THE LEFSETZ LETTER: The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame

Okay, close the doors, nobody else can get in.

Don't argue with Miles Davis. If you've ever heard "In A Silent Way" you know that he deserves to be inducted way before Santana. And, "Bitches Brew" is way more adventurous than the work of at least half of those ALREADY IN the Hall. And, if you just want to go by who he had in his band, who he introduced to the scene, you can start with John McLaughlin and go all the way through Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter, never mind Herbie Hancock. And Miles PLAYED the Fillmore East. Opening for Laura Nyro. Hey, where's SHE? If you don't include Laura Nyro before Blondie, then you don't know crap about music. Chris Stein and Debbie Harry could try FOREVER and not come up with a record half as good as "New York Tendaberry" or "Eli and the Thirteenth Confession". And, she wrote more hits than they HAD! But Laura Nyro's dead and forgotten. And seeing that David Geffen made


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his first million on her back, screwing her in the process, I don't expect HE'LL be lobbying for her induction. Then again, at least Laura's from New York. Where the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame epicenter/power center seems to be located. And the myopia of those in charge is evidenced by the induction of Blondie. I mean who's next, TELEVISION? Hell, "Marquee Moon" is a further adventure than anything Blondie did, but I don't think Tom Verlaine's bunch should be in the Hall Of Fame.

I happen to be a Blondie fan.

You can forget their Private Stock work. But, "Parallel Lines" was a great album. Not a MASTERPIECE, but a very good record. I LOVE the attitude in "Hanging On The Telephone". But the only element of pure genius on the damn platter is Robert Fripp's ethereal solo in "Fade Away and Radiate".

"Heart Of Glass" was a melding of rock and disco. Hell, it was originally entitled THAT DISCO SONG! For this, Blondie needs to be canonized? For making the world safe for Rod Stewart's "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy"? God, induct Steve Dahl before you let in Blondie. Or how about some deejays, like the dearly-departed Scott Muni, or John Peel even? Or B. Mitchell Reed. Or even Cousin Brucie! They truly impacted the landscape, not BLONDIE!

I liked "The Hardest Part", but "Eat To The Beat" was a disappointing follow-up. And the fact that a video was made for every track means that maybe futurist/seer Shep Gordon should be inducted, but not the band that executed HIS idea!

And then there's the not much better "Autoamerican"… Isn't there SOMEBODY who needs to be in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame before Blondie for popularizing reggae? Hell, Bob Marley had been doing it for YEARS before "The Tide Is High" caught on. Honoring Blondie is like honoring Pat Boone for doing cover versions of black tracks. Ditto, "Rapture". I can think of a whole HOST of rap artists who should be in the Hall before Blondie. So, they ripped off the man and made rap safe for the suburbs. Write 'em a check, don't induct them into the Hall Of Fame.

The Pistols are rock and roll. One album and out. This is a band that revolutionized rock, that couldn't stay together, profits be damned. Whereas Blondie froze out Frank Infante, so they could have more money for themselves. Scummy, don't you think?

I just don't get it. Sure, everybody rails about the Oscars. And the Grammys are a complete joke. But the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame was supposed to be above this, it was supposed to mean something.

I mean who's gonna induct Blondie? Martha Quinn, or one of the other original veejays who spun their videos? And what are they going to say? Debbie Harry was cute. Chris Stein had a knack for a hook. This gets you a table at a restaurant, not immortality.

Everybody knows that rock peaked twenty odd years ago, if that late. If we're scraping the bottom of the barrel like this, I say call it a day. I mean let Ronnie Van Zant and his buds in. THREE lead guitarists? Boozing it up and wreaking havoc across the land all the time writing music to drink and screw to. But, just because they started downtown, and were there when a bunch of old fart New York music executives were coming up that DOES NOT mean Blondie deserves to be in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. Hell, induct the REAL genius behind Blondie's success, producer Mike Chapman. But no, since he's seen as an arrogant prick, this wunderkind gets no recognition yet his proteges do. RIDICULOUS!


THE INDUSTRY RESPONDS:

This letter garnered more responses from Bob's readers than any other one that we've run. Collected here, for your edification, are a selection of said responses from your colleagues.

Bud Prager:

I agree…I’m not sure about this but check out how many of Blondie hits(there were only a few of consequence) were written by mike chapman ..he was an ace writer/producer who's received no credit for some great stuff…without him, no Blondie, just playboy bunny sings songs …..

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Jason Miles:

Please tell me why Michael Bloomfield and Paul Butterfield aren't in the RRHOF

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Bill Holmes:

"But the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame was supposed to be above this, it was supposed to mean something."

Have you seriously continued to believe this? The HOF is nothing more than Jann Wenner ripping a page from Trump's "Look At Me!!" songbook and erecting a self-serving structure on the landscape. (Probably the only decent erection the sad cow has had in years, but I digress…). Fuck Blondie – if The Small Faces and Iggy are still on the outside looking in, it's just a glass pyramid with bad parking.

I'm waiting for the first artist to have the balls to go Brando on this charade and send Sacheen Littlefeather to the podium to accept their award. Now THAT would be rock'n'roll!

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Bruce Garfield:

There's a long list of deserving artists that don't have the 'support' for the votes and have been passed over for years.

Though you might not agree I work with two such artists…WAR who was one of the first black bands to not only score multi platinum albums, but for years spoke out against racial and social injustices and for racial harmony "Slipping Into Darkness," "The World Is a Ghetto," "Four Corned Room," "Cisco Kid," "Me and Baby Brother," "Summer," "Why Can't We Be Friends?", "Low Rider," "Spill The Wine" w/Eric Burdon and many more. They had ten times the number of hits that other inductees have had

And what about the master of funk guitar Nile Rodgers' band Chic, a live band that started (like it or not) a sound revolution along with his playing, producing and writing major hits for Sister Sledge ("We Are Family"), Madonna ("Like A Virgin") David Bowie ("Let's Dance"), Grace Jones, The B-52's and more….

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John Byczkowski:

Totally agree on Blondie. "Heart of Glass" is good for about 45 seconds, and then it drifts off. Debbie Harry was inducted by all the guys who wanted to nail her. The Rock Hall is turning into a giant circle jerk.

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Jeremy Shelton:

I Hereby nominate Public Enemy (Chuck D). The music they made was revolutionary and truthful.

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Nick Boski:

I have to disagree with you re. Blondie. Maybe I'm sentimental (the first record I ever bought was "Parallel Lines"), but I do think that their music stands the test of time and they paved the way for other bands like No Doubt. And then there is the role they played in NYC music scene in the 70s.

On a side note, a few years ago Deborah Harry called me and sang "Happy Birthday" to me over the phone. One of the lawyers at my old law firm has repped Blondie for years and when one of my co-workers went to see Deborah to get some documents signed, she told her that that I was a big fan and that it was my birthday. Though at that point we had never met in person, Deborah called me and gave me a birthday surprise that I'll never forget.

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Don Kaye:

You forgot to mention Black Sabbath finally getting in. People may love or hate them and the genre of heavy metal, but I have no doubt they deserve their place. They created almost single-handedly an entire sound, and their impact on untold numbers of bands from then until now is vast. Plus the first five albums are all classics of heavy rock.

We won't talk about "The Osbournes," and poor, good-hearted Ozzy shouldn't be performing live anymore whatsoever, but Black Sabbath has earned its place, and the respect of the biz.

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D. Littrell:

Where is the Steve Miller Band?

AND…You are VERY right about Laura Nyro.

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Toby Mamis:

Not just because I work with him, but WHAT ABOUT ALICE COOPER????

He changed so much about rock and roll, accomplished so much, and has done so much for rock and roll. His "children" are everywhere. Everywhere. Period. Case closed.

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Lisa Arzt:

That one band quite successfully melded into their oeuvre everything that you mentioned: disco, rap, reggae, attitude, Robert Fripp, cuteness, hooks and an over-abundance of music videos at precisely the right time (face it, MTV is going to come more and more into play from now on), and were beloved for it all, is exactly the reason they should be inducted!

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Name withheld:

Ahhh..another sojourn down Memory Lane…The Perpetual Beemer, B Mitchell Reed,(May he rest in peace)…he and I used to share the same Pill Doctor in Hollywood…Memories…

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Rocky Del Balzo:

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame voting is really getting just to be a popularity contest. With all due respect to Blondie…are they really worthy of being in the "Hall of Fame"? They were a good band. But did they really have a significant impact on the rock'n' roll landscape. The answer is NO. Also, should Miles Davis be in the rock'n' roll Hall of Fame. Also…NO! The Jazz Hall of Fame…of course. But what did he do to change the course of rock'n'roll. On the other hand, John Mellencamp, who has had a long and successful career, had numerous hit records and wrote one of the more definitive rock records of the '80s (Scarecrow) is not in the Hall of Fame. Why, because John never kissed anybody's ass and always did things his way. Baseball's Hall of Fame is much the same. The guys who were not good to the writers had better have unquestionable stats to get in. When the results of a vote come out as they did this year…it is time to re-evaluate the process.

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Toby Mamis again:

You're wrong about Blondie. I was there. I worked with them. Those first two albums are brilliant and exuberantly capture that moment in time. The songs are terrific, Debbie's terrific, Richard Gottehrer's production doesn't get in the way of a great thing happening. They were pure Blondie then. Don't get me wrong, I love "Parallel Lines" and what Mike Chapman did with them on it. I BROUGHT HIM IN TO DO IT. But it was the beginning of the end for Blondie as a vital rock and roll band, and even though they continued to have hit singles (in varying styles, straying far from their roots), the audience didn't go with them, and when the audience didn't show up for that last Chrysalis album and tour, they went away. Their core audience went on to The Go Go's and Joan Jett and other acts. There's no denying that some of the songs they wrote — and mostly Chris Stein, by the way, even though he and I are no longer friendly — are amazing. There's no denying Debbie's charisma and performance. There's no denying that Clem Burke is one of the greatest drummers in the history of rock and roll, period. There's no denying that, once their lineup jelled with bassist Nigel Harrison and additional guitarist Frank Infante — both since having fallen into disfavor with Chris&DebbyInc — that they put on some magical performances that were, finally, as good musically as they were in theory whereas previously their live shows had been erratic and imperfect. There's no denying their greatness or their contributions to the history of rock and pop music. But to say that those first two albums are forgettable is a major mistake.

Go back and listen to those first two albums and rediscover the joy of rock and roll.

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Henry Root:

We need to get Gram Parsons in.

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Mark Cope:

The Rock N' Roll Hall Of Fame should be in some garage somewhere, not a beautiful building in Cleveland. Like Roger Daltry said in "The Kids Are Alright," "Rock N' Roll was never meant to be perfect." The R&R HOF basically BLOWS!.

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John Brodey:

Paul Revere and the Raiders in '06? Just call it the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Celebrity. Put in a pop fluff wing. Sort of like the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Ryan Seacrest next to Bette Davis? True, all you really need is $15,000 to get a star, but the Hall should as tough as Cooperstown. Trouble is they're still making great ball players, they stopped making great musicians quite a while ago. So get ready for the Goo Goo Dolls in 2026.

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Steve Wilson:

bob – without getting too profuse, I would defend Blondie’s inclusion.
they made several good to very good records. they brought punk into the mainstream, were eclectic in interesting ways that few bands of that parochial era were, and(like many of those included from the fifties)a great singles band.

in terms of catalog and influence the sabs belong. I’m not a big skynyrd fan, but on similar terms they do, too.

I loved the pistols, but their selection is curious. essentially, they made one album. a great one, but one. and that they could enter before the stooges is ridiculous. the stooges made three distinct, seminal albums. without the stooges the idea of the pistols is impossible. similarly, the dolls(two great records)and mott the hoople(a checkered, but impressive run). when will these and other seventies rock and proto-punk greats be recognized. roxy. t-rex. all of them, imo, were deserving compared to zz top or del shannon(and I like them…don't get me started on billy joel).

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Adam Blake:

Nice that you revere Miles in print but, despite his assiduous courting of the rock and soul dollar, his musical innovations only really make sense in the context of jazz. Which is, of course, a whole 'nother thing…

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Jordan Berliant:

You're a Blondie FAN? Geez… I'd hate to see what you'd have to say if you were a detractor. The fact of the matter is that you've completely overlooked Blondie's major contribution to musical pop-culture. Before Blondie, punk and disco were enemies—they didn't "talk" to each other. Blondie changed that with songs like "Heart Of Glass". Do you think there'd be a Madonna or a Shirley Manson if there were no Debbie Harry? Pop & Reggae were two different planets. Blondie brought them together with songs like "Tide Is High" (fast forward 20 years—why do you think Gwen Stefani reveres Deborah Harry?). Rap & Rock were the Crips & The Bloods. Blondie is REVERED, yes… REVERED by the hip-hop community because they broke the doors open and allowed a previously exiled form of music into the mainstream of pop culture. Blondie is as important to the evolution of what we broadly call "Rock & Roll" as the Clash, Iggy Pop & The Sex Pistols. The fact that you are blind doesn't change that. The real tastemakers know this. And their influence on music continues to be felt even in 2005. Why do you think the band still plays to 8,000 people in London? I just got back from seeing it myself there. People in their 20's who weren't even BORN when Tide is High hit turning out in massive numbers, many of them dressing like Deborah. And why do you suppose the mash-up of "Rapture/Riders" is played daily on stations from XFM in London to Indie 103 in LA?

(Note: Jordan Berliant works for 10th Street, which manages Blondie.)

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Mark Harvey:

I keep asking when they will validate the Hall Of Fame with the induction of The Ventures.

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David Basskin:

So right about Miles. Run through his personnel lists and you'll find few duds – on top of those you mentioned, Keith Jarrett stands very high. I've drawn parallels for a long time between Miles and FZ as incubators of great talents. God, when I start thinking of who we've lost, it just gets too depressing.

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Ben Liemer:

I love Chrissie Hynde and sure she at least co-wrote songs & played guitar, but were the Pretenders any more consistent after the first two albums than Blondie? Once James Honeyman Scott and Pete Farndon died they were nowhere as good or wrote material like "Up The Neck."

After the likes of Janis Joplin, who then gets the nod as a groundbreaking rock female artist? Suzi Quatro? The Runaways? Pat Benatar? Joan Jett? (I'm not talking about Aretha Franklin or Big Mama Thornton….)

Debby was no dumb blonde–that's for sure. And she had a helluva lot more edge than Pat Boone. Yes, she does deserve credit for doing something similar to what the Clash were doing with their genre hopping, albeit without Strummer's socialist everyman leanings. She & Chris & the band played everything from old school pop ("Denis" admittedly a cover, but a good one, "Sunday Girl") to rock ("Dreaming," "Rip Her To Shreds," the Nerves' "Hanging On The Telephone") etc to rap to reggae and more. That's a lot more adventurous than the relatively narrow scope of the aforementioned Quatro/Runaways/Benatar… Just asking mind you. They can't all be Joni Mitchell and aside from the African/American mainstream breakthrough aspects were Blondie's high points any less satisfying guilty pleasure pop than the Supremes?

I actually feel a little bit of soul/attitude there in Debby's voice too…go back and listen to those tracks I mentioned. I think she expressed romantic longing particularly well. Of course, we all know that now Debbie can really sing those songs which Chapman so skillfully did all the studio punch ins to enable her to hit the high notes. At least that's what I saw at the first reunion show at the Theatre at MSG. The finished studio tracks hold up in my opinion. And yes, although it was a big commercial breakthrough there's a lot better tunes than "Heart Of Glass" just like the Clash won't be best remembered for "Rock The Casbah"–hell I still think "Bankrobber" is the best vocal Strummer ever recorded! And Mikey Dread's dub version of that track still thrills me to this day.

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Lonesome Red Cat:

While you were ranting, couldn't you have spared a mention for the equally deserving Wanda Jackson?

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Olie Kornelson:

Hear Hear..

Miles – Double Check…Come On, Miles Give Us A Sign!

Sex Pistols – Check
Lynyrd Skynyrd – Check

Blondie – Blasphemy (and I worked all the hits, but it was all fill and no thrill)

Who's next…Pat Benatar, Wendy O!, The KNACK?

Jeezus

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Gregory Gray:

I don’t know what you’re all getting so worked up about… the rock and roll hall of fame, by its very nature is nothing more than an extension of the hard rock cafe…consumption for tourists. In any case, Blondie we're fine..born out of authentic street culture…spreading westward to help define and nourish the roots of the baby KROQ. It's macho music bizz bullshit to point to some fat arsed skilled studio person and say it was him that pulled ALL the crucial strings. The magic thing about Blondie was they added up to more than the sum of their parts …you can't bottle that kind of thing.
let it be, gents!…

after all, it’s only a matter of time before dullards like foreigner get their place in the hard rock cafe hall of fame…and they had all the cultural force of a fart in a space suit.

don't under rate pop music…it ages better than a lot of woefully serious rock
listen to those amazing monkees singles with Neil Diamond and Glen Campbell cutting their teeth in the background.
or T.Rex or Phil Spector.

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Chris Stanifer:

If you want to start a discussion about all of the things which are wrong with the RRHOF, you only need to use two words: Wanda Jackson.

Wanda Jackson was a true Rock and Roll Pioneer, and SHE IS STILL PERFORMING!!! Bless her little Rockabilly heart.

Until Wanda Jackson is inducted into the Hall of Fame, it will be nothing more to me than public masturbation for a select group of music industry fuckheads.

Sorry for the profanity, but please… Blondie????

You've got to be joking..

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Nick Miller:

I kind of think the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame is a big joke. I mean really. Who votes on this stuff anyway and why should we give a crap what they think? Seems more like a way for record companies to sell catalog. Do people actually go there to find out about Rock N Roll? Really? Well I have news for them. That ain't where Rock N Roll lives.

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Ida Langsam:

Wow, all this response about the Hall of Fame. Don't you all realize it's completely political? And remember, this is NOT a charity – the HOF has to sell tickets and tables to their events and assure attendance by at least some of the highest visibility names so the televised event will pull in viewers. So there have to be the Billy Joels et al… people with wealthy friends who will spring for purchasing whole tables at the induction ceremony. There is a lot of lobbying involved in getting a band or artist even considered. Has anyone here ever tried suggesting a nominee to a voting member? Bottom line is, if Jann doesn't feel like it, there's no way Jose.

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Rhonda Markowitz:

Okay, it goes like this: If you're a friend to Jann Wenner (like that miserable SOB Mellencamp), you get into the Hall of Fame. If Jann doesn't like you, for whatever reason (for instance, I'm told he hates KISS), you won't. Ever. End of story.
Oh yes: If you can sell some catalogue for Ahmet, then you might also be inducted.
When Iggy and the Stooges aren't in there after several times at bat (after the first time they was nominated, the next year they wasn't even ON THE BALLOT), and the Velvet Underground doesn't get in on the first try, you know something's very wrong with the whole affair.
If those people aren't among the most influential in rock & roll, then what field were they working in?

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Jake Gold:

One word, RUSH.

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Liz Brooks:

Waaaaay too bad that so many people feel the need to knock Debbie Harry as merely some manufactured faux-punk strumpet worshiped only by "guys" who "want to nail her". It was pretty great growing up with Blondie in the pop charts, as opposed to whatever else they chose to feed young girls in the 80s, and whatever one might say about Harry's solo talents, she was personality on her own and a mainstay of the scene which birthed and nurtured American punk and post-punk. I'd give her points just for launching Stephen Sprouse's career, but I guess men don't understand that stuff.

Miles is one of my five ultimate heroes in a list which includes Lennon and Dylan, so, you know where I stand there.

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Chris Apostle:

What a joke. No offense Blondie was a mediocre band at best. We all profess to be musical geniuses and we forget so much. How about King Crimson, Mott, Little Feat Strawbs. These bands actually had large bodies of work and were cutting edge. Brian Eno doing Camel records. I agree with the guy who said what next Pat Benatar. It's like the VH1 piece of Skata "Divas" after year 2 we were up to such crap it was a waste.
They should make the awards every 3 or 4 years. There isn't that much music that is worthy of wasting our time. At this point where are the bands that started it all: the Monkees, Tommy James, Turtles, Grass Roots. . Some of them may be in but what's next Player or Yvonne Elliman?

This industry better wake up and realize that as we continue to promote Ashlee and Hillary and Ciara as the best we have to offer we are screwed. I take that back…if that's the best we have to offer then Blondie should be nominated. Bob, you used to have to be good to make an album in this business. What a joke…..

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Mark McKenna:

I've never understood why Todd Rundgren never got in… Todd was ahead of his time in every way and did change the face of rock a few times

Firsts:
First solo artist/songwriter/producer/engineer/studio owner/auteur to do records as a self contained entity – predating Prince, Moby, etc by decades
First rock artist to introduce widespread use of synthesizers
First rock artist to master videography and produce music videos, predating MTV by five years or more
First artist to extol the use of and write programs for personal
computers for video and music production – way ahead of the curve on that one.

Todd is a true pioneer, for whatever that is worth.

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Ben Liemer:

PUT THEM IN:

Iggy no Pistols without him–the definition of nihilistic out of control onstage rage in r&r, hell the Pistols covered "NO FUN"!

Gram Parsons no Eagles, no Poco, no Byrds' classic Sweetheart of the Rodeo, maybe no "Wild Horses"…. Course "Gram" might still be alive if he hadn't have tried to keep up with Keith….

Roxy Music

Eno conceptualist/non-musician/producer how about an artist who turned his back on the more commercial side of his vocal oriented work (1st 4 solo albums) to create truly experimental fringe music. He created the entire ambient genre singlehandely…so it's not rock, so fucking what? He could have indulged his Beach Boys vocal harmony ideas to move units and choose to make cds for those who "get it." (Disclaimer: I was his publicist for a few ambient albums and I personally feel "On Land" is one of the most radical records of all time, right up there with Metal Machine Music, The Stooges, The Velvet Underground & Nico, early Pink Floyd, 13th Floor Elevators, u name it.

Ventures, Booker T & The MGs, The Meters, The Funk Brothers all belong in there….

Joy Division along with the Velvet Underground the most stubborn, insular, determined and unafraid band ever

Sabbath absolutely deserves to be there, for their influence of stage shows you'd have to put in Kiss & Alice Cooper even though they both have long outlived their artistic peaks by 20 years….I do give Alice credit for sobering up and soldiering on…I mean if BB King can, why can't he?

Is Big Star in?

Mott the Hoople–Brain Capers is the sonic template for both the Clash and Nirvana with allowances for different lyrical & attitudinal approaches. Is that enough? You tell me.

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Alan Crane:

I can't believe Laura Nyro isn't in.
I would have thought she went in with those who were selected FIRST, at the inaugeration.
I guess I'm naive about the RRHOF actually representing the very best.

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John Brodey:

Berliant should have quit while he was behind. Punk and disco embraced each other because of Debbie Harry? You gotta be kidding me. Yes, there WOULD have been a Madonna if Blondie had never happened, he must at least understand that. Gwen Stefani probably took more pages out of Madonna's book than Blondie's (look how she performs live). Rap and Rock came together thanks to her? Excuse me but Aerosmith and Run DMC did more to bridge that gap than a dozen Blondies. The Tide is High made reggae safe for the pop world, spare me. Three Dog Night covered the Greyhounds' Black and White and it was on their greatest hits album five years ('75) before Blondie covered the John Holt song. In fact many an artist has cashed in on or ripped off the reggae sound from Johnny Nash on. Have more Kool Aid.

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Andy Faver:

Do you think a band who has been together for 30 years with the same members for 29 of those years, who always played their own parts live and in the studio (a very few exceptions in the studio) has extremely devoted fans, has challenged themselves for each and every album, never to repeat themselves, and has (sadly or happily) never been on the cover of Rolling Stone… should ever get in the RnRHOF. Of course I am talking about RUSH. I don't think they will ever get what is due them until one of them passes away, then of course they will get recognition. Look at some of the bands who have been nominated to the RnRHoF that so incredibly lame compared to RUSH.

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Billy Bass:

Blondie was the hippest, trendiest, hottest, coolest band in the world …not just the US. The made it all work reggae, punk, disco, rap…it was all Blondie. Debbie was captivating on stage. The guys wanted to fuck her, the girls wanted to dress like her, Madonna and Gwen wanted to grow up and be just like her… they came close so did Shirley Manson.

Blondie belongs …..but hold up ! It's all bullshit until Alice Copper gets in. In fact, without Alice in the hall of fame…. it's the hall of shame.

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Michael McNamara:

Wanna talk about the paucity of Rock and Roll Women in the HOF?
What about Rosalie Trombley — the Rosalie Bob Seger called "Everybody's favorite little record girl?"
The one MTV pioneer Les Garland trusted most when he was PD at the Motor City's CKLW?!!
The one Alice Cooper, Mitch Ryder and Wayne Kramer and Bill Withers thank for their careers? The one Westbound Records and Motown Records and dozens more labels owe their existence to?
Deborah Harry was a cutie and everything, but Rosalie Trombley had the most powerful and influential ears in the world during the 1970's.
When does she get some recognition?

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Mark Smotroff:

I stopped paying attention to awards programs ages ago when I learned they were mostly fixed and full of all sorts of political nonsense that has nothing to do with what Rock and Roll was supposed to be about. So the R&RHOF always appeared to be a joke to me. I like the notion of it being in a garage, as someone here said.

And while Blondie's Rapture probably WAS the ballsiest thing they did (giving up the New Wave package for something newer), most of their stuff always hit me as just OK fun and not much more (better than Joan Jett and The Go Gos, but don't get me started on that!). I liked Fripp with Blondie, an inspired pairing…

Trivial aside: Maybe the Wind and The Willows need to be inducted into the R&RHOF since that is the birthplace of Debbie Harry?

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Toby Mamis:

Exactly which Blondie songs does Mike Chapman have a writing credit on? Not just hits, but from all the albums of theirs that he produced. I look forward to seeing the list. As someone who was early on Blondie (PR and co-manager 1977-1979) and the person who brought Mike Chapman in to produce them (having worked with him previously on Suzi Quatro and Smokie for several years), I am most curious.

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John and Carol Velchoff:

This may sound odd to some, but believe it or not I think Connie Francis was overlooked as one of the early inductees. She was one of the first superstar chicks with many hit records.

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Shaun Mason:

The rock and roll hall of fame is an institution distinguished more by its exclusions than its inductees.

For the R&RHOF Brando moment, read the Scottie Moore interview in Vintage Guitar last year. They asked him what he thought about being inducted (he became eligible in the side-man, nee second class-citizen, category) and he said "they gave me a jacket . . .do you want it?"

The rock and roll hall of fame is a state of mind that happens when you walk onstage and 20,000 people hang your every move, then backstage women fight over who gets to suck your dick. That's the only hall of fame rock and roll needs. That place in Cleveland is a Hard Rock Cafe without the watermelon ribs. Who gives a fuck who they induct? Nashville Pussy is the best rock and roll band playing today (with the best female lead guitarist ever) and they'll never be in it.

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Les Garland:

what the hell is all this? is it the "music hall of fame" or the "rock n roll hall of fame"? aren't those two different "museums"? seems to me…

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Rob Meurer:

I had no idea that Laura Nyro wasn't in the HOF. Maybe she wasn't exactly rock 'n' roll, but what was she? And why does it matter? What she was, was one of the very, very few true American originals of music. I simply could not do without her first four albums: (what is now titled) The First Songs, Eli And The Thirteenth Confession, New York Tendaberry, and Christmas And The Beads Of Sweat.

Christ, she even spoke her own language! Listen to all the songs of hers that were made huge hits by others: It made me smile that these monster Top 40 hits that even the oldsters enjoyed contained English that somehow sounded normal but if you were paying attention you knew that she was speaking in Laura-tongues, that beautiful language of some cosmic street poet, words that don't belong together but from her mouth sound as if they were meant to be together and were waiting all those years for someone brilliant enough to come along and put them together, an inevitability.

Of course, Eli And The Thirteenth Confession is way, way up high among the best albums of all time, an unspeakably magnificent piece of work that no one, even she, ever matched (though she came very close). And this…from a teenager. (She was 20 by the time it was released.)

A TEENAGER. Can you imagine? I recall when Jewel's first album came out, people raving about how young she was. That cracked me up. I listened to it, and the words were pap, little girl diary stuff. She was a young girl and she made a young girl record–so what?

But listen to Laura–the utterly pure originality, the musical sophistication, the depth of spirit, the gut-wrenching beauty of it all. It should make 99.9% of artists–male and female–ashamed.

Those of us who loved her did so deeply, with feelings beyond those for our other most beloved artists.

And when she died we cried.

Are you gonna cry when Madonna dies? Or even when someone like Henley dies? Bono? Nah. Brian Wilson, Joni Mitchell, yes, probably. And I did for Lennon. But even though Laura burned so bright as a young woman and then faded back into near-obscurity, her early death at 49 hurt–we had lost her, and she was a part of us.

Just like Jewel, huh? Har.

Or Blondie. I mean, really.

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Elliot Mazer:

RORHOF is not about singing is it? Blondie had 2 or 3 good notes and her producers and writers made good use of them.

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James Lee Stanley:

I think we should nominate everyone who ever made a rock and roll record. obviously we're leaving no one out. let's just admit it.

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Hugo Burnham:

From your lips to god's ear about Clem, bloody brilliant. Drummer's Hall of Fame for him – absolutely. But the band should wait some time before R&RHoF comes a'knocking.

Blondie in before Iggy, Small Faces, War, or Chic? Please….

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roger@lobrow.com.au:

Awards? who cares apart from Tossers from the Record Companies?
The people who want them dont desreve them and the people who deserve them dont want them

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Daryl Berg:

Oh for chrissakes.

Can't we all just listen to Neil Young for a change and be completely repulsed by the idea of a RRHOF? It's rock and roll..it doesn't belong in a museum. What do you think Jerry Lee Lewis would have said of the idea in 1956? He probably would have lit it on fire.

BUT, if we are to discuss the idea of a Hall of Fame, you need to understand the difference between the very good and the Immortal…which is how the baseball hall of Fame works.

John Mellancamp was very good, but he wasn't Immortal, he didn't have a lasting impact on the way music was perceived..like Sabbath, The Ramones, The Pistols, The Clash, etc. Frankly, I think the last band to go in the HOF should be Nirvana…and then the damn thing should be shut down and burned to the ground.

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Toby Mamis:

I was so busy today I forgot to mention to you that I worked not only with Blondie but also with Lynyrd Skynyrd AND the Sex Pistols used my office as their USA office (Rory Johnston, who worked with me doing PR and tour management, was Malcolm McLaren's partner in their management for the US); Malcolm, Steve Jones and Paul Cook were in my office at the end of the tour trying to convince Johnny Rotten not to quit, though I was out of town at the time, on tour with The Runaways.

Is this my year at the HOF or what?

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Marty Thau:

As one of Blondie's past business associates, I'm responding to your slamming editorial.
I hope you have broad shoulders and can take it as well as you can dish it.

COMMERCE, OR ARTISTRY, OR INFLUENCE?

I just finished reading your editorial that slams Blondie's R&RHOF induction. I try not to respond to any controversy surrounding me, or any of the artists I had worked with in past years – and I've had my share of controversy with artists from my days at Cameo – Parkway and Buddah Records in the late '60's to the likes of the New York Dolls, Suicide, Richard Hell, Ramones, John Cale, and Blondie in the '70s – but, in this instance, I'm making an exception because, as much as I respect some of your opinions, this time around I feel you missed the boat.

The music business really blew it when it came to Blondie and a lot of people, who should have known better, ended up looking rather pathetic when the world embraced them but the bottom line is this — all's well that ends well and this Blondie story has a happy ending. "She looks great, but the band sucks and can't play to save themselves," the record honchos whispered back in '76. Just goes to confirm my theory that A&R people should not be older than 17 when it comes to evaluating young rock 'n' roll. You see, Bob, that's what Blondie were about – young r'n'r — and that's where you missed the boat. You can't sell 60+ million records like Blondie did and suck. Obviously someone loved 'em big-time. Did your dismissal of them perhaps have something to do with something more than just their music – like you didn't relate to the punk / new wavesters of the '70s because you thought they were too amateurish, or primitive? Were you too busy skiing or golfing, to concern yourself with a bunch of bowery street urchins? Was it some sort of a 'class' dismissal thing that fueled your distaste for those types of people? Were you one of those Boston / Journey / Kansas / Pat Benetar type listeners? You wrote that you were a Blondie fan but I seriously doubt a true Blondie fan would have spoken so poorly of them as you have. Next question — do the Velvet Underground belong in the Hall? Some say they were tres cool and influential. Maybe so, but to me they were pretentious and boring. Were they Hall material? I don't think so but I can accept their inclusion in the Hall because I think inclusion should be about commerce, artistry, and influence, too, and each discipline can be argued for, and against and can stand on its own merit.

Now allow me to clear up your flip dismissal of Private Stock's involvement and Blondie's first album. Private Stock was not an especially hip label but no other label expressed any interest in the band at all. Richard Gottehrer and I – we were partners and Blondie were signed to our production company — concluded that if we could simply get a Blondie 45 rpm record on the market through Private Stock, or anyone else for that matter, there'd be such a tremendous reaction to it that that label would want more. We insisted that any contract we would sign had to include an option for an album and it had to be exercised within 30 days of the release of the single by the label, or we would be walking. Sure enough, within days of the release of the band's first single, Private Stock couldn't wait to exercise it when they saw the excitement Blondie generated. We had constructed an appealing win-win situation for Blondie and Private Stock, whose owner, Larry Utall, really had no idea what he had on his hands. (Frankie Valli was more his style). Anyway, album deal in hand, it was back to the studio to record Blondie's first album that you say was meaningless. In time Utall would sell Blondie to Chrysalis Records, who didn't think that first album was meaningless at all, and paid Utall $500,000 for the rights to Blondie. Five hundred big ones was a lot of dough back then (and still is) and hard to turn down but it paled in comparison to what Utall might have made had he kept them but he was out of his element and probably knew it, too.

As for Mike Chapman, as a producer myself I know that a producer is only as good as the artist he or she is producing. Chapman didn't write the songs, didn't sing 'em, didn't play 'em but did refine Blondie's sound. He didn't make them great, they didn't make him great, and he wasn't the genius wunderkind you said he was. As for his arrogance, he wasn't exactly an endearing personality but neither is Johnny 'Asshole' Rotten and he made the Hall.

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Davidsince1984:

"Rap & Rock were the Crips & The Bloods. Blondie is REVERED, yes… REVERED by the hip-hop community because they broke the doors open and allowed a previously exiled form of music into the mainstream of pop culture"

Just so you all know this is simply false. No one in hip hop has ever heard blondies music.

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S.M.:

My question is when are they going to change the name to "The U.S. Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame"? Half of the artiists going in, or artists people are mentioning, are basing their opinions strictly on U.S. success. Guess it`s kind of like the World Series….

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Earstein:

MAMIS is right! Although Blondie is not my cup of tea! Put Chapman in for SMOKIE!
MAMIS is right again! And not just cause of for lack of a better word, nepotism (even if he didn't work for the guy!) ALICE should definitely be in!
The biggest snub though…HOLLIES! HOLLIES! HOLLIES!

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Glen Burtnik:

My take on the Hall of Fame is that they could just merge with the Hard Rock Cafe and get it over with.

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Blake Einhorn:

So Blondie gets in and Grand Master Flash doesn't get in for the second year in a row? Whoever is on that selection comitee should be shot.

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Bob Davis:

The induction process has now reached the point where personally all I can do at this point is smile and be content in the knowlege that I personally have nothing to do with it. After the Dells got in, I washed my hands of the induction process. It's bogus and corrupt.
Rick James?
Chi-Lites?
Donna Summer?
Laura Nyro?
Kool and the Gang?
Tyrone Davis?
Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels?
Commodores?
Little Anthony and the Imperials?
Spaniels
Five Royals?

Who cares? After all, isn't it more important that we honor Sid Vicious??

The reality is that the induction committie can select whomever it wants to for induction and base it on what appears to be an ever changing set of criteria that makes no sense to me. Yes it is possible to construct a rationale for each selection (even the Sex Pistols).

I could easily say that all selected belong, however the real question isn't really about who belongs. The real question should be about who should go in before whom.

For example, lets take the Sex Pistols. They only recorded one album. If they can be inducted, does that mean that anybody who has recorded one album could be in there? If they are in, shouldn't Chubby Checker have gone in before them?

I know that the people at VH 1, Rolling Stone, etc would say something like…"The Sex Pistols may have recorded only one album, but they were highly influential…"

While that may be true, they weren't as influential as Chubby Checker, so why not put Chubby in first? Chubby influeced millions of people. Hopefully the number of people influenced by Sid Vicious remains limited to a small circle of people like Seymour Stein?

Hell, in my opinion Alvin and the Chipmunks were more "influential" than the Sex Pistols. So why not make the Sex Pistols wait until after Alvin and the Chipmunks, Chubby Checker, the Archies, Big Bopper and others who actually had more "influence" on American popular culture are in?

I realize that might not make Seymour Stein happy. But it would be fair. (but being "fair" is probably not on the agenda of the RRHOF Induction Committie)

Ozzie Ozbourne has already said numerous times that he doesn't want to be inducted into the RRHOF, because he thinks it's a sham. (so why bother to induct Black Sabbath???) Why not induct an artist who really wants to be in there instead? Well having millions of Black Sabbath fans sitting in front of thier TV sets wondering if their boy Ozzie will actually show up is probably a good thing for the TV ratings.

Should Miles Davis be in there? Of course he should be. Should have been there a long time ago. His albums from 69-75 are fierce and actually take Rock n' Roll into a differnt dimension. Yet every time I look at this years list of inductee's it makes me want to put the words "token colored inductee" in parentheses next to the name of Miles Davis…

I could go on, but I won't. You see the reality is that they can put
whomever they want in there, for whatever reasons that they want to. It has nothing to do with music or merit. And they aren't going to stop now.

Their induction process really stinks. And it gets worse every year.

It's really a shame, because the RRHOF museum itself is such a great place to visit and learn the true history of Rock n' Roll…

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Larry Frazin:

Gwen Stefani/Deborah Harry.

History repeating the exact same story. Absolutely meaningless in the pantheon of rock. Neither will ever match Madonna. And all three of them are marginal songwriters at best. Madonna wrote the book on reinvention. Now, she makes horrible records. Love the thirtysomethings who praise and admire their style mavens. They were not rockers. They were pop icons. Period.

The sad RRHOF story is that after Lennon, Dylan, U2, Led, Bruce, Neil, etc. you are forced to even go down this road. What's next? The Cars? Why are they inducting pop acts? Is it an award for affecting style or substance? Gee, last time I checked Chrissie Hynde was still ranked in the Cultural Mecca of rock. Oh yes, and she was able to put pen to paper. There is a difference between a strumpet and a troubadour.

Did you ever listen to a Blondie record all the way through? Drek!!

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Joe Taylor:

One of the interesting things about your emails is they illustrate accepted critical consensus in the US, which is very different from accepted critical consensus in the UK.

Everyone here accepts that Blondie were great and influential, but if Lynyrd Skynyrd ever won a career accolade, there would be an outcry.

P.S. Message to Bud Prager – Blondie had many hits of consequence in the UK, although not all of them were hits in the US.

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Ida lLangsam:

When I was handling publicity for Sid Bernstein and his autobiography. I approached a member of the RnRHoF nominating and voting committee to bring up Sid's name for induction consideration. Sure, it would have been a good press ploy but Sid had as much merit being honored for having brought The Beatles to America and put the first rock band into the venerable Carnegie Hall, and bringing them back the next year to Shea Stadium, the first sold out rock concert in a venue that size, and some of the other firsts he perhaps unwittingly caused to happen in his history or concert promoting. I was told in no uncertain terms that I could forget about it because not only was Sid an old man with no consumer name recognition who would not come off well on TV, but also (primarily) because another committee member, himself a concert promoter of acclaim, would NEVER allow another promoter to be inducted before himself. There was not even room for debate over the merit of the suggestion! It has zilch to do with merit! It's just some form of warped popularity contst amongst big boys in a very exclusive little club. If you're looking for a Hall of Fame based on merit, you're gonna have to start one of your own.

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Jim Vallance:

Chill. It's only Rock and Roll (but I like it).

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Michael Abramson:

And what about BS&T and Chicago??????????? Did thay not revolutionize the "manner" in which we listened to R&R?????? Give me a break!

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Shelly Schultz:

Rock and Roll is an art form, but most of all it was the "spirit" of the youth who created it and the young men and women who peddled it and promoted it, second only to the spirit of the kids who embraced it by buying those tickets to see it and records to own it and by living it…..There's no right or wrong….in fact it has become a museum and in a museum there should be something for everyone as long as it represents a culture. This place is no different from the Metropalitan Museum or the Baseball Hall of Fame… it has become a political fiefdom for some folks and a non profit venture that employs others. Frankly, in this world today, we have other things to get this worked up over….like our "premature extinction" because of intolerable political ideals…keep arguing your opinions……thank God there's that spirit remaining!!!! Anybody listen to the radio lately, for chrissake ????

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Karen Gordon:

I've never really cared about the R&R HoF other than just as more ideas for the collection.. BUT, wow!! I wanna weigh in here too!!!

I completely agree with Jordan Berliant.
Blondie was a totally original band. It captured something essential and, probably most interestingly and fortuitously brought that real alternative sound onto the pop charts which had a major ripple effect on everything else.
Was Blondie the first one to break through?! Without researching it I can't remember off hand. When did the Talking Heads come into the picture?? BUT, American radio especially was resistant to the whole punk thing happening in the U.K. and NYC. Blondie were clearly 'New York', off the mainstream in every way.. and the fact that they broke through to the pop charts, I think, was EXTREMELY significant. In fact, I don't think you can underestimate the way that opened things up for radio.. They never pandered or changed their sound to be more commercial and more successful.. .. They always seemed to just be true to their original musical ideas.. That alone should qualify them for the HoF.
Plus Debbie's entire image and attitude was revolutionary in terms of American mainstream. And the fact that when Chris got sick, she just hung with them, adds that little soupcon of mensch-dom to the whole thing.

You're 200 per cent right about Laura Nyro.. I'm shocked she's not in the Hall..
Still, all these years later, she stands out as completely original.. And those songs –and the performances –are stunningly beautiful..

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Charles Crossley, Jr:

I'm just a fan of rock and roll, and I have to say a few things.

Yeah, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is political, and I feel that if Jann Wenner, vice president of the R&RHoF, hasn't been directly influencing the nominations, he has an indirect influence based on the sheer fact that most if not all the journalists on the nominating committee have worked for or published through Rolling Stone. We can swap Wenner rumors till the cows go home; there's certainly enough of them, and I doubt an autobiography will ever clear them up.

Speaking of Wenner, the first few Lifetime Achievement Awards for non-performers that were doled out were given to dead people, like John Hammond or Nesuhi Ertegun. Not even Ahmet Ertegun was inducted in this category. All of a sudden, starting with the 2004 inductions, we see the great Jann S. Wenner (why all this "S." business all of a sudden?) inducted for a lifetime achievement award, and, jokes aside, he ain't dead yet. Now, despite lifetime greats like Clive Davis or Mo Ostin not receiving this honor, we see Frank Barsalona, Seymour Stein, and Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss get this honor, and, if I may quote Monty Python, THEY'RE NOT DEAD YET! But, hey, I'm may just be upset because Quincy Jones, Tom Dowd and Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff haven't been inducted as non-performers, so you tell me, am I right about this? That they should induct non-performers as Non-Performers, like they used to, and after they've died, to consider awarding them a Lifetime Achievement Award?

Someone, I think it was Ben Liemer, mentioned Big Mama Thornton as if she was inducted. She hasn't been inducted. Various people have complained about the greatest omissions from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Here's my top 50, and I can defend every one of them, even the ones that have been slagged already (R.E.M. becomes eligible next year, so they're already on this list):

1. Johnny Burnette Rock 'N' Roll Trio
2. Big Mama Thornton
3. John Mayall's Bluesbreakers
4. Billy Ward & His Dominoes
5. Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five
6. Gram Parsons
7. Link Wray
8. Dick Dale
9. The Stooges
10. Kraftwerk
11. T. Rex
12. R.E.M.
13. Paul Butterfield Blues Band
14. King Crimson
15. The Patti Smith Group
16. Alice Cooper
17. Dionne Warwick
18. Love
19. Kurtis Blow
20. Esther Phillips
21. The Clovers
22. Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes
23. Captain Beefheart
24. Junior Wells
25. Brian Eno
26. MC5
27. Patsy Cline
28. Linda Ronstadt
29. New York Dolls
30. Television
31. The "5" Royales
32. Ben E. King
33. Mary Wells
34, The Ventures
35. Chic
36. Huey "Piano" Smith & the Clowns
37. Jeff Beck
38. Albert Collins
39. Donna Summer
40. Joe Tex
41. Van Halen
42. Neil Diamond
43. Teddy Pendergrass
44. Junior Parker
45. Yes
46. The Cadillacs
48. The Chantels
49. Wanda Jackson
50. The Moody Blues

I base the list on an opinionated assessment of catalog and concert performance and, more importantly to me, influence. I submit it, not to brag or to show how much I need a life, but to illustrate the bottleneck. It's subject to change, but I found I don't change the ranking that much. There are so many worthy artists that haven't been nominated, let alone inducted, that I have to consider anyone making my top 100 is deserving of induction as soon as possible. If you don't like my ranking, go and make your own ranking.

About Blondie, they were in my top 17, along with the Sex Pistols and Black Sabbath (Miles Davis was 20, and Lynyrd Skynyrd were 33). A lot of bands looked up to them in the 29 years up until now. Most of everything else I can say about this group, such as its four #1 hits, its brilliant incorporation of all the changing styles between the late 70s and early 80s, the fact that Deborah Harry and Chris Stein wrote most of their songs and Mike Chapman didn't write ANY, not even on "Parallel Lines", the fact that Blondie is recognized and honored by rap artists for being the first to take rap to number one ("Rapture"),. . . . I mean, what can you say about a band that reunites after years of acrimony, puts out the typical so-so veteran album ("No Exit") yet generates the buzz, sales and concert attendance of a great band? I mean, they bravely combined punk, disco, new wave, reggae, rap and the kitchen sink, and they did so with great success. I feel they were largely responsible for disco metamorphosing into 80s dance rock and pop. Whether that's true or not, I feel Madonna would be the best person to induct them. If not her, then No Doubt.

Along those lines, I feel Trent Reznor should induct Black Sabbath, Garth Brooks should induct Lynyrd Skynyrd, Green Day should induct the Sex Pistols (if Johnny Lydon could resist the urge to kick their butts), and Miles Davis should be inducted by a combination of Wayne Shorter, Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, and George Clinton, just to emphasize how wide-ranging Davis' influence on jazz-rock and rock has been.

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Michael Fremer:

Everyone living in the world today should be given an award and then as people are born they should get one and then the whole AWARD idea should be KILLED….Today I heard about some stupid VH-1 Award show about who was "hot" in 2005. All crap, but at the end they said Beck was going to perform. Ugh. Whoever advised him to do that should get an award: the PUTZ award.

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Steve Rosenblatt:

Blondie does not belong in the Rock Hall, I am a big fan of theirs, saw 'em open for the Ramones at the Whisky a million years ago. My brother and I stayed for the second set (remember when bands played two sets a night at clubs! ) and they were great, but the Rock Hall, I don't think so.

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Melissa Ward:

and one more thing about Laura. she recorded gonna take a miracle, an homage to her rock and roll, r & b roots in 1971 when most folks were so far away from being aware of that genre of music. she did it out of love and admiration, not to make money or have more fame.

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David Perri:

gregory gray: "don't under rate pop music…it ages better than a lot of woefully serious rock"

I have to disagree… you're telling me that frankie goes to hollywood or "credible" pop like early madonna has aged better than joy division or husker du or the cure's existentially dark first five records?

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Steve Berlin:

I got all excited he was talking about Los Lobos…oh well…

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Andy Faver:

"Do you think a band who has been together for 30 years with the same members for 29 of those years, who always played their own parts live and in the studio (a very few exceptions in the studio) has extremely devoted fans, has challenged themselves for each and every album, never to repeat themselves, and has (sadly or happily) never been on the cover of Rolling Stone… should ever get in the RnRHOF. Of course I am talking about RUSH. I don't think they will ever get what is due them until one of them passes away, then of course they will get recognition. Look at some of the bands who have been nominated to the RnRHoF that so incredibly lame compared to RUSH."

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Ira Friedman:

Rock and roll by nature goes completely against having a HOF. What was once a medium for rebellion and chaos is now a way of life you can be rewarded for in the Waldrof in a room full of rich, out of touch has beens reliving their past as a fantasy that never would have actually taken place(Jim Morrison in the Waldorf? he would have pissed all over the tuxedos).

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame should be held in CB's (since their inducting almost everyone who ever played there) and should end with one collective chug from a bottle of Jack, a huge spew of puke, some pills to wash it down, and a bunch of blown marshall amps being kicked all over the place. At least then the real Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will be able to live on and not move to Vegas where Wenner and his buddies can walk through with their with martinis in hand reminiscing about all the nights they never spent there.

At least baseball has stats to go on and not how much $ the players made for their team's owner over the course of a career.

The real rock and roll hall of fame is in every shitty club in every city in this country and no trip to Cleveland is gonna fix that.

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Mike Mettler:

Jake Gold: "One word, RUSH."

100 percent AGREE. They've even had some of their gear, memorabilia, etc., on display in the Hall in Cleveland (the town that helped break them in the U.S. in '74), fer cryin' out loud…

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Jordan Berliant:

Response to John Brody:

"Rapture" came out 6 years before "Walk This Way" w/Run DMC & Aerosmith. I'm not saying that "Walk This Way" wasn't important—it was. I'm saying that "Rapture" is widely regarded as the FIRST commercially successful song that included a Rap. Don't take my word for it—go check it out yourself.

As to your comments re: Madonna, etc., read what she (and other artists) has to say in the press (all within the last 2 years):

"When I was starting out as a singer and songwriter I was hugely influenced by Debbie Harry. I thought she was the coolest chick in the universe." Madonna

"Doesn't every smart woman like Debbie Harry? There are so many who have followed in her footsteps, that don't hold a candle to her. Debbie did it with style, grace and humour, and never took herself too seriously. That's what makes her stand out among the pretenders to her throne." Shirley Manson, Garbage

"I think there was a very obvious sexual energy to her work and to her persona, and speaking as an unapologetic feminist, she was way ahead of the curve in term of what was going to come later – certainly it was part of what Madonna seized on…" Michael Stipe

"She took the role of being a glamorous rock n' roll singer, but always with a wink to let you know this was just a part she was playing. She let you know musically and physically this was all kind of a game to her." David Byrne

"Debbie Harry. She was a pre-Madonna. I loved Blondie. She'd take a garbage bag and put tape on it and wear it like a dress. Of course, she was so beautiful too." Cyndi Lauper

"Before Madonna, No Doubt's Gwen Stefani, Garbage's Shirley Manson or any of the Spice Girls, there was gorgeous Blondie lead singer Debbie Harry….Debbie was one of the first to open doors for women." New York Post

"Debbie Harry's grin may have won over men and women alike 20 years ago but it's her music, her sassiness and her obvious strength that have made her a lasting influence. Madonna, Courtney Love, Spice Girls, bow down the lot of you to the Powerpop Queen." – Guardian (UK)

"David Davies, Editor of Q magazine said, ' You can see that Debbie Harry was very much an icon for a lot of the bands today and perhaps cruelly neglected for a time.'" London Times

Re: the marriage of reggae & pop—sorry, but that 3 Dog Night song? That's the best you can do??? Was that song even CLOSE to the hit that "Tide Is High" was?

In response to DavidSince1984…

I think you're mistaken. I can send you video tapes of Blondie performing with several current hip-hop stars. I think you meant to say that no one in the hip-hop community knows who YOU are…

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Debbie Newman:

Here are two more artists who have not been inducted that I think are long overdue: Little Feat and Joe Cocker.

I was just going through my record collection, and found two more artists that I can't believe were never inducted — Chicago and Blood, Sweat & Tears.

How is it possible that these seminal groups were never inducted? It's beyond my comprehension.

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Dan Bryk:

Thanks to your muckraking, Bob, this is the first time I actually bothered to look at the list of inductees.

I agree with most of what people have been suggesting, particularly Eno (merely as a PRODUCER he earns it) and the Stooges. But everyone so far seems so "classic rock"/guitar music-centric… you wanna consider ONE seminal band that inspired an entire GENRE and endless subgenres that are still evolving today?

Then where the @#$%&^* is Kraftwerk?

Direct influence on rock, funk, rap ("Planet Rock" anyone?), techno, ambient and god knows what other musical forms.

As for Blondie, if you'd been a high school kid during their prime you'd understand. I agree that someone else might have come up with a rap/pop hybrid sooner or later, but the sound of "Call Me" on an AM radio when you're 13 years old… the thump of that 808 against Clem Burke's muscular fills against those buchla pads against those guitars… that was still a new and revelatory sound for top 40 that blew my mind.

And getting back to my original point, I'm sure that Georgio Moroder would have plenty to say about Kraftwerk blowing HIS mind…

___________________________________________

Gene Oberto:

I sent the club a wire stating, PLEASE ACCEPT MY RESIGNATION. I DON'T WANT TO BELONG TO ANY CLUB THAT WILL ACCEPT ME AS A MEMBER.

Groucho Marx
US comedian with Marx Brothers (1890 – 1977)

If this doesn't sum up what the Hall of Fame should mean to anyone with the true spirit of Rock and Roll. Not too many years ago, this was the furthest thing from any of our minds. Just being in Cleveland ought to tell you of its true value. The inductees won't even go there. Not enough Dom, I guess. Except for selling catalog, time on VH1 and some intriguing match-ups (has Bruce not played with anyone?) no one really cares. I mean do you set aside your evening to watch?

No nomination changes my view of who I think is good or not. It doesn't change who you put in your ear to hear, either. Favorite artists are like backsides, everybody's got one.

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David Katz:

Not inducting Laura Nyro into the R&RHOF is a sacrilege plain and simple. And leaving out Anthony & the Imperials and the Spaniels comes damn close.

Not mention here yet: Where the hell is the Frank Zappa exhibit? How can you have a R&RHOF without proper homage to Frank Zappa? It's amazing the Czech Republic (founded by a collective of political Frank Zappa worshippers who named him Minister of Culture as one of their first acts) hasn't declared war on the United States over this issue.

___________________________________________

Rhonda Markowitz:

Today I received a call from the estimable Bob Merlis, who sits on the nominating board of the R&RHOF, and also happens to currently represent John Mellencamp in matters of public relations.
He clarified that Mellencamp has indeed been nominated to the HOF, but not through any agency of Jann Wenner's (and I might add that, given Mellencamp's body of work, he should not be in need of any such assistance). Mr. Merlis also pointed out that, despite the friendship involved, Mellencamp has still not been inducted. Induction, of course, involves voting by many others besides the nominating committee. So, a poor example.
From several discussions I had with another member of the nominating committee (no name will be provided), I got the idea that Mr. Wenner had the power to keep anyone he didn't like from being nominated. Mr. Merlis assured me that this was absolutely not so.

I also made an unwarranted mental leap from the previously mentioned private conversations: That if Mr. Wenner did, in fact, have the power to exclude, he also had the power to include. I have been set straight on this point by Mr. Merlis, and so ask you to set others straight on it as well.

As the immortal Bogart said in Casablanca: "I was misinformed."

___________________________________________

Tom Dumont, guitar for No Doubt

Hey Bob,

A friend turned me on to your list a few months ago, and I really enjoy reading it and agree with you often about what I call the "spirit of rock" . Here's my brief history so you know where I'm coming from:

I'm 37 and grew up in the 70's and 80's listening mostly to classic and hard rock. I've played guitar in bands since I was 13 years old, my first performance was playing "Overture" and "Temples of Syrinx" from Rush's 2112 at my 7th grade Junior High Talent show. That's when I really caught the Spirit. Anyway at 21 years old I joined No Doubt, and I have to say for the last 17 years we've had an amazing ride.

So I'll get to my comments about Gwen Stefani's "meaning" in rock. Firstly I'll just say that long before Gwen appeared in a single MTV video, she and me and No Doubt were sweating it out in packed clubs and touring the US in vans for years. And were able to do that because I can say with honesty that we really were a fucking great live rock band. We have a pretty serious history, and the heft of this list does relate the meaning of our band, (//nodoubt.com/tour/tourarchive.html target=new>http://nodoubt.com/tour/tourarchive.html) and here’s why:

It looks to me like most of the debate here about the meaning and importance of an artist like Debbie Harry or Gwen Stefani misses something key; that these artists held great importance to vastly more females than males. I'm pointing out what should be obvious here- that a dude is simply not going to understand the relationship of a female rock listener to her female idols. And I am talking about music here, not style. Even if you don't get Blondie or Garbage or Avril Lavigne or No Doubt, there are girls out there for whom these artists mean everything. It's all about who you are, and for every 40 year old male rock lover who writes off Debbie Harry, I can show you a female with the opposite feeling.

___________________________________________

Jimmy Fox:

After reading and trying to digest the myriad responses to the R&RHOF piece, it seems to me that a comment is in order. Perhaps we need to distinguish between the artists who are TALENTED and those who are POPULAR. There are plenty of both in the Hall. I don't think I ever read a mission statement, so I don't know what the initial goal was, but it seems to me that the powers that be cater to both contingents. When the two groups converge, you get inductees who are no-brainers, such as BEATLES, STEVIE WONDER, etc. But when an inductee is clearly in one camp or the other, you get to hear from the other camp. This was the case with BLONDIE. While few would dispute that they were POPULAR, you could fill a book with opinions about their TALENT or lack of it!!

As a musician, I naturally lean towards the TALENT side. As such, I have my favorites who seem to have been ignored. Butterfield, Bloomfield, Gram Parsons, etc. are all good examples (as per prior responses), and there are many, many more. But it does not appear that those who make these decisions feel that way. Popularity certainly carries weight with some of them, and perhaps a bit of good old New York jingoism as well.

I see similarities with the Baseball Hall of fame-there are some great arguments to be had. With baseball, the arguments seem to be part of the fun. At least the R&RHOF has not leaned on CHARACTER as a criterion for admission; if so, we'd be looking at a pretty short list and a big empty room…:-).

I live in Cleveland so I have the luxury of dropping by the R&RHOF as often as I please. Any place you can visit where you can see Jim Morrison's Cub Scout uniform is OK with me. The "Museum" part is terrific and anyone who tries can find a ton of stuff on display there that is mind-blowing! As for the "HALL of Fame" part, well, maybe music and music lovers can benefit from this dialog just as the baseball freaks enjoy their discussion about who gets to represent their sport in their Hall. In fact, maybe some of us are the same people!! You know what they say about opinions…

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Bob Davis:

The following comment is an example of many comments that I have seen over the past few days regarding the 2005 RRHOF Inductions, with respect to the inclusion of Blondie…

——————————–
"Rapture" came out 6 years before "Walk This Way" w/Run DMC & Aerosmith. I'm not saying that "Walk This Way" wasn't important—it was. I'm saying that "Rapture" is widely regarded as the FIRST commercially successful song that included a Rap. Don't take my word for it—go check it out yourself.
——————————–

I'd just like to make one small correction to CLARIFY what this person is REALLY saying

——————————–
I'm saying that "Rapture" is widely regarded as the FIRST commercially successful song that included a Rap
——————————–

I guess "RAPPERS DELIGHT" by the SUGAR HILL GANG doesn't figure in this conversation??? Wasn't that a "commercially sucessful song"?

(or for that matter "Minnie the Moocher" – Cab Calloway in 1936)

I just wanted to clarify things what this person is REALLY saying. They are REALLY saying that…

THE ONLY HISTORY THAT COUNTS IS THE HISTORY THAT WHITE PEOPLE MAKE

I wish that this had been an isolated incident. But it wasn't…

Here in the year 2005 WHITE PRIVILEGE exists in the hearts and minds of many WHITE PEOPLE. I wish that weren't the case But it is…

Sometimes, somethings aren't really worth arguing about. They are just dumb statements, right? But if enough people say them and they say them enough times. Thats how them become FACTS.

The multiplier effect of CULTURE BANDITRY and internal KNEE-GRO BRAINWASHING has a devestating effect on Black people. The combined effect of the two is what allows the SLAVE MENTALITY to kick in, resulting in the MENTAL ILLNESS of BLACK SELF HATRED.

Now I have no doubt that if I were to point this out to the individual, they would say something along the lines of… "Sheesh…..your right…., i'm sorry…"

Or they might even suggest that I am being overly "sensitive". (BLAME THE VICTIM)

BUT THE REALITY IS THAT THEY WILL SAY IT AGAIN AND AGAIN UNTIL IT BECOMES A FACT.

:::and that's why:::
::::::::they call it::::::::::
::::::::::::::HIStory::::::::::

We really do need our own "Hall of Fame". That is the ONLY way for this situation to be corrected. I am convinced of that, now more than ever. There are various grassroots efforts in various cities to do just that and Soul-Patrol is actively working with these folks. The ONLY condition that I have for lending my support is that NO WHITE PEOPLE BE ALLOWED INTO THE INDUCTION PROCESS.

However I am also convinced that our people won't ever support such an institution. That is because we are also BRAINWASHED into believing that…

THE ONLY HISTORY THAT COUNTS IS THE HISTORY THAT WHITE PEOPLE MAKE

I really do hate segregation.

But there are times when I really do understand exactly why in 1979 in Youngstown Ohio during a failed bank robbery that resulted in 6 bank employees being held hostage by a single Black man with a gun, why he said when asked by the police what he wanted in return for the release of the hostages….

"I WANT ALL OF THE WHITE PEOPLE REMOVED FROM THE FACE OF THE EARTH"

Of course he was eventually killed…

NP: "Teach Your Children Well…"
–Crosby, Stills and Nash

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Alannah Myles:

Bob,

Okay, Tom's comments are at best enlightening, at worst, wasted on the dominance of the boys club to which rock and roll has always aspired.

Perhaps if I'd strapped on a telecaster and pranced round coltishly like Prince across a stage bearing all of my finest James Brown licks, or succumbed to the male powers that be with every ounce of my feminine wiles; I'd not be regarded by the general public as little more than a "one hit wonder". Being of Canadian birth, and with no axe to grind, I am still viewed as an interpreter of people's emotions, a reflection of the American culture to whom I owe my influence and for those other female singers who have aspired to fill my position.

Rather than cringe with each misplaced note from every Eye Doll wannabe, crooning my notes while being judged for every curve, I embraced the knowledge that I'm a reflection of what turns the hairs up on one's exterior. A chanteuse with a God-given ability to embrace people everywhere, not just in North America but around the world. Black Velvet was recently the brunt of a British joke in their eye doll pop contest in which their "Simon" racketeered openly in an attempt to pigeonhole the song's origins in "rock, not pop" (like there's a difference anymore). This protest saw little more than the gratuitous sale of merchandise, epitomizing his "no more Black Velvet" theory and by negation, I was popular for yet another fleeting moment. Madonna must have been between albums.

An opinion carries meaning only in the eyes of it's maker and perhaps for all those who rally around it giving it weight. But the baseball analogy is a terrific metaphor for the argument of who's who in the world of music. Isn't it a terrific world of entertainment that sees us as individuals making mountains out of molehills for mere recognition factor. A splendid display of passion~! I wonder if Miss Joplin had any clue of what we would turn ourselves into as she swilled her last amphetamine with a little Southern Comfort & Jack?

When I was a nobody in a country where the hope of accomplishing what we did was next to implausible, all I cared about was how to move people with my voice. I sang in the studio year after struggling year building the bridge from obscurity to notoriety without the motivation to be awarded for something I was going to do anyway, come hell or high water.

The hell has arrived. The past is drowning in the high water of our forefather's pitiless mistakes and what have we left? Some dispute over Blondie or Gwen? I would never have imagined in my lifetime that the merits I had striven so indefatigably to retain would prove worthless in a world of senseless pursuit of fame for the sake of more fame. Bring on the revolution! Let's watch the towers of Babylon be burned to the ground, and with them, all of the self-aggrandized glory of the Gods.

Many years ago I slept with a rock God, presuming incorrectly that it was to fulfill the laws of attraction only to have been reviled by the egotistical and paranoid attitude that I might receive more notches in my bedpost than he?! Definitely, Tom makes a poignant point. It sure is different for chick singers than it is for the guys. Their motivations for getting into the business are often at odds with the reality of remaining in it. And for all those in noble pursuit of bringing the voice of the people back to the people.

I say Brav-the-f*ck-O!!!

P.S. Tell Tom No Doubt ROCKS and that's all that really matters?

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