The “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” is such a joke, it’s hardly even worth talking about anymore. But they released their list of 2021 nominees yesterday, and it contains the usual mix of deserving, on the fence, much too recent, and not even rock at all. They are: (deserving) Carole King, Devo, The Go-Go's, Iron Maiden, Todd Rundgren, (on the fence) Tina Turner, Kate Bush, New York Dolls, (too recent) Foo Fighters, Rage Against the Machine, and (not rock at all) Mary J. Blige, Chaka Khan, Fela Kuti, LL Cool J, Dionne Warwick and Jay-Z.
Who is picking these nominees? I love Dionne Warwick, but if she belongs in the “Rock Hall of Fame,” why not Perry Como and Englebert Humperdinck? And I’m sorry, but rap is not rock. There’s a popular false claim on the Internet, where ignoramuses are given the same megaphone as people who know what they’re talking about, that saying rap isn’t rock means you’re racist. No, it means you’re capable of discerning one musical genre from another. It’s no more racist than saying James Brown, for all his greatness, doesn’t belong in the Bluegrass Hall of Fame, or that Beethoven is not be-bop.
Meanwhile, to prove the laughable uselessness of the “Rock and Roll” “Hall of Fame, here are just a few of the performers who are still not in it, many of whom have never even been nominated. Prepare for your jaw to hit the floor:
Ted Nugent; Dick Dale; Herman’s Hermits; Blue Oyster Cult; The Guess Who; King Crimson; Thin Lizzy; Robin Trower; Emerson Lake & Palmer; Paul Revere and the Raiders; Styx; Eurthymics; Tommy James and the Shondells; Boston; Steppenwolf (creators of the ultimate rock anthem, “Born to Be Wild”); Judas Priest; America; The Grass Roots; Jan and Dean; Motorhead; Neil Sedaka; Badfinger; the MC5; Grand Funk Railroad; Slade; Joe Walsh; Three Dog Night; Warren Zevon; Link Wray; Meat Loaf; Blood, Sweat and Tears; Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers; J. Geils Band; Bad Company; neither Johnny nor Edgar Winter; Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels; Peter Frampton, Johnny Burnette; Ten Years After; Pat Benatar; Johnny Rivers; The B-52s; The Jam (even though Green Day, who stole their entire act from the Jam, are in it); and three of my favorite bands, Mott the Hoople, the Monkees, and (I think the most outrageous snub of all time) Jethro Tull.
That’s right: Tupac Shakur, Linda Ronstadt, NWA, Public Enemy and ABBA are all in the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” but Jethro Tull – one of the greatest, most innovative bands in rock history, with a career stretching over 50 years and more than 20 albums, including classics such as “Stand Up,” “Benefit,” “Aqualung,” “Thick As A Brick,” “War Child” and “Songs From The Wood;” and whose leader Ian Anderson continues to make brilliant solo albums like “The Secret Language of Birds” – is not. But they think Jay-Z deserves to go into the “Rock” Hall of Fame ahead of Jethro Tulll? Morons.
Then again, what can you say about an institution that supposedly honors rock music yet took 30 years to induct Deep Purple, when half the actual rock guitarists in the place learned to play by copying the riff from “Smoke on the Water?” By that time, they’d already inducted Madonna, Run-DMC, Whitney Houston and the Beastie Boys. What has their induction committee been smoking?