The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced its inductees earlier this evening, and the results are actually quite exciting.
The artists inducted are Alice Cooper, Neil Diamond, Dr. John, Darlene Love and Tom Waits. Leon Russell is getting the Award for Musical Excellence (formerly known as the Sidemen category) while the Ahmet Ertegun Award will go to Jac Holzman (founder of Elektra Records) and Art Rupe (founder of Specialty Records, the label that gave us Little Richard and "Tutti Frutti").
Much of the press will go to Diamond finally receiving the credit he deserves as a rock artist, but this class - all consisting of solid performers from the 1960s and 1970s - is a bright one for fans of classic rock and roll. Let's hope these accolades get the major labels to honor those artists with some nice reissues or box sets. (Here is a good place to start!)
The induction ceremony will air live on Fuse from New York City's Waldorf-Astoria on March 14.
Eric Luecking says
Let's not forget that Sam Cooke got his pop start at Specialty. First 45 (Lovable/Forever) was under the name Dale Cook (no E), but then he realized he wasn't fooling anyone. He had a couple other 45s on Specialty, too.
And let's just say Art Rupe was none too happy when Sam signed elsewhere (Keen).
Best all-around class to be inducted since 1998 (or was it 1999?) when McCartney, Billy Joel, and Springsteen all went in together.
Leon Russell's being honored is long overdue, but he deserves FULL induction. Not just as a "sideman." That's selling him short for all the great songs he's written too. Mostly, I'm happy to see Neil Diamond finally get his due, plus Alice Cooper and Tom Waits are great choices too. I like Dr. John, but (again) I think Leon Russell's more deserving.
Still plenty of other greats that are still waiting... Stevie Ray Vaughan, Peter Gabriel, Joe Cocker, Chicago, and The Monkees all come to mind. I'm not a huge fan of KISS or Rush, but I think they probably belong in the hall too.
Matt Rowe says
Again, the Hall of Fame underscores its worthlessness by snubbing J Geils Band. Diamond is deserving, as is Alice Cooper (the Band, not the individual). But to push Love thru the gates before J Geils is absolutely criminal.
I love Rebennec, but he before J Geils is flat wrong.
This is why the HoF is a negligible afterthought. Sex Pistols had it right in their snub of the Hall.
I give up!
While I think Darlene Love might be worthy (not a household name by any stretch, but still a great singer) the main reason she got in was because Springsteen and Little Steven were lobbying for her.
In the case of Neil Diamond, I would hope that the Complete Stereo/Mono Bang Masters set gets resurrected and actually gets released. I would hope his induction would push this set into the realm of possibility since it would be highly ironic to be inducted and not have this material in stores and online shelves for fans to buy.
Chic should have made it in, come on, six nominations and still nothing???
RRHOF STILL does NOT have it right. Who, whomever makes the decisions of who is in and who is out, has a serious grudge against Leon Russell or a bias, cannot acknowledge the huge and world class ability as a songwriter and performer, preventing the obviously needed induction? Leon's music has touched so many people and fellow performers. It is time to finally get it right. Induct Leon Russell.
No Chic? No Laura Nyro? And I'll never get Tom Waits. Ever.
I thought Laura Nyro might've been inducted as a songwriter, which is where she was most influential... Not sure about that, but I thought she was.
Not getting the pleas for Chic here. Don't take that as a slam... I have nothing against people liking them. I just don't see them as "rock & roll," I guess (I have similar issues with hip-hop in the Hall, not to mention Madonna and ABBA). I'd argue they don't exactly have a long history of hits either. But everyone's got a different perspective on stuff like this.
As for Waits, he's certainly an acquired taste. But, not unlike Laura Nyro, his influence as a songwriter can't be denied. When artists like Springsteen, the Eagles, and Rod Stewart have covered your songs, you're doing something right.
As for his own performances, I highly recommend the album Rain Dogs and (if you can find it) catch his Austin City Limits performance from 1978 (or thereabouts). Classic.
I'm not a huge fan of the guy, but I like enough of his work that I can justify his inclusion.
I just checked... No Laura Nyro. Not sure who I was thinking of.
Mike Duquette says
Here's something else I wanted to bring to everyone else's attention regarding the inductions: Tom Waits' response: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/music_blog/2010/12/tom-waits-issues-statement-regarding-his-induction-into-the-rock-and-roll-hall-of-fame.html
Even though the class this year was generally decent, this statement shows why the whole thing, in the long run, is a tad ridiculous. He didn't care until he got in? Ridiculous, especially coming from a guy who refuses licensing his songs in ads. There's only so much ground one can cover in the credibility game.
Bill B says
Hmm, funny, I listen to several rock radio stations and the only one of these artists I ever hear is Alice Cooper. I guess you can qualify for the R&RHOF without actually qualifying to be played on a rock radio station. What's wrong with that picture.
Joe Marchese says
In fairness, it's the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and Darlene Love, via her work with Phil Spector, practically defined rock & roll; Diamond's early sides, too, fit that bill.
Once the R&RHOF opened its doors to artists such as Dusty Springfield, the Supremes, ABBA and Madonna, inducting more "pop" acts seemed inevitable. I'm all for not having a narrow definition of rock, but if we can all agree on anything, it seems to be that the current nominating/inducting process is flawed. How about some suggestions as to how to improve it? I'm generally pleased with this "class," but there's no doubt that there are many other worthy inductees, too. Some were on the current list, and others are ignored year after year, altogether. As I've enjoyed reading everyone's thoughts, both positive and negative, I'm curious what everyone else thinks might be a more equitable process to see favorite artists inducted.
(For the record, I think all such Halls of Fames and Best-Of lists are rather silly, seeing as they're just based on opinion. But the R&RHOF does do a great deal of good via its education programs, and the Museum is a fine, valuable place to visit.)
Bill B says
Joe, all I want is for the R&RHOF to be less subjective and more empirical. Album sales, concert attendance, longevity, number of albums, radio airplay, musicianship, etc, should all be factored in.
That doesn't mean that there can't be artists inducted based strictly on subjective "artistic" merit but not at the exclusion of bands that actually sold albums and filled arenas. Rush, Judas Priest, Yes, Iron Maiden, Kiss, to name a few may not be embraced by the so called experts but they resonated with the people. They have also had long careers, put out many albums and sold out many concerts. That should count for something.
In sports a guy makes it into the HOF by putting up spectacular numbers that make them stand out from the rest. The R&RHOF needs to incorporate some form of that into their process. The bands inducted should be a reflection of the fans that made R&R a cultural institution.
I disagree with the inclusion of pop acts. If rock oritented radio stations wouldn't dream of putting a song in their playlist then they aren't rock and roll.
There are plenty of true rock acts that should be in there. If pop acts want a HOF they should build their own and cater to their own fans.