For Once, the 2013 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Got It Right

Categories: Miles-tones

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Despite being sick and hacking up more different colors of phlegm than there are Power Rangers, I needed to certify that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame wasn't completely mad for its incoming inductees.

Rewind:

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Set To Induct Rush, Heart, Donna Summer, and Public Enemy


Yes, it's been accused of being somewhat sexist -- only 17 percent of the artists in the RRHOF are female -- and out of touch by finally inducting deserving acts who have been eligible for years, but that's comparable to other Halls of Fame that get it wrong almost every year. You don't get every choice spot on their first go-round, you just hope your choices all mean something to somebody.

Tuesday, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced its 2013 class -- a mixture of '70s and '80s prog-rock, revolutionary hip-hop and one late disco queen. It also brought in Randy Newman, so that every cynical Disney fan who happens to love short people and Los Angeles could rejoice as well.

Nobody knew for certain what would occur with both Public Enemy and N.W.A on the ballot for the very first time. A split vote, or a vociferous and bemoaned chant from those who believed that the Hall should make space for both rap acts in the same year it had to give space to Donna Summer, Rush, Heart and Quincy Jones?

For once, the Hall got it right.

Yes, N.W.A were the rebels from the West Coast who broke new ground in reporting what was going on in South Central Los Angeles, long before pop culture rolled in and made a caricature of it all. But before Public Enemy, there were only glimpses of social commentary on rap records -- not all-out black nationalism, assaults on Sen. John McCain, and then some.

Fine, there won't be a moment where we see both Ice Cube's jheri curl and Flavor Flav's clock check in at the same location on Foursquare when the official ceremony takes place next April, but much like the Cubs of baseball, there's always next year.

It's still somewhat bittersweet to see someone like Summers honored almost a year after her passing, or long-dead bluesman Albert King, but that's how a Hall of Fame works. Every year, there are snubs, and some people get in whom some other people may feel are undeserving.

All you want is for your Hall of Fames, whether they be sports- or music-related, is that their nominees match your idea of a deserving candidate.

Still, the RRHOF's selections aren't debated with much hostility as the Grammys' are.



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4 comments
WhiteLightning
WhiteLightning

It's all just pandering, calculating bullshit until they induct Doug Sahm. Yeah, I know, you probably don't know who that is. Let the dumbing down continue...

gdsmithtx
gdsmithtx

Trouble with that is that this is the ROCK AND ROLL Hall of Fame, not the Hip Hop, R&B and Soul Music Hall of Fame. 

NWA and Public Enemy were fierce pioneering acts in their own genre, but that genre was not rock and roll.  Donna Summer was a wonderful pop/soul singer, but she didn't sing rock and roll. Albert King was perfectly appropriate (and long overlooked), because the blues was the direct ancestor of rock.  

I went through the list of inductees, and I have no problem with anyone in there up to 1988's induction of The Supremes. They were a wonderful group with a lit of great songs, but they were not rock by any stretch of the imagination, and they had no significant influence on rock. After that, there seems to be an influx of soul music artists that, while paragons of their own genre, were not rock and roll. From the list of performer inductees, I can identify 25 that, in my opinion, aren't rock and don't belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

bjcaldwell2
bjcaldwell2

@gdsmithtx by that stretch, Michael Jackson up to artists like The Beastie Boys (who originated as a punk band but grew far more as a rap group) shouldn't be involved. I think the identity of the RRHOF has changed over the years to include plenty of people who've made significant contributions regardless of genre. It's grown from just being about one genre to almost all of them.

gdsmithtx
gdsmithtx

@bjcaldwell2 @gdsmithtx   Michael Jackson had quite a number of songs that could be considered rock without a stretch of the imagination ("Beat It", "Dirty Diana", "Morphine", "Give in to Me" etc), as did the Beastie Boys ("Rhymin' & Stealin'", "So What'cha Want", "Sabotage", "Fight for your Right" etc).

If it's a all-genre institution, it should be renamed to the Popular Music Hall of Fame.

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