Thursday, May 7, 2015

Mid-season 2015

Falling behind more and more, but this is just a quick little mid-season check.

Honestly, I think they should just take the remnants of this ballot, and call it a nine-act ballot, and let's induct at least another six.  You'd get a solid class out of that, even if Sting was one of those six.  I don't like Kraftwerk, or Nine Inch Nails, and not a huge fan of N.W.A., but they all deserve induction.  Chic is a dead weight that we need to jettison, and induction's the only way that's gonna happen.  And I both like and believe in the merits of the Marvelettes, the Spinners, the Smiths, and War,  Any six of those nine, and you've got another decent class.

Regardless, that doesn't mean any of them are going to make the ballot later this year.  It's a pretty good guess that both N.W.A. and Chic will be back.  I'm gonna stretch a hair and say that both Kraftwerk and the Marvelettes will return as well.

The upcoming crop of newly eligible acts has some people clamoring, but I really don't know if any of them will appear.  Everyone is calling Alice In Chains and Smashing Pumpkins locks to be nominated.  I'm not sold on either one.  And if Janet and Whitney are still not in, then Mariah Carey's not gonna be nominated anytime soon either.  So all that, in my opinion, gives Nine Inch Nails another nod, and I doubt they miss twice.

The Death Fairy's been busy recently, and while Joe Cocker is a favorite among fellow Monitors and some members of the powers-that-be, I think he'll get passed by.  Lesley Gore is certainly high profile, but my faith in her ever getting the induction she deserves has diminished.  Still, I think a recent, high profile death will yield a nominee, and at present, it looks to be Ben E. King.  The Hall enjoys adding members to the Clyde McPhatter Club, and Ben E. would be a great addition, even if he hasn't been nominated in almost 30 years.

Six names picked and they're all repeats.  Any new names?  Yes, I think the NomCom will repeat the habit of scrapping an '80s alternative act when they fail to get in and replacing it with another one.  This time around, instead of the Smiths, we'll probably get Sonic Youth.  Also, Despite not being on the ballot last year, I'm still going by ?uestlove Gomez's shirts and say at some point we will see the Average White Band nominated.  And on the rap front, we may see Toure sneak a second act on the ballot, possibly De La Soul.  With Stevie Ray Vaughan And Double Trouble inducted at last, and with the queue cleared by getting the Paul Butterfield Blues Band in, the blues and blues-rock field is wide open.  Pretty good chances that Johnny Winter is next in line there.  With David Letterman retiring soon, he made his plea, particularly to bandleader Paul Shaffer, to try and get Warren Zevon into the Hall at last, so maybe his request will be honored.  There is certainly no shortage of people who agree with David on that one.  And while the Marvelettes and also Chic represent the female gender, perhaps they'll try to add another member of the feminine persuasion to the ballot.  Perhaps with Joan Jett in, it's time for Pat Benatar to get her due.

Let's throw three more repeats in to top it off.  Deep Purple, Yes, and the J. Geils Band to all return, to placate the classic rock crowd.

Off the top, off the cuff.  Something to do while waiting for the ceremonies to air.


  1. Hi Phil....I always like reading your thoughts on the Rock Hall. We actually agree on 8 or 9 of our 2015 ballot predictions as they currently stand- If I had to predict them now, I'd pick: NIN, NWA, Kate Bush, Peter Paul & Mary, The Meters, Chic, Deep Purple, Yes, Ben E. King, Smashing Pumpkins, Warren Zevon, the J. Geils Band, Willie Nelson, and Janet Jackson. (For that 15th spot, I'm still trying to choose between Sonic Youth and The Cure). But I won't post my official predictions until August, and any number of factors can change between then and now.

    Alternatively, let me piggyback off your idea and suggest a combo of the artists who didn't win the last two ballots (I like the 2013 ballot for the Class of '14 as much as you like the 2014 ballot for the Class of '15!). This leaves us with:

    1. Nine Inch Nails
    2. Sting
    3. The Marvelettes
    4. Chic
    5. War
    6. Deep Purple
    7. Yes
    8. Kraftwerk
    9. NWA
    10. LL Cool J
    11. Link Wray
    12. The Zombies
    13. The Meters
    14. The Replacements
    15. The Smiths

    The problem, of course, is that this is a very male-heavy ballot. But ideally, the strongest class from this list might include The Zombies, Kraftwerk, Chic, Deep Purple, NWA, and The Smiths: all deserving, and a little something for everyone.

  2. I was thinking more of Stevie Nicks as the female representative for next year, since a lot of people have talked about her recently.

  3. Stevie is already in with Fleetwood Mac so there's no sense of urgency to induct her as a solo artist yet.

    Worthy female artists in my opinion: Janet Jackson, Pat Benatar, Bjork, Kate Bush, Carly Simon.

  4. As far as the newly eligibles, I tend to agree with you. AiC won't be a first ballot nominee and will likely have a bit of a wait. Smashing Pumpkins are a question mark. I think that at one point Billy Corgan was poised as a first ballot contender, but career inconsistency could hinder that. SP is hard to predict. (Of course, I also predicted that NIN would be "too metal" for a first ballot nom, so who knows.) -DarinRG

  5. I don't believe any newly eligibles will be nominated. I find it really bizarre if there is a consensus that Alice in Chains will be. If any grunge band makes it, it will be Soundgarden, who were more critically acclaimed, more innovative, more popular, more iconic, and more friends with the powers that be. Perhaps AiC was more influential as I'm struggling to think of bands who were primarily influenced by Soundgarden (whose primary influence wasn't Zeppelin or Sabbath) while AiC was the primary inspiration for a number of alt-metal/nu-metal bands (although even there Faith No More and RHCP and Rage Against the Machine were probably more influential). They're too minor to be a first-ballot but are extremely popular on futurerocklegends (as most of the alternative from the first half of the '90s is) which overstates their importance. Their 2009 album and single made the essentials list? Really? Well, the problem there is that it goes to the present day so releases that won't be that iconic such as "Black Turns Into Blue" and the last two Foo Fighters are being immortalized simply because they're recent releases by famous modern bands who don't suck but aren't at their peak. I'm sure if something like this were done in 1993 Soul Asylum would be seen as being on the Rock Hall track and "Grave Dancers Union" would have been a first ballot album, but it isn't in though it might have a better case than those because it has been judged as not iconic enough. At least that was trendy at the time rather than an an album by a band that was trendy fifteen years earlier. I like AiC and think they're future Hall of Famers (and I think "Jar of Flies" is beautiful) but they aren't close to the first ballots in importance and sometimes it seems that bands like AiC and STP are the RHM equivalent of Rush and Kiss to the classic rock fans and they'll have similar waits. Not to mention that both of the latter are more iconic than both of the former, even if I do think AiC > KISS. They were the most metal of the grunge acts and more influential than acclaimed (and I think critical slobbering matters more than actual influence to the Hall, which is another reason I think SRV and prog rock took so long because other musicians loved them more than the actual critics did...sure most of the acts critics love are influential, and most of the influential acts are beloved by critics, but there are weird things when you look at the rankings like Bon Jovi, Britney Spears, and Frankie Goes to Hollywood being above Judas Priest, AIC, and SRV, but I think that does explain why Bon Jovi got a nomination so fast...because they are actually more popular with critics than influential I think).

  6. Smashing Pumpkins is the most likely but people only really care about two of their albums now (Siamese Dream/Mellon Collie) so I don't know why anyone would really take them over contemporaries like Oasis or Weezer (where most people say the first two albums were great and everything else was garbage), and I doubt most people think those two are first ballot. Smashing Pumpkins were more iconic than Oasis and Weezer at their peak, but I don't think they were any more influential than those two (and Oasis was certainly more influential). Not to mention that I highly doubt Billy Corgan's music would be to the NomCom's taste. Okay neither was Trent Reznor's probably, but he remained more relevant for a much longer time.

    Blur might surprise since they remained relevant and since Damon Albarn eventually broke through in the US so the band isn't really considered a brief fad of the '90s as much.

    Black Crowes probably push the buttons of the veteran roots-rocky working class fans more than any of the other choices and although it wouldn't be popular, I almost think they'd be the most likely first ballot.

    Blur is probably most important but among the Americans as scandalous as this may sound I actually think Mariah Carey has a strong case for being the most deserving because her enduring popularity and influence may trump that of the second-tier mainstream alt rockers who were maybe a bit more innovative, but in the grand scheme of things, maybe not all that much. She'll have a long wait because dance-pop is not well-respected except for Michael Jackson, Prince, and Madonna. I don't think Alice in Chains or Smashing Pumpkins were huge innovators of anything really, the Pumpkins influenced few (unlike the real first-ballots like Nirvana, Green Day, and eventually Pearl Jam and Radiohead, who influenced many), and I'm not sure either are standouts in critical acclaim now, even if the Pumpkins were at the time.

    My prediction: zero first-ballot nominations this time.

  7. I wish they'd give it a rest with Chic for a year. Jeez.

    Mariah Carey is a interesting candidate. I imagine she'll eventually get in but I don't think she'll get a nomination this time around. There are plenty of other female artists already eligible who should get in first.

    The rap nominee will be very interesting. There's that N.W.A. movie/biopic coming out so it wouldn't be shocking to see them appear again. Then there's LL Cool J and Eric B & Rakim who have each been nominated previously. De La Soul is also worthy. Call me crazy, but A Tribe Called Quest could potentially eek out a nomination.

  8. Is this the year that Janet Jackson will finally get her nomination?