2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominees

Filed in Arts and Entertainment, National by on October 28, 2016

And now for something completely different!

The powers that be released their list of nominees to the Hall of Fame for 2017. So that is time for us to get our music snobbery on and dissect this (mostly uninspiring) list. The nominees:

Bad Brains
Chaka Khan
Depeche Mode
The J. Geils Band
Jane’s Addiction
Janet Jackson
Joan Baez
Joe Tex
Pearl Jam
The Cars
The Zombies
Tupac Shakur

The Hall changed its nominating process this year, to specify what band lineup gets in if inducted:

In a change of tradition, the Hall of Fame has announced the individual members of each band that will be honored. Pearl Jam have had five drummers, but only current drummer Matt Cameron and founding member Dave Krusen will be inducted should they make it in. Electric Light Orchestra has had many musicians come and go over the years, but just Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood, Bev Bevan and Richard Tandy made the cut. The classic Steve Perry lineup of Journey is listed along with founding keyboardist/singer Gregg Rolie. As far as Yes, original singer Jon Anderson is on the ballot along with drummers Bill Bruford and Alan White, keyboardists Tony Kaye and Rick Wakeman, guitarists Steve Howe and Trevor Rabin and bassist Chris Squire. Keyboardist Vince Clarke left Depeche Mode after their first album Speak & Spell, but he is listed along with the rest of the band.

So if any of these bands get inducted, the reunions could be fun.

For me, starting with the What Are They Thinking category — J. Geils Band, Jane’s Addition, Janet Jackson, Journey, Steppenwolf, The Cars. Not that there is anything really wrong with these bands (except Journey, seriously) — I’ve listened to most of them and they’ve been fun pop or rock bands to help pass the time, but Hall of Fame worthy? Sheesh. There’s alot of brilliant bands out there that haven’t had a shot at this. I’d prefer that we stick to some quality picks and leave the run of the mill top 40 alone.

Brilliant, but No Way Category — Bad Brains. Mind you, I think that they SHOULD be in the Hall (these guys are still touring too!), but something tells me that the folks who voted this shortlist were patting themselves on the back.

It’s Well Past Time Category — Chic, Joan Baez (I was surprised to find she wasn’t in), Joe Tex, Kraftwerk, MC5, The Zombies

A Stone Lock — Tupac, Pearl Jam, Chaka Khan. I love Chaka Kahn, but there are other female singers that belong here. Still.

Not sure what to do with ELO. I LLKE ELO (mostly). Early ELO was well-done music, the Travelling Wilburys was pretty good and he’s been an active producer. And ELO has been touring to some pretty good reviews. There’s alot to like here, but I balance that pick against what could have been. I mean, where’s The Smiths? The Meters? Joy Division? King Crimson?

Lots of ink gets spilled about these picks every year. Here are a few entertaining ones:

In Defense of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame — basically an argument that what we all argue over is who is left out of a fairly mainstream institution.

Conjuring the real inside story on Rock Hall voting: Mike Polk Jr.
— an imagination of the thinking of the HoF nominators.

The 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominees Are a Disgrace to Music
— an excellent assessment of those who were nominated with the usual They Shoulda Nominated. Great read.

The only way to fix the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is to keep making fun of it
— includes a case for why this list isn’t as bad as usual.

So what say you? Who do you think will make the final 5? What’s crap on this list?

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Comments (14)

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  1. Jason330 says:

    Journey?!?!? A clear case of political correctness run amock! What next, Huey Lewis and the News?

  2. ex-anonymous says:

    good post, cassandra. i think yes and the zombies should definitely be in. i could make a case for chic and kraftwerk. the cars and pearl jam will get there but i’m not a huge fan. smiths before any of them.

  3. cassandra_m says:

    I’m banning this ^^^^ guy.

  4. cassandra_m says:

    I was talking to friends about this last night and one had the theory that Morrisey was the reason why The Smiths are not in. No one wants to deal with whatever his issues are for a broadcast.

  5. anonymous says:

    I take the opposite approach, Cassandra. How can you keep out the Cars if you let in Blondie? Basically the same act except Blondie had a blonde and the Cars have a far taller stack of hits.

    Myself, I’m tired of them pissing on Yes. Everyone in that band had chops that most of these acts couldn’t match, but Jon Anderson’s fey vocals and space cadet lyrics keep them out.

    If the Hall can stand Geddy Lee — I certainly can’t — Jon Anderson shouldn’t be a permanent stumbling block. And besides, the band’s chief asshole, bassist Chris Squire, is dead now, so they’re safe to book.

    I can understand not wanting to deal with Morrissey. But the Hall is dreadful when it comes to British acts — or really, any acts from anywhere other than the coasts, Chicago and New Orleans (with Memphis in the middle).

  6. BornBandCreature says:

    Great post. Not at overwhelming group this year. My votes would be for MC5, Pearl Jam, Zombies, Yes, and Baez. Others on the list (esp. Kraftwerk, Depeche and Chaka) may make it eventually.

  7. cassandra_m says:

    I don’t think The Cars and Blondie are the same act. Blondie was pretty central to the NY pop/rock/punk music scene, although nowhere near its best product. They were expert about taking up and incorporating various forms of music so their sound was more ranging. My theory about Blondie being in the hall is more about who their Downtown friends are, rather than their music.

  8. puck says:

    Agree with Born on MC5, Pearl Jam, Zombies, Yes, and Baez. But the Hall is a commercial venture so I think Journey is a lock.

    I like Jon Anderson’s vocals with Yes and never heard it was a detriment. I’ll take Jon Anderson’s fey vocals over Eddie Vedder’s dull monotone. I always thought of the Yes vocal track as just another instrument like some kind of synth. I know it’s word salad, but the words are written primarily to sound good in Anderson’s voice, not to work as poetry. The vocals contribute to the atmospherics. And even in the word salad there are still a few phrases that are total earworms. Can you imagine Yes with a gruff whiskey-and-smokes rock voice?

  9. puck says:

    I wasn’t a Cars fan in the ’80s – thought they were too pop – but I’ve mellowed and now I appreciate a well-written pop song. I think Cars are also a lock for the Hall on their commercial success but maybe not this year.

  10. cassandra_m says:

    I just noticed that I didn’t include Yes in my post. Agree with everyone that they should be in. Didn’t realize that Anderson’s voice might be the hold back. Unusual voices are supposed to be the point of rock, I thought. That said, they largely lost me after Tormato (altho some of 90125 was interesting, but I think Old Yes was the most interesting). Still, it looks like the Hall isn’t much interested in the prog rock era.

  11. anonymous says:

    One time in the early ’90s I was in the press box at the Spectrum to cover a concert, I forget the band. My wife sat next to a middle-aged English gentleman and spent a good bit of time talking with him. After the show I asked her who it was. She said, “It’s Jon something — Anderson, I think. He’s in a band.” It was indeed Jon Anderson, who apparently was unfazed by the fact that she had no idea who he was.

  12. puck says:

    From looking at the band today it is hard to understand just how big Yes was in the 70s.

  13. BornBandCreature says:

    Puck’s comment about Anderson’s voice as an instrumet in Yes– brilliant.