As August is now almost over, those who pay attention know that in the next month or so, the Nominating Committee for the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame will be meeting to hammer out the ballot for the Class of 2013, unless enough of them buy into the 2012 Armageddon theory, in which case there’ll be either the smallest class or the largest class the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame has ever and will ever have known. Barring that, the NomCom’s meeting should proceed as normal. So if all proceeds as normal, how will the ballot look? Who will be nominated? We took a mid-season look at this a while ago, but have opinions changed? Have any recent events turned the tide one way or another?
In many ways, not really. The rest of the world may have finished saying goodbye to Whitney Houston, but this’ll be the first ballot since her death, and the Hall hasn’t forgotten her yet. She’ll be on there. Despite the mid-season prediction of her omission, the passing of Donna Summer since the mid-season report increases the likelihood she’ll be back for her fifth nomination. Many predictors aren’t keen on the idea of both of them being on there, but the past couple years’ ballots have been full of internal divisions, so it wouldn’t be entirely unlikely for both of them to be on there. However, even with Donna Summer’s name reappearing, that shouldn’t preclude the return of Chic for their seventh nomination. The world just lost Donna to cancer, and it’s known that Nile Rodgers has cancer too, so it’s possible that they’ll renew the effort to get his group inducted before another great talent disappears, too.
Returning once again to the subject of newly eligibles, it’s still extremely likely that the NomCom will go for both Public Enemy and N.W.A. They’re both newly eligible, and both rap, which means NomCom member Touré will be pushing for both of them. Also on the potential list is George Michael, but will they go for him solo, will they pull a joint nomination with Wham!, or just go with the duo? Chances are they’ll hold off until Michael’s solo career is firmly eligible, and then go for just him. And much to Future Rock Legends’ chagrin, the current trend is unfavorable for the Pixies and Jane’s Addiction. As stated on the FRL site, alternative-scene acts don’t have a good track record of appearing on the ballot as soon as they’re eligible, unless they also had a noticeable amount of crossover to the mainstream radar, such as U2 or R.E.M.
Despite it also being some time ago, Cher’s appearance on the Late Show With David Letterman, where she talked about how she’s not in yet, might still come into play. It worked for Little Anthony And The Imperials, so the tactic could prove efficacious once again and there’ll be Sonny And Cher on the ballot, courtesy of NomCom member Paul Shaffer. .
Holding true to the mid-season report, Lesley Gore is still a solid possibility to be the Little Steven pick, and he’ll push to get her on the ballot. He usually gets one of his picks on the ballot, and Lesley Gore is the kind of artist he’d support. NomCom member Roy Trakin, who admitted to it this past year, will likely once again lead the push to try and put Daryl Hall And John Oates on the ballot as well.
Changing things up a bit from mid-season, the next thought is of the ‘60s’s British Invasion. The ‘60’s British Invasion has been represented on six of the past seven ballots, this latest class saw two (or one-and-a-half) acts from that category get inducted, and surprisingly, there are still a handful of candidates that have widespread support. Among this handful, the most likely next candidate might just be the Spencer Davis Group, who hold a marginal advantage over the Zombies, who might just upset a prediction or two themselves.
Looking at returning candidates, there’s a strong possibility that War will be back. The Rock Hall wants acts that want to be in, and members of War complained about their most recent missing out. Just like this past ballot, the Spinners will probably represent soul music again, though Joe Tex is ripe for reappearance any year now.
There’s still a year until the eligibility of Nirvana and the floodgate of grunge that will open after that. But so far, there isn’t really any guitar god representation in this entry. A lot of people are hoping this will be the year for prog and metal to overrun the ballot. As much as this would help silence the people who think they’re not inducting enough “rock” in the Rock Hall, it would also set off the race card drivers who are quick to jump the gun whenever only White acts get inducted. Nonetheless, the axe always has some representation. But it’s hard to pick out who’ll get the nod. So, just to throw out three names and see what sticks: Bon Jovi and KISS because they’re both past nominees, and Stevie Ray Vaughan And Double Trouble because they represent blues-rock exceptionally and seem to have all the ducks in a row for being in the NomCom’s good graces. Kind of odd they haven’t been nominated yet.
There have been fifteen nominees on the past two ballots, and in keeping with that idea, along with what happened in 2011, a lot of people are still expecting Chuck Willis to be back, mainly to keep Chic company in most-nominations-but-not-in-yet club. But at this point, it’s doubtful; after six nominations for Willis, and his career beginning in ’52 or so, look for the NomCom to finally give up and let a special committee induct him as an Early Influence. It’ll be slightly less of a travesty to induct him as one than Freddie King or even Wanda Jackson. So lastly, the left-field candidate. While Jan And Dean are still as solid a possibility as any, it also wouldn’t be beyond reality for the NomCom to complete the trifecta of the late singers earlier this year, meaning they’ll give Davy Jones some love at last and nominate the Monkees.
There are other categories untouched, such as the ‘50’s artist (though Chuck Willis has already been dismissed), which could see girl group the Chantels get their third nomination; not to mention the minor act that never got their proper respect and recognition during their limited heyday and the super artistic singer-songwriter, both of which might be strong indicators toward Buffy Saint-Marie, Phil Ochs, or even Tim Hardin. There’s no prog predicted, but there hasn’t been prog on the past couple ballots, and with Bon Jovi and KISS as strong possibilities, hair-metal will be the stretch used to justify claiming metal is represented. Compared to the mid-season report, ten names appear both times, two-thirds. So, while there originally had some thoughts toward Peter Gabriel, Cat Stevens, Jan And Dean, Neil Sedaka, and the Cure; they’re all now no longer held as likely candidates. Let’s see what happens at the end of next month.