Who Should Join Rock Hall of Fame in 2014?

Rolling Stone has a reader poll on what bands should be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014. The list of nominees has yet to be released, but after Rush finally got inducted this year a lot of people, me included, are hoping that some other long-overlooked acts will get put in. Here’s the top 10 from Rolling Stone readers:

10. Nirvana. It’s their first year eligible because their first album, Bleach, came out in 1989. I would think this is a first-ballot inductee.

9. Chicago. Huge in the 70s, non-existent after that. They’ve been eligible almost 20 years but never even got a nomination.

8. Gram Parsons. An original member of The Byrds, he wasn’t included in their induction into the hall. Honestly, don’t much much about him.

7. Warren Zevon. Yes. Yes, yes, yes. One of the all-time great songwriters.

6. Cheap Trick. Also a rather obvious yes. Should have been in years ago.

5. The Moody Blues. I hate this band with a passion. Still, they should probably be inducted.

4. Yes. And hell yes. Should have been in a long time ago. And if they invite everyone who’s played in the band at one time or another, they might need a bigger arena.

3. KISS. Again, not a band I like at all. But how the hell are they not in the hall of fame? You can’t tell the story of rock and roll without them.

2. The Smiths. Meh.

1. Deep Purple. Probably the single most obvious “how the hell are they not in the hall of fame” band. Should have been in 20 years ago, even if Ritchie Blackmore refuses to show up.

A few of my own that I’d add to the list: Pat Benatar, for crying out loud. Only the greatest female rock singer of all time, what’s taking so long? And Joan Jett. And now that Black Sabbath and Metallica got in, it’s time to start putting the great heavy metal bands in, starting with Iron Maiden and Judas Priest (and Motorhead too). And finally, Stevie Ray Vaughan. Please.

33 comments on this post.
  1. Brett McCoy:

    Deep Purple and Yes, absolutely.

  2. Michael Heath:

    Gram Parsons because of the influence he had on both his contemporaries and young musicians.

    I’d also vote for SRV, Pat Benatar,and Deep Purple. Fun experiment: listen to SRV’s version of Voodoo Chile and then Jimi Hendrix’s. Repeat several times, it’s fascinating to hear the similarities and differences.

    I do appreciate why others are passionate about some groups noted here that I left out, these are merely my picks.

    I have Nirvana’s big album, Nevermind and like it. But before I’d support Nirvana, I’d have to better understand their role in grunge relative to other grunge artists. I listen to Soundgarden far more back then and now where I think their body of work is far superior and stands the test of time much better; though I still like occasionally hearing some of Nirvana’s music.

    I’m not sure why the music business is so slavish in their devotion to Nirvana. I don’t think they’ve changed the paradigm so much as they were a pop phenomena, in spite of the music biz’s arguments to the contrary. A band treated similarly to Nirvana was Guns ‘n Roses, whose music hasn’t stood the test of time at all IMO. So at least Nirvana’s got that going for them.

    I had most of Pat Benatar’s music on LPs, where about a year ago I bought a bunch of her music on iTunes. The production in general sounds dated by being too overwrought and over-engineered. So I’m not listening as much as I anticipated. That’s too bad because she’s an awesome singer where I’ve also always liked her husband’s lead guitar playing. I think her first album remains her best one; in spite of the title being such a cliche (In the Heat of the Night). I don’t think that album sounds out-dated, its mostly the stuff she did after she became hot; similar to what happened to J. Geil’s sound after Love Stinks.

    J. Geil’s would be my #1 most currently overlooked band deserving of induction, their older stuff only gets better with age.

    And let’s not forget Pat Benatar’s cultural influence in terms of women’s fashion. I for one was very thankful for her making it popular for young ladies in the 1980s to wear tight pants and short leather jackets rather than long sweatshirts over cotton gym pants. I also observed her popularity helping to improve the self-esteem of petite young ladies. Perhaps the best place to see females I suspect were Pat Benatar fans, since they mimic’d Benatars’ look, was at a Detroit Red Wings’ home hockey game.

  3. Avo, also nigelTheBold:

    Gram Parsons is known more for his influence on other musicians than his music. His best-known song is “Love Hurts,” but only as the Nazareth cover. Next would be “Hickory Wind,” the Byrds’ most famous song.

    Really, though, it’s his influence on other singer/songwriters that’s most important. He influenced Townes Van Zandt, Willie Nelson, Counting Crows, Steve Earle (well, the whole outlaw country scene, really), and a whole slew of others.

    Here’s Evan Dando covering $1000 Wedding, one of my favorite renditions of this song.

    Yeah. I’m a fan. Which does stand for fanatic. So there.

  4. Michael Heath:

    Avo writes:

    Really, though, it’s his influence on other singer/songwriters that’s most important. He influenced Townes Van Zandt, Willie Nelson, Counting Crows, Steve Earle (well, the whole outlaw country scene, really), and a whole slew of others.

    Tom Petty, Poco, Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, The Eagles, Lucinda Williams, and Keith Richards to name a few others.

  5. grumpyoldfart:

    Johnny Strickland – She’s Mine (1958)

  6. Seth:

    I don’t think it’s time yet, but I definitely vote for Rammstein. They’re definitely the best industrial band in the world, probably ever, and their catalogue is incredibly varied (especially if you know anything about the German folk tales on which many of their songs are based). And their stage production is consistently the best in the business. Hell, they created an entire style of German metal that’s now filled with decent bands, none of which would exist without Rammstein. Not many members of the RRHF could claim that particular mantle. (Maybe–MAYBE–Metallica.)

    It’ll never happen, because they’re not British or North American, but inducting Rammstein into the RRHF would be an exclamation point on an awesome and history-making career that’s turned millions of people into rock and roll fans.

  7. magistramarla:

    OK, this is a mushy reason, but I’m glad to see Chicago in this list.
    Our wedding song was “Color My World”, as I’m sure it was for many other couples who married in the ’70s
    I have their Greatest Hits CD and I’ll often listen to it while working around the house.
    There are several songs on there that were very much a part of the culture in that decade.

  8. wildbill:

    I feel like over the last few years they have been inducting some lesser qualified talent because all of the most obvious talent is already in and that they must feel like they have to induct somebody. At what point do you draw the line? The rules seem squishy enough to let almost anyone in.

    Everyone has their own favorites that they believe should be included (I think Roxy Music is a glaring omission), but do they really belong? That is why we are now getting groups like Rush, Heart going in (sorry folks, but just because some people think “they’re great” doesn’t cut it, why should they be in there).

    From the list above I could understand if Nirvana, Gram Parsons, or Deep Purple got in. I like Cheap Trick (the first 4 albums) and the Smiths, but I’m not so sure that they really deserve it. KISS I said no, but the longer I think about it, I’m not so sure. Chicago, Yes (and I used to like them), the moody blues, no. Longevity by itself is not a reason to get in.

  9. imnotandrei:

    There is much argument in matters of taste. ;)

    2. The Smiths. Meh.

    At one point in time they were the most polarizing act in rock music; you had to either love them or hate them. To me, that screams “Hall of Fame”. ; )

    it’s time to start putting the great heavy metal bands in, starting with Iron Maiden and Judas Priest (and Motorhead too).

    I admit it — I cannot put a band in until the band their leader was a roadie for gets in, and it’s going to be a *long* wait for Hawkwind. ;)

    @2 Michael Heath:
    I listen to Soundgarden far more back then and now where I think their body of work is far superior and stands the test of time much better; though I still like occasionally hearing some of Nirvana’s music.

    I think, again, there’s a certain amount of Hall of *Fame* question here; if it was “Hall of Musicianship”, it would be a much different list.

    I have heard it said many times that there have been a few songs/albums/moments in rock history where you could almost feel the change in the air — Elvis on TV, Sgt. Pepper’s, “God Save The Queen”, and “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. When you’re in that category, you’re a first-ballot Hall of Famer, IMHO.

    I guess what it boils down to is what makes it a Hall of Fame — I’m used to these arguments in sports, where you can argue stats, or championships, or somesuch. Here it’s a bit more…nebulous? ;)

  10. imnotandrei:

    (My apologies if this is a duplicate — the first time I tried to post I got a guru meditation response.)

    There is much argument in matters of taste. ;)

    2. The Smiths. Meh.

    At one point in time they were the most polarizing act in rock music; you had to either love them or hate them. To me, that screams “Hall of Fame”. ; )

    it’s time to start putting the great heavy metal bands in, starting with Iron Maiden and Judas Priest (and Motorhead too).

    I admit it — I cannot put a band in until the band their leader was a roadie for gets in, and it’s going to be a *long* wait for Hawkwind. ;)

    @2 Michael Heath:
    I listen to Soundgarden far more back then and now where I think their body of work is far superior and stands the test of time much better; though I still like occasionally hearing some of Nirvana’s music.

    I think, again, there’s a certain amount of Hall of *Fame* question here; if it was “Hall of Musicianship”, it would be a much different list.

    I have heard it said many times that there have been a few songs/albums/moments in rock history where you could almost feel the change in the air — Elvis on TV, Sgt. Pepper’s, “God Save The Queen”, and “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. When you’re in that category, you’re a first-ballot Hall of Famer, IMHO.

    I guess what it boils down to is what makes it a Hall of Fame — I’m used to these arguments in sports, where you can argue stats, or championships, or somesuch. Here it’s a bit more…nebulous? ;)

  11. Michael Heath:

    wildbill writes:

    Heart going in (sorry folks, but just because some people think “they’re great” doesn’t cut it, why should they be in there).

    What other criteria is there besides people think they’re great?!? I’m one of the many who thinks they’re great.

  12. boadinum:

    There are many worthy suggestions here, and I’d agree with almost all of them.

    I don’t understand why Dire Straits wasn’t inducted years ago.

  13. karmacat:

    Why do they limit the number of musicians that can be inducted per year?

  14. drl2:

    I think you’re a little off on Chicago – the early to mid 80s were huge for them, at least in terms of commercial success. I’m pretty sure Chicago 17 was their biggest selling album by far (and Wikipedia agrees). Now whether that decade was good for them in terms of the music they produced is a separate argument…

  15. Leon:

    I feel like over the last few years they have been inducting some lesser qualified talent because all of the most obvious talent is already in and that they must feel like they have to induct somebody. At what point do you draw the line? The rules seem squishy enough to let almost anyone in.

    I don’t think talent is much of a consideration at all. If it were, you’d hear of people like, say, Annette Peacock, Gentle Giant, or David Torn being inducted. Or others. But that won’t happen.

    Everyone has their own favorites that they believe should be included (I think Roxy Music is a glaring omission), but do they really belong? That is why we are now getting groups like Rush, Heart going in (sorry folks, but just because some people think “they’re great” doesn’t cut it, why should they be in there).

    Here I’m going to point put that Ann Wilson is one of the finest rock singers you’re ever going to hear.

  16. ricko:

    The Smiths.

    That is all.

  17. jakc:

    I was going to vote for closing the HOF but they’re considering Zevon? Makes it another story altogether though if Zevon had accepted Stephen Stills offer to join Buffalo Springfield, he’d already be in. Accept with his luck, BS wouldn’t have been inducted.

  18. tacitus:

    Why do they limit the number of musicians that can be inducted per year?

    Cynical reason (but probably true) — it encourages public debates like the one on this thread. The whole idea of a “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” is just one big marketing ploy anyway. Just like all the others.

  19. tuibguy:

    Funny. I can’t stand Yes, and The Moody Blues were one of my growing up with bands (cause of my older siblings, mostly.)

    I don’t actually get “Halls of Fame.” Music is a matter of taste, after all, and if some writers and voters put in who they think are great then the list of who are in there isn’t going to match who I think should be there. I know for damn sure that some bands whose music are great are never going to be in there.

    Is the Guess Who going to be in there? Probably never, but they should be. And does it really matter?

  20. dan4:

    Past “hugeness” or not, Chicago isn’t a rock and roll band.

  21. robnyny:

    I always liked the Archies.

  22. Michael Heath:

    tuibguy writes:

    Is the Guess Who going to be in there?

    If they’re not then on my list, I’ll demote The J. Geils Band to the number #2 band most worthy of induction, after The Guess Who.

  23. martinc:

    Seth @ 6:

    … Rammstein …

    You’ve missed the point. It’s a Hall of Fame, not a Hall of Good.

  24. mikeym:

    I can’t believe Johnny Rivers has never been inducted.

  25. Rip Steakface:

    Past “hugeness” or not, Chicago isn’t a rock and roll band.

    And Public Enemy is? Working with Aerosmith and Anthrax barely counts, Aerosmith has worked with friggin’ Eminem and no one says Eminem has anything to do with rock.

  26. democommie:

    I was listening to some Pat Benatar tune on the FM one day, years ago; shortly after that the same station played something by Whitney Houston. I realized that Benatar and Houston had the same 4 octave range.

    Warren Zevon, whether he goes in or not is always going to be one of my favorites. Since reading, “The Life and Dirty Times of Warren Zevon” and finding out that he was the music director for the Everly Brothers back in the late 60′s

    “Past “hugeness” or not, Chicago isn’t a rock and roll band.”

    As compared to “Yes”, “Moody Blues” and a shitton of other bands that didn’t play derivatives of Buddy Holly’s or Bill Haley’s tunes?

    You wanna talk about music that ain’t what it says it is? Think Contemporary Country.

  27. democommie:

    Warren also said, in an interview, that Phil and Don wrote “Werewolves of London”. Go figure.

  28. Wes:

    Heavy Metal has been unfairly neglected by the Hall of Fame, despite the fact that it has been an enormous influence on rock music. I definitely think Deep Purple, Iron Maiden and Judas Priest belong. They should have been inducted long ago. I’d also add Slayer alongside Metallica.

    I’d even go so far as to include more extreme metal bands. Napalm Death, Carcass, Death, Sepultura and Cannibal Corpse have had a lot more influence than their relatively low profile might suggest. But they’ll never make it in because they didn’t sell enough records–even if a lot of what’s going on in rock radio nowadays is drawing from them. I realize that I’m delusional if I think a grindcore or death metal band could make it into the Hall of Fame–but that doesn’t change the fact that I hear bands on the radio today tuning their guitars down and growling and screaming over them.

    (And while I’m at it, what about hardcore punk? No Black Flag and Henry Rollins? No Misfits and Glenn Danzig? Yes, they’d reject the invitation because it’s too “mainstream”, but that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to be included.)

    As for Nirvana, they brought grunge into the mainstream and sold a ton of records, so they definitely deserve to be in. But Soundgarden was one of the earliest grunge bands (years before Nirvana came along) and had a lot of influence on the sound. Their first release was in 1986 on the Deep Six compilation–widely considered to be one of the first if not the first grunge recordings. If you think grunge was a big influence on rock music (and you should) then Soundgarden deserves some major credit for that.

    I also agree that Pat Benatar and Joan Jett belong, even though I can’t claim to be a big fan of their music.

  29. Rip Steakface:

    @28

    I am nodding so furiously at your post that I’m generating sufficient electrical current to run my computer.

    I think that, in particular, Death, Cynic and Atheist (heh) should get some friggin’ RNR HoF recognition. Death helped create death metal, and Cynic and Atheist helped (along with Death itself) uplift it into a genre that deserves respect from the most snobby of music critics.

    Other than them, the classic metal bands of years past – Thin Lizzy, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Deep Purple (listen to Highway Star and tell me that’s not metal), and the early thrashers like Overkill and Slayer – obviously deserve a place. I’d have reservations about Megadeth just because of Dave Mustaine’s Nugent-esque politics, but it’s hard to deny the influence that they had as well.

  30. beezlebubby:

    Still no love for Jeff Lynne or ELO? A travesty.

  31. cycleninja:

    I have no quarrel with any of Ed’s choices, and would like to add two of my own: Jeff Lynne of ELO in the songwriter category–he deserves the individual recognition. And The Cars need to be in there at some point. Their greatest hits album is truly that–19 hits that everyone remembers and can probably hum along to.

    But yes, put in SRV RIGHT NOW. Dude’s a legend.

  32. scienceavenger:

    10. Nirvana. A no-brainer. Changed the face of music along with the other members of the Holy Trinity of Grunge, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam.
    9. Chicago. Had they stayed on the track they were on with “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is” maybe, but the minute they made Peter Cetera the focus they became just another meaningless shallow commercial success that made teen girls swoon. A fixture in my jukebox from Hell.
    8. Gram Parsons. Not enough solo contributions. Being a back man for a legendary band (the Byrds) doesn’t cut it.
    7. Warren Zevon. I’m really mixed on this one. My personal favorite, but I’m not sure his influence transcended his lack of commercial success enough to warrant induction. Do 99% of music fans know anything by him besides “Werewolves from London”?
    6. Cheap Trick. You can’t be serious. Another personal favorite when I was in junior high, but I can’t get over how awful they sound now with the exception of the two big hits “Surrender” and “I want you to want me”. Might as well put the Knack in. Totally forgettable pedestrian rock,
    5. The Moody Blues. A layup, practically defined art rock in the 70′s. It wouldn’t have been the same without “Days of Future Past” (where Knights in White Satin resides), one of the greatest and most pompous albums ever.
    4. Yes. They aren’t in yet? Ridiculous. Invalidates the Hall IMO even more so than Rush’s long overlooked presence did.
    3. KISS. Oh please, what a joke. Macho makeup thrilling teen boys everywhere doesn’t a Hall member make. Might as well put in the Beastie Boys…wait a minute.
    2. The Smiths. Another personal favorite that I don’t think is worthy. They did have the biggest alternative hit in the 80s (How Soon is Now), but I’m not sure the body of work warrants induction.
    1. Deep Purple. Way overrated, ages terribly. Smoke on the Water wasn’t even a serious tune.

    Pat Benatar: great pipes to be sure, but the material was just pedestrian to the max, not worthy.

    Joan Jett – Really? For what? A couple minor hits and virtually no influence?

    Iron Maiden and Judas Priest: Please, might as well put in Winger, Quiet Riot, and Twisted Sister. All the same, all devoid of creativity, all meltable. Led Zeppelin, Metallica, and Sabbath are all the metal we need.

    Motorhead: Someone has to explain this band to me. I’ve heard the hits, they’re OK, but nothing special. What am I missing?

    Stevie Ray Vaughan: I’m incapable of being objective on this one, I grew up listening to him. Not on the radio, right in front of me. Going to school in Austin had its perks. I still shed a tear when I think of his death.

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