed to get Guns N’ Roses put on this past ballot, and by his own admission, another one of his pet causes is that of Daryl Hall And John Oates, wanting to give the oft criticized blue-eyed soul duo some proper recognition. In 2008, Little Anthony And The Imperials made an appearance on “The Late Show With David Letterman”, and lo and behold, they made it onto the ballot for, and into the Hall in 2009, most likely courtesy of Paul Shaffer. Only recently, Cher made it onto the Letterman show where David asked her about her not being insducted. It’s very possible that that will stick out in the mind of Shaffer, and Sonny And Cher will find their way on the ballot by the end of September.
There’s also usually at least one noteworthy singer/songwriter on the ballot. Now that Laura Nyro and Donovan have made it, it leaves the field pretty wide open. Despite the possibilities from the early to mid ‘70s in this category, it might be a left turn back to the early ‘60s this time, which brings up Neil Sedaka as an interesting possibility. Lastly, a left-field candidate, someone out of the blue. This time around that predicted candidate will be Jan And Dean, a fun-time rock and roll duo that too often lingers in the shadow of the Beach Boys. They may finally get their turn this time.
So there it is, a mid-season mental exercise. By the time the meeting in late September occurs, it’ll be interesting to see where things stand and how we all feel then. Until that time, feel free to add your own mid-season thoughts in the comments section.