Sunday, April 27, 2014

Mid-Season Report, 2014 Edition

The ceremonies have been held, but not televised.  April is almost over.  I’m late, and I apologize.  But in all fairness, it works out for the better.  In less than six months, we’ll have the nominees for the Class Of 2015.  There’s still awhile to go, but that’s one of the reasons we do the mid-season report: to sort out how we feel now and see how those feelings change as the time for the ballot’s announcement looms semi-ominously on the near horizon, just on the other side of a patch of fog. 

The main reason it’s good that this year’s mid-season report is later than normal is because of what happened at the actual ceremony.  A lot of the people there, whether in speeches made by inductees or just by their mere presence, seemed to be trying to shape the upcoming ballot.  A lot of that is where we begin.

First off, the new NomCom members that got their big pushes in immediately: Questlove and Tom Morello.  On Future Rock Legends, I chuckled a comment about Tom Morello inducting KISS, and to be honest, that same amusement also applies to Questlove and his support of Daryl Hall And John Oates.  As the auto insurance commercial says, just another reason life is funny.  But between the two of them chatting it up afterwards, it became clear that they are simpatico in a lot of ways, musically.  I don’t know enough about the proceedings to say how powerful an alliance between only two people is, but it’s not something I would ignore either.  So it’s pretty safe to say at this point that N.W.A. will be back on the ballot.  We know Toure will continue pushing for rap acts, and these two new members are behind the rap group’s induction as well.  It also sounds like they’re agreed on trying to put Sonic Youth on the ballot.  I’m not as confident about Sonic Youth, though, since with the Cure and the Replacements recently failing, they may resurrect attempts to induct them, rather than creating a logjam of ‘80s alternative artists that are past nominees.  Nevertheless, with Kim Gordon as one of the women to lead Nirvana at the ceremonies, in what Krist Novoselic dubbed “Hervana”, her appearance could be seen as an appeal to the NomCom’s sensibilities.  The same could also be said on behalf of Joan Jett And The Blackhearts—who were surprisingly absent from this past ballot after being on the previous two—with Jett also one of the Hervana leaders.  Additionally, with one of the Meters reportedly being there behind Peter Gabriel on his set, it looks like there’s still plenty of push from within to get them in the Hall as well.

I don’t remember if the KISS members themselves said anything about acts they were championing, but KISS’s induction, much like Rush’s last year, points toward the popular pick being an inductee.  With KISS and Rush both inducted now, the attention of the classic rock devotees is actually pretty well-focused on getting Deep Purple inducted.  I think they may have even been name-dropped by Morello sometime after the ceremonies.  I don’t remember, and I don’t have the time to go re-wading through the marsh of the tweets from the event.  I think the same is true of Questlove mentioning Link Wray as well (hopefully to include the Ray-Men this time as well).  Maybe he said Dick Dale.  Don’t recall.  Unfortunately, what I do clearly remember is reading about Daryl Hall And John Oates bleeding their hearts for more Philadelphia acts.  “Unfortunately” because I see their pleas going unheeded.  So no Chubby Checker, Harold Melvin And The Blue Notes, Stylistics, etc.  It’s a shame, because it’s one of my favorite regional dialects of soul, but the Hall doesn’t give it too much love.  I’d be ecstatic if any of them appeared, especially Checker or Melvin & Co., but I’m just not holding out hope

While there were no direct pleas or ploys for Lou Reed, the passing of the legendary leader of the Velvet Underground could very easily be motivation to stick him on the ballot for 2015 as a soloist.  Lastly, while not directly dealing with the Hall itself, Daft Punk’s cleaning up at the past Grammy’s could help maintain the NomCom’s tenacity for Chic, while the televised specials celebrating the 50-year anniversary of the Beatles’ arrival in America, peaking with the onstage reunion of Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, may have served to remind the powers-that-be that the sweep isn’t complete in that area, even with the induction of Brian Epstein this year.

Nine names already amassed just from the special events earlier this year.  The ballot of recent tends to list around fifteen or sixteen names, so we’re already over halfway there, and we haven’t even looked at the newly eligible artists yet.  A recent article, which quoted the main man behind Future Rock Legends itself, stated that of the newly eligible crop, the only likely names we’ll see on the autumnal agenda are Green Day and Nine Inch Nails.  Green Day is a lock, but Nine Inch Nails isn’t quite as certain for immediate induction, though fairly certain for eventual honors.

Looking to corral a few more feasible names, we look once more to the newest inducted class.  Cat Stevens’ induction leaves the door fairly wide open for the bohemian singer/songwriter slot.  I’m torn between two big names on this one.  Playing it safe, I’ll go with the previously considered name Todd Rundgren.  Lastly, the returns of a couple more miss-outs from the past couple years seem probable as well, so let’s add the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Kraftwerk, and Yes.  That’s fifteen, and a good enough place to stop for now.  By September, some of these names will seem much more unlikely, while others will probably rise to prominence.  All I know is that if that this were the ballot, this would be extremely difficult to predict a class from.


  1. They need to give it a rest with the Chic nominations....

  2. I follow your blog often, and enjoy it, but haven't commented until now.

    I think you are pretty much on target-- the 2014 induction ceremony has telegraphed some directions that the Hall is going in. Just for fun, I tried to predict who would be on the ballot for 2015, and here's who I came up with, assuming 16 names on the ballot like last year:

    Green Day, Nine Inch Nails, Carole King, Kraftwerk, Chic, Lou Reed, Chicago, Bon Jovi, NWA, Sonic Youth, Joan Jett, Yes, Deep Purple, Roxy Music, The Stylistics, and Bill Withers. We agree on 10, at any rate. My guess is that H&O's induction opens a "popular band with lots of hits but critics hate them" spot Chicago could fill, Bon Jovi could be the headliner act KISS was meant to be in '14, and Carole King's great performance at the Grammys reminded us how great she was as an artist. Ultimately, I hope that the Hall will take up Darryl Hall's dare to induct more Philly acts. Since the Spinners, the band I ordinarily most associate with that sound, isn't actually from Philly, my guess is the Stylistics.

  3. I'd like to see Janet Jackson finally get a nomination.

    And what about Bjork?