What kind of crazy, fucked-up world do we live in where Whitney Houston gets inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Judas Priest, Soundgarden and Todd Rundgren are not?
One in which the voters have lost all credibility, putting money over art, debasing the rock ethos and history to the point of irrelevance.
Come on, the only thing Whitney Houston has in common with rock is she O.D’ed!
Then they constantly wank about influences, yup, Patti Smith is gotta be in because she broke ground and influenced those at home. What new ground did Whitney Houston break? Another pop singer, so what? As for legacy…what did we get, “American Idol”? And to tell you the truth, Mariah Carey is more of an influence than Whitney, yup, melisma reigns on TV competition shows.
Or is it because she married Bobby Brown and became a bad girl?
This is execrable, this is sacrilegious, I feel like the Nazi during “Springtime For Hitler”…I knew rock and roll, I was there, these people have NO CLUE!
The biggest breakthrough in rock and roll, what built classic rock, was FM radio.
Yup, the Beatles opened the door and then underground FM radio blew the doors off. FM stations played music AM wouldn’t dream of, or if AM played it it was eons late (kind of like terrestrial radio today if you think about it, stuff breaks on streaming services).
As a result of FM we got extended songs. We got side-long opuses. We got album-length extravaganzas. Yup, there’s more rock and roll in “Thick As A Brick” than in any song by Whitney Houston EVER!
But Jethro Tull can’t be in the Rock Hall because Ian Anderson is not warm and fuzzy and the band stole that Grammy from Metallica, even though that was the mistake of the ignorant Grammy voters, not the band.
Have you listened to “This Was”? A blues-rock masterpiece. I mean if you’re lauding Peter Green… And “Stand Up” is enough to induct any band. As for “Aqualung”… And if Kiss can get in based on popularity…were you alive in ’71, “Aqualung” RULED! “Cross-Eyed Mary” still populates classic rock radio, somewhere Whitney Houston was never played.
Kraftwerk? Only the most influential act in electronic music EVER! Yup, Kraftwerk were the progenitors, but according to the Rock Hall that’s not music.
Motorhead. Lemmy was the ESSENCE of rock and roll!
And anybody who doesn’t think Judas Priest has more rock bona fides in one song than Whitney Houston has in her whole catalog has another thing coming.
And Todd Rundgren is the genius behind Grand Funk’s “We’re An American Band”…talk about rock and roll. We’re getting further from our home.
Soundgarden was the first of the Seattle bands to break through.
And when it comes to Pat Benatar… She was referenced in “Fast Times,” she was the biggest female rock act of her era, but she’s EXCLUDED?
Have you listened to “In The Heat Of The Night”? “Heartbreaker” burst out of the speakers like a screaming track opening a Stones LP. Isn’t it all about grabbing listeners by the balls and making them listen? Name a Whitney Houston track that does the same thing, I dare you!
Never mind the definitive version of John Mellencamp’s “I Need A Lover”…talk about ATTITUDE! Isn’t that what rock is all about? Where’s Whitney Houston’s attitude?
And if you purchased “In The Heat Of The Night” because you just couldn’t resist, because you needed more, you were rewarded with Neil Giraldo’s “We Live For Love” to boot. Sure, Benatar had hit singles, but her albums were totally playable, satisfying, whereas Houston was all about hit singles, the definitive lightweight.
And “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” became part of the vernacular.
And the hits were endless, all over MTV when that channel still meant something, stuff like “Fire And Ice”…
“Oh, you’re givin’ me the fever tonight”
There’s more sexiness in the delivery of that one line than anything in Whitney Houston’s catalog…and isn’t that the essence of rock, what’s between the legs?
And with “Shadows Of The Night” and “Love Is A Battlefield” Benatar cemented her place in the firmament, girls started dressing like her…who ever started dressing like Whitney Houston?
This is why we had punk.
This is why the Seattle sound decimated the hair bands.
Yup, rock has a long history of eviscerating that which has become overbaked, pompous, that which is all style and no substance…AND NOW WHITNEY HOUSTON IS IN ITS HALL OF FAME?
Rock was about innovation, testing limits, no one had heard a song like “Bohemian Rhapsody” before it existed…what limits did Whitney Houston test?
And there’s been a constant struggle between artistry and money. Used to be a badge of honor to be into that which was not mainstream but was excellent nonetheless. Those are the acts and albums we treasure.
And you wonder why rock is dead.
You need people to stand up for values, to say no.
This is just like the government, this is just like America today, it’s about what’s expedient, those with the most bucks triumph, they get what they want. Who in the hell pushed for Houston’s inclusion, never mind nomination? Give me the reasons once again, because I’m completely flummoxed. Yup, I want the Rock Hall to defend this position.
But no, it’s faceless. We’re supposed to trust these dudes, and it is mostly dudes, while they destroy not only the institution, but the history of rock itself. Yup, if you were born in the last twenty years you’re now gonna think Whitney Houston was a big rocker, whom we all respected. THAT COULDN’T BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH!
And what did John Lennon sing…GIMME SOME TRUTH!
So the truth is rock is about the people who make it, where they’re coming from, what they have to say. It’s about outsiders who the audience gravitates to, not the reverse. Once you start giving people what they want you don’t deserve to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
If there’s no one to induct, skip a year.
But certainly, install true rockers before someone who represents everything rock fans HATE!
Responses from Bob’s readers – please note that these comments are unedited for grammar or content.
Preach on, Brother! They vote “safe,” just like they create their records… and then wonder why there’s no business….
Whitney in the RnR HOF = LAME
I’m also still pissed they screwed Dave Abbruzzese!
A fucking men! That’s why our industry no longer has credibility. Thank you Bob.
what a bunch of idiots…
Tom “Smitty” Smith
Cox Media Group/S.P. Unlimited
Uh oh, here come the ‘woke’ crowd to play the ‘You’re a Nazi racist’ card.
But yeah…great POP pipes and that’s about where her talent ends.
You are so right – the R&RHoF is just a bunch of bullshit. Always was, always will be.
We will all understand when Clive does the induction.
I agree with everything you said except if Todd Rundgren was a genius it was for “A Wizard, A True Star” and Something Anything. His production credits for others were good but his first 4 or 5 albums were truly great . I had the good fortune of seeing his band Utopia live in 1973 and the musicianship was as good as you get.
And WARREN ZEVON! His absence alone exposes the R&RHOF as the ridiculous institution that it is.
This issue never seems to go away and Jan and the board just keep chuckling.
Years ago there was some poll from a local radio station and the top ten list as nominees included someone like The Cowsills or the Partridge Family or someone like that and I flipped. I sent a scathing email about Steve Miller not being on that list and then got into it with the DJ who posted it. When he found out I was a veteran band member he brought me in for an on air interview and so began my quest to get my boss inducted.
I actually became friends with the DJ who’s real name was “Dusty Rhodes” ( I know can you believe it?!??) and I eventually met the program director Pepper Daniels who plays my new products from time to time that I write or produce.
But the Rock Hall is a joke as Miller went postal on in 2016 and I guess they are trying to induct more women now which was something our Joker cited.
But yeah, Whitney’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” isn’t exactly “ Breakin the Law” that’s for sure!
Kenny Lee Lewis
I agree with everything you said.
But she did sing the best Super Bowl National Anthem ever!
This letter gave me pause. I adored Whitney. Just a marvelous voice and talent, but she was manufactured/creatively and personally flawed and had nothing to do with the R&R HOF. Good letter. jimmy risk
In my opinion, the list of inductees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has been terrible from the very start. First off, why are we inducting acts that preceded and influenced rock into the hall of fame? If I go to the Baseball Hall of Fame, do I want to see a wall of cricket players? If I go to the Football Hall of Fame, do I expect half of the inductees to be Rugby or Soccer players? No! It’s a bunch of snobs who think rock lacks legitimacy or have an inferiority complex deciding who gets the accolades. Are even a third of these inductees rock artists? https://www.rockhall.com/inductees/a-z
I call it the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Shame, as I’m sure many other people do as well. How in the fuck can Todd Rundgren be overlooked for so many years? Not only as a musician but as a producer! Sheesh! If it weren’t for Kraftwerk, there would be no Depeche Mode or Nine Inch Nails! Quick, how many NIN songs can you name? Me…none, although I saw the open for David Bowie once, I couldn’t tell you the name of one song or album they put out. The Doobies belong in there. They rode the classic rock wave and are still played on the radio. They have longevity and my old buddy John Cowan of New Grass Revival fame is playing bass for them now, so I’m opinionated, but Whitney Fucking Houston? Did she ever write a single song? I don’t think so and I’m not going to go look. I’m over it!
Bob. Isn’t it obvious? Clive Davis. Tom Murphy
Yup. Whitney? Nah. Sad days.
Right on Bob. I’m neither a critic, a musician, nor an industry player; just an long time fan. You said it all and then some. No Jethro or Pat or Todd? Absurd and disappointing!
Bravo Bob …certain that this is not what Ahmet had in mind.
There should be a pop hall of fame. She’d be a good fit there.
No denying that she had the pipes – but so do the Three Tenors, and John McLauglin had the chops, and Bela Fleck can do inhuman things with the banjo in 13/4 time. None of that is rock & roll.
I must say, though, that Whitney is doing much better now, she hasn’t done any drugs in almost a decade…
Houston, we have a problem…
I told you this, once or twice. Said the same thing you did in the blog about Houston. But maybe you don’t remember that and who cares? The voting doesn’t mean shit. The place is a joke. Janet Jackson got in last year and was nowhere near the top 5. Fuck it. Fuck them. I’m gonna start a movement to vote the motherfucker out of existence. Useless shit heap. Shovel it into the fucking lake and let it bleed!
Beautiful voice. Beautiful person. Massive hits. Tragic end. This is hardly the description of what rock fans “hate.” That said, Whitney would probably agree with you, if she hadn’t “O.D.’d” as you so crassly recalled. Maybe she doesn’t belong in the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.” But the “Pop Music Hall of Fame,” if there was one? Abso-fucking-lutely. Maybe there should be, so rock purists like you don’t have to trash the spirit of a tragic, but supremely talented, human being.
Once again, you hit a nerve!
Thank you for having the balls to go on the record!!!
– bob cozzi
Bob, I love you and agree with so much of what you say. But I think you’re missing the point by pitting Whitney vs Pat – it implies there is only one spot for women. Which, sadly, looks true this year (again). I am Pat’s biggest fan – but the reason she was snubbed was not because of Whitney’s inclusion. It was because of the general exclusion of women. Remember Janet’s call to arms last year?
All the best,
Yes. Yes. YES!!!
Thanks so much, for putting this out there. I can tell you are just as angry as I am.
Why does this keep happening? It’s the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, not a popularity hall of fame!
Thin Lizzy, Priest, and Benatar (from this years ballot), should take the place of BIG and Whitney Houston. They are not rock. Nothing against them, but they don’t belong. Letting Whitney
Houston in, even considering her, weakens the status of every other act in there. Shame on them.
My boy Phil is shakin’ his head somewhere in Ireland…
Bob: As usual, you nailed it. I would have bet that Judas Priest and Pat Benatar were inducted years ago. Thank you for blaming the dumb Grammy voters for Tull’s win over Metallica. I was at the meeting where the committee allowed Tull to be entered in that category and the sentiment of the room, myself included, was that it would not be an issue since Tull wouldn’t win. That was a fatal mistake.
When Todd Rundgren was bumped last year by Janet Jackson I stopped voting.
Todd doesn’t care.And now I don’t care.
Blah blah blah.
Really? Who fucking cares!
Right fuckin on as usual, Bob!!
Andrew M. Zacks
Out of touch rant. Why beat on Whitney over the real issue?
“Jan Werner” personal playground is a fake institution, did you forget or are you on the team?
You hit the nail on the head.
My question who owns her shit and hopes to make a buck?
Ha. Here’s how politics (ie bias,liberal,media-driven politics,imo!) infects modern dialogue writ large: I assumed you’d be on the side of Whitney Is Rock here, just because it was obviously common sense that the opposite is true (and the Right assumes the Left is foreign to common sense, oc)! Ha.
Speaking for all of your Right-leaning acolytes, well played, kind sir. Benatar’s husband rocked and her drummer, quoting him now, had the best seat /view in R+R and was as under-rated as any rock drummer.
Love ya babe,
(Sheryl’s Sr Prom escort, I might add)
Sadly, your annual rant that I agree with 200%.
For me, Jethro Tull, but all the others you mentioned, and others that continue to be excluded.
I’ll refrain from visiting the HoF until they get real.
Thin Lizzy! Hello?
What a great critic! I happened to make a Spotify playlist with some excellent rock n’ roll song references you wrote! Take a look!
Thanks a lot for it!
Dead on Bob..no pun intended…always glad when someone stands up for what’s right and includes a dose of integrity. You delivered.
Let’s hope the RRHF backs out of this one gracefully, if that’s even possible.
I woke up this morning and read about Ms. Houston being inducted into the Hall of Fame. My reaction was WTF? Did she do some songs I don’t know about? This lady was pretty; she was a Las Vegas type performer; BUT NOT A ROCKER.
It is scary to see this group of posers at Rock & Roll Hall of Fame who weren’t even there when it was happening distort the history of Rock & Roll. I didn’t know they had disqualified bands and singers like Jethro Tull, Kraftwerk, Pat Benatar, Soundgarden. Good Lord… what is this world turning into?
Those in generations to come who have any interest in Rock & Roll will need to remember, “Don’t follow leaders, watch the parkin’ meters…”
I live in Chicago and the city sold their parking meter operations to a venture capital group in order to raise short term cash to meet budget obligations. It saddens me to see government institutions sell public assets to private venture capitalists who then employ those assets “like a business” in order to squeeze more cash out of “we the people.”
Rock spoke for the people. Rock will rise again some day.
Couldn’t agree more!
Here here, dude.
Long time reader, first time emailer. You nailed it… again. This is the final straw for me as a rock ’n roll fan. C’mon !
Straighten up and fly right RRHOF.
Is this what you all had in mind in 1986 ???
Completely and totally unacceptable…
Just like the Oscar’s, full of a bunch of pompous fools who are CLUELESS…
Never agreed with you more. What a crime!
Devo, The Pixies, Sonic Youth etc….the list can go on.
Yes it’s an honor, however, the show itself is a joke, with useless applauses and people thinking about the good old days when one song could convince someone to buy a whole album.
It’s obvious the voters pick who they want. Kraftwerk, Motorhead, and Judas should have all gone in.
I agree Whitney was amazing, but she wasn’t groundbreaking. Kraftwerk is 10x more influential.
And the Dave Matthews Band on the ballot? Great band, but I mean their contribution is getting fans to smoke weed and become trust fund hippies?
But ya know what, they’ll have their party, Diddy will show up, and if you happen to be doing nothing on a slow summer night, maybe you’ll watch it or maybe just binge watch Motorhead, Judas Priest, and Kraftwerk videos on YouTube.
Dan Rosenberg in Bev Hills
Thank you for your expressing what many of us felt today. And for pointing out just how great a band Jethro Tull was well before Aqualung!
Who the fuck thought putting Houston in was a thing???
The hall wasn’t a great idea to begin with, but it now has zero cred.
Is there a way to uninvite Houston? Protest? Anyone?
So long RHOF, you’re dead to me.
How about Ted nugent ? Should he be in there ? Never mind politics.
Whitney or Judas Priest…why complain now? This ship sailed long ago. With total respect to some of the greatest soul singers of all time: James Brown, Aretha, Ray (What’d I Say? well there’s an arguable exception)…they’re just not Rock and Roll. Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino: Legends! Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, even BB King…legends of something else altogether. It’s kind of an insult to all of these monumental artists to deny them their true fans and place in the fabulous mosaic of music culture and history. Kind of like calling Kenny G (not Garrett) a jazz artist. Can’t be in the same genre as Coltrane no matter how many bought the CD.
Yeah, I know what you mean Bob. It’s strikes me as weird too. But even back in the 80’s when the RNRHOF was started, they inducted Marvin Gaye one year, and then The Supremes another. “Rock ’n’ Roll”??… definitely not in the way I think of the term lol. That would be like have an R’n’B/Soul HOF, and inducting The Foo Fighters, no??
So it seems that the meaning of the institution’s title has always been a bit “off”. They should just call it the Music Hall Of Fame, and leave it at that. I’m sure if most people were to go on Wiki and look at the list, they would be amazed at some of the artists that the HOF consider “Rock ’n’ Roll”.
I agree with you Bob, the term R’n’R implies edginess, rebellion, a rite of passage, a social commentary, people that have sweated and slummed it for their art, people that never gave up on swimming against the current. Half the artists that have been inducted have nothing in common with those traits at all, which surely lessens the accolade for those artists that actually do. Bizarre.
New name: The Hipster Hall Of Fame
Nothing to do with rock music for many years now.
I went to the Hall for the first time a few years ago. There was a lot of dust on Biggy’s suit and it made me sad. What was it doing near Billy Joel’s gutted/abandoned old motorcycle? The rest of the exhibits looked similarly left-behind and lifeless. The plaque room or trophy room or whatever you want to call it is charmless. I was stunned that whomever’s in charge allows the plaques to hang on a wall that meets at a long sharp angle in a corner, at which point the inductee honors actually touch each other. The place is Bush League and generally a bummer. Don’t ask me about the gift shop prices!
Bob: I wish you had also mentioned WARREN ZEVON IS NOT IN THE RRHOF!!!!!
The eccentric and iconoclastic musician songwriter would appear to meet the requirements you lay out here on behalf of others!?
Don’t let your anger deter you from the fact that Whitney only broke the entire pop world. Ok, she’s not rock, but The National Anthem alone should get her in. Hell, the players themselves don’t even remember the game…just Whitney. An MJ level most will never achieve. Mariah was ridiculous (easily the best MTV Unplugged), but still nowhere near WH. Thought you had an ear, Bob.
I 100% agree! I couldn’t believe the list of those who got inducted, vs. the excellent, deserving MUST be a mistake list of those who didn’t.
It’s sad because I’m in the Rock business. It’s been my passion and livelihood since 1987. We’re slowly losing Rock history to the ”faceless dudes” that are all over the industry who have too much power, and no real soul.
Thanks for sending your letter today. The industry needs to see it!
When I got up this morning I was ready to send out congratulatory e mails to the guys in Soundgarden, Susan Silver and Vicky on what finally seemed like an overdue recognition of what they truly helped begin. I had always believed that the Rock Hall was supposed too represent ascending to the pinnacle of their craft but apparently I have been suffering under a terrible misunderstanding all these years.
So , I had my coffee put on the headphones and listened to Superunknown and for just a few minutes I remembered the feeling of working with a band that was at the very beginning of a change in direction of Rock and Roll. Then I took the headphones off and sent e mails to the guys , Susan Silver and Vicky telling them how sad I was that it didn’t happen. I guess people that work with Todd, Little Feat and Jethro Tull have gotten used to sending those e mails..I have lost all faith in the ability of my peers to pay respect where respect is due..Sad…
Need I remind you that Bon Jovi is in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame?
Thank you. Blame Clive. Please say something about Joe Cocker…
Asinine! But go figure…look what happened to RollingStone with all the Puree’d Pap it covers now. They’re both abominations. Is there a correlation? YUP! their directors have no fucking backbone. The Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame directors should all resign and/or have their lyin’ asses fired.
THANK YOU, Bob. You’ve once again thoroughly and entertainingly articulated the instant feeling felt reading a news item like this one.
As the kids used to say during diss fights in Philly, ‘Get ‘EM!’
Change the name from Rock and Roll to Pop Music Hall of Fame
And The Meters.
PLUS, Leo Nocentelli is The Most Sampled Guitar Player in History. His licks appear in over 400 rap tunes. FOUR HUNDRED.
Not including the riffs Jimmy Page pulled from him.
The Meters aren’t in the HOF? That makes no sense whatsoever.
No Meters, no rock n’ roll. Period. Full stop.
Lee T. Guzofski
It hasn’t been the “Rock & Roll” Hall of Fame for some time. It’s the “Pop Music” Hall of Fame. You sell big and have a radio play track record, you’re in.
Little Feat have never even been on the ballot, how is that possible?
Right on! Here’s a thought: Can you imagine Jim Morrison, Iggy Pop, Lou Reed or even Mick Jagger (just to mention a few) auditioning for any of these dipsh*t reality TV contests? Uncle Lou knocking out Heroin – now that would be entertaining! Down to a person, they’d all be dismissed for their unsavory attitudes. Doesn’t that say it all? Really?
James “Nox” Tuboid
Thanks for standing up for Tull. It still amazes me that a Rock act that could sell out 5 nights @ Madison Square Garden still has to wait
Yes Ian is my Friend But this is just plain ridiculous
And that rapper dude too? This is the Rock and Roll hall of fame? Or is it just some sort of general-duty-all-purpose-music hall of fame? Obviously, the latter.
Preach it Bob!!!!!
Excellent Bob…stay away from politics..MAGA
Fuckin A bubba!
I wish I could take credit for this line but all credit to stalwart musician/tour manager/author/sage/social commentator Danny Bland:
“Being upset about the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame nominees is like going to Chuck E Cheese and being outraged by the pizza.”
I don’t understand how Depeche Mode can be in before Kraftwerk! One doesn’t exist without the other.
Motorhead. Was, IS, and will always be the real shit.
If you think the rock hall is irrelevant now, wait until two years from now. Next year they’ll kill off the last of the great white buffalo by inducting the Foo Fighters. And after that there’s virtually no more first ballot hall of famers anywhere on the horizon.
Well said Bob, you know your gonna get blow back on this one but that’s why I read you, fuck’em!!
You’re exactly right. That place is phenomenal to visit but the inclusions and exclusions boggle the mind. To borrow a phrase from Dandy Don Meredith, “Turn out the lights. The party’s over.” Are England Dan and John Ford Coley in their yet? Probably; for singing Todd’s Love is the Answer.
Ok, a bit bias on my part , but, what about Rickie Lee Jones a real artist, before Whitney Huston. She may be a great singer , but just that, a singer. And certainly no relationship to rock and roll.
Hear you BUT grateful that Nine Inch Nails are finally getting inducted!
This is just like when the Grammy’s nominated Beyoncé for Best Rock Performance for ” “Don’t Hurt Yourself”.
Long live rock n roll.
Enough of the “R’n’R Hall of Fame”: they have no creditability whatsoever, in their efforts to be inclusive, they’ve forgotten it’s not ‘the Music Hall of Fame’. Whitney? Notorious B.I.G.? Gimme a break.
You nailed the usual suspects who belong in the “…Hall…” but in the late 60’s and into the 70s, you couldn’t avoid Steppenwolf. They were inescapable on the radio, they were in film, they created anthems that still resonate. “Born To Be Wild”., “Magic Carpet Ride”, “Rock Me”, “Monster” and “Pusher”. They epitomized rock in the day…and for me, they still do.
Could not agree more. Incredible pipes wasted on shitty pop music. This isn’t rock n roll by any definition. It’s corporate MTV era garbage, a footnote in music history. Again, talent does not = greatness.
Totally agree with all that you have said. I grew up in the MTV generation and pat benatar waa the queen.
Preach it Bob-
Thin Lizzy…gets nada. When the truest bad boy persona meets an Irish rocker poet….Phil Lynott who sang of bar brawls but left you with the poignancy of Yeats and James Joyce… and what we get instead is yet another inductee who sang on soundtracks for second rate movies. Dollars before sense, commerce before art.
And Todd, and Priest, and Soundgarden and……
The Hall of Fame is a joke…
Two Words: Clive Davis
Thanks Bob,Whitney was one of Clive’s girls.Will he get Alicia Keyes in next?Stay well Bob,have a great day,Ted Keane
Chake & Rufus — who did break new ground as a funk bank fronted by a woman — deserved to be in the Hall of Fame before Whitney, who while talented and popular, wasn’t really a game changer.
In response to your Whitney tirade… R&RHOF is for wankers and your spot on Bob… Whitney’s there for one reason Clive Davis…. and for inclusion as a woman of color … which is more important than substance …
I couldn’t agree with you more Bob. did you see the results of the fan votes? And how many people voted? Only one act, the Doobie Brothers, out of the top five fan votes got in. Pat & Neil were in second place in the fan voting Priest was at no.5! What the hell is that all about? they do fan voting for two months only to ignore the results… What’s the point of this?? #RockHallofShame
J J W
I agree with every word you say. But I have one question for you: why do you care so much? Who gives a shit about the RRHF? From the day they announced that there would be a RRHF, I have ignored it. Invisible corporate tastemakers deciding for me who the best bands were? No thx, fuck off. It’s only because you’re so plugged in that you care so much. “Turn off your mind and do yourself a favor” – I forget which nonRRHF band sang that lyric in the 1990s. The song was “Like a Bird that You Can’t See” (or something like that), and it’s in my own R&R Song Hall of Fame.
Bob – You’re whining about Whitney? Miles Davis is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. His ghost pukes on that.
Thank you! My God I can’t believe Houston AND a rapper. NO BENATAR??? AGAIN!??
I hope that place burns down.
Bob, you admittedly know a lot about rock music, no doubt, but you’re out of your depth here commenting on Whitney Houston’s contributions to music. I agree that putting Whitney in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is entirely nonsensical, but she was perhaps the greatest pure singer of her generation and an influence on many, many young R&B vocalists who came after her. I represent some of those singers, and I’ve heard them and others in the industry speak of her with reverence and awe. With all due respect, you’re really not in a position to make an informed comparison of Whitney vs. Mariah’s influence on R&B music, and the “bad girl” comment was really unnecessary and distasteful. Sorry, your columns are very enjoyable but sometimes you need to recognize when you’ve veered outside your expertise! You could have made the same point without dumping on a deceased artist who isn’t here to defend herself.
Robb W. Patryk | Partner
Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP
You’re wrong about this, Bob.
She opened doors for so many women that followed. Her songs were staples for 25 years. She changed the way every R&B singer stylized their voice ever since. Judas Priest? Soundgarden? Legacy is important. Ask any singer. Cornell was amazing.
But put a hit list together and ask anyone.
Only got so far with this, bob. You keep going to the fame puddle and expecting a different result. Just sing along with me in your best Ian Hunter voice ” all, all the gay dudes …”
Love the line about the OD.
Abrazo from highway 5
Andrew Loog Oldham
Freakin’ AMEN to all of that. Jethro Tull’s exclusion is the most criminal of all. But also agree about the impact and influence of Pat Benatar. Judas Priest yes. Rundgren yes.
Until The Replacements and/or Paul Westerberg get a nod I have zero interest in the Grammys. None. Whitney Houston had one of the most beautiful voices in all of pop music. But if that’s Rock ’n Roll then Jimi Hendrix redefined Klezmer.
Spot on Bob!!
Grand Funk Railroad will never be in the rock hall and all three can still play and you’re right. I wanna dance with somebody? Best thing Whitney ever did was her Star Spangled Banner. Then she became a crackhead and lost her chops, comeback was not good despite Oprah interview making it out to be as if her voice still held up. Yes Mariah is more relevant,
Toots and the Maytals should be in the HOF
All you can do with the Jann Wenner Hall of Memorabilia is ignore it. We all have our favorite omissions – mine are The Meters and Gang of Four – but harping on them will have no effect. This is a place that votes in Depeche Mode and not Kraftwerk. And always will.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a farce. It’s a made up list by Rilling Stone magazine. It’s capricious. It’s meaningless. Who cares what Jann Wenner wants?
Well done, well done
All true, but no surprise. The rock ‘n’ roll Hall of Fame has been a joke for years.
While I didn’t hate Whitney Houston by a long shot, she was no rock and roller. Not one single song. It is off they’re inducting her. There are so many artists I can think of as being more worthy.
Bob, Have to agree with you. Just worried your liberal friends will criticize you for being anti-diversity!!
Right on with your Hall of Fame comments, Bob
All I would add is “where’s Little Feat?”. I’m done caring about the place…But your Jethro Tull comments are spot on. Keep up the good work.
Thanks for giving Pat Benatar the credit she deserves – I couldn’t agree more. Listening to her records in high school settled any debate about rock being a boys club. Along with the Wilson sisters, she blazed the trail for the next generations of legit female rockers like Lzzy Hale, Lacey Sturm, Amy Lee, Korey Cooper & Jen Ledger – all continuing to keep rock very much alive! Fire & Ice and Hell Is For Children rock as hard as anything before or since!!
JW CLARKE | BIRDHOUSE GROUP
ha! very funny indeed. like inducting a disco artist.
does anyone really pay attention to RRHF anymore?
Now I can dig me some Whitney, she was great for what she was, insane singer, top shelf pedigree, super catchy songs and some of the DOPEST production, engineering and arrangements but it is kinda the opposite of rock. sound and ethos.
she’s pop thru and thru. should be inducted into pop hall of fame next to Streisand and Cher
her mom may have had more of an influence on the sound of rock then she did.
oh well god rest her soul, poor gal lost a battle
Re: Whitney Houston in the Rock & Roll “Hall Of Fame”
Two words: JOE FUCKING COCKER
What complete bullshit.
Whitney Houston in the HoF is all about the narcissist in chief of the music business, Clive f’ing Davis. Loves himself as much as Trump.
Pat Benatar’s “Promises In The Dark” was one of the best songs of the 80’s – including fantastic guitar work by Neil Giraldo!
At least the Doobie Brothers finally made it in. A well-deserved honor for a great band!
I don’t usually get drawn into these arguments every year, but – two words: Thin Lizzy.
(Plus Cissy was cooler, anyway)
I don’t always agree with you, but you’ll get no argument on this one. So many acts belong in the Hall of Fame, but not Whitney.
I LOVED this screed. The RRHOF is a truly worthless institution but more than any act whom you mentioned, the omission of The Smiths proves that.
Beware of darkness,
Not keen on your politics but you are spot on! Everyone should Inundate the RNRHOF Instagram page with the middle finger icon! That is what Rock is. Saying Fuck You to the man! This is utter bullshit!
Whitney – great voice, but I’m with you. My mouth fell open when I saw that! And I’d been listening to Sirius classic rock stations with the “fan vote” count for weeks. No mention of Whitney. Whitney????
Did Clive Davis rig this?
Hmmm, interesting rant!
Where did Rock & Roll come from? I’ll answer; Well there ‘Rumble’ and Link Wray, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Little Richard, Chuck Berry i.e. the Blues & Gospel, before Elvis, Bill Haley and The Beatles or The Stones or any of those who came after who began to call it ‘Rock’ as to lose the ‘Roll’! Shall we quibble over semantics or who owns what or who gets the right to call what, what?
Just sayin’ & keepin history honest!
Her Mom was a good singer.
I lost all respect for the RRHOF when they started inducting Rappers and Hip Hop. Granted it is a form of music (well in some peoples opinion). But they should have their own institution honoring artists. There are tons of bands out there that deserve induction. Little Feat comes to mind because of their influence on Rock music and on aspiring artists. Plenty more. T-Rex? Really?
This seals it, there is absolutely no meaning to this institution or awards. Just another money grab and I’m no longer sure for who.
A gigantic AMEN! to all of that!! Whitney and not Pat Benatar is reason enough to riot!
The RRHOF is a fucking joke. Thry just need to close the doors, or start inducting clowns into the hall too. Oh wait, they already have.
It started with Madonna.
Even worse for me is overlooking Little Feat.
Couldn’t believe it either. SPOT ON again Bob.
Don’t mean to be a hater but can’t wait to see comments, blowback for those in support of her inclusion.
Are you angry Bob?
I feel like your angry.
I is just the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. What could be more meaningless?
Michael A. Becker
Rufus & Chaka Khan should have made it in. You failed to mention them. This is the 3rd year they’ve been robbed.
Chaka before Whitney anytime!
True that Bob.
I agree…Kraftwerk, Todd, Soundgarden certainly should be in but I have to say that I’m very happy to see T-Rex recognized…
I think rock doesn’t mean what you think it means anymore.
I’m afraid they don’t know what rock-n-roll means, Bob. It’s certain they don’t know what it means to us!
Totally agree!! Whitney Houston had talent, but it’s not rock and roll. (Personally I can’t stand that acrobatic vocal style, but others obviously love it.) May as well induct John Williams. He is one of the greatest and most influential composers of the last 50 years. But it’s not rock – so he doesn’t get in.
Todd Rundgren is a wizard, a true star who could (and still can) do it all. And no Jethro Tull?? What the hell??? Oh well, at least we got The Doobies. It’s just a shame (and a scam) it took Irving Azoff to get them there…
I know you did this to get a rise out of folks, but anyway, relax. There are absolute pieces of trash in the Hall of Fame that couldn’t tie Whitney’s shoelaces.
Spot on. Todd was screwed for being more creative than popular.
Makes a Cleveland boy sad even though we know it’s a NYC kind of thing.
That is some serious bullshit.
The same world that voted Jethro Tull’s Crest of a Knave the best Hard Rock/Metal Performance over Metallica and AC/DC.
Not that we don’t all love Tull! But it shows how little the people in charge of these things (award shows, halls of fame, whatever) often know about the topic they’re curating.
Amen and Awomen.
Thanks for mentioning Kraftwerk!
PREACH Bob Lefsetz!!
You are right in your assessment of some deserve to be in the R&R HOF – as a hometown guy who was at this show and countless others, I thought I’d send you what passed for the essence of Rock & Roll here in Detroit in the late 60’s – this was a free concert at Wayne State University’s football field – this is the definition and embodiment of what we called Rock&Roll in Detroit, but the MC5 still are not in the “real” RR HOF, but Whitney Houston and Biggie are – WTF – the RR HOF is kinda like the Grammys – irrelevant and something for newspaper music critics and TV Magazine shows to go on and on about – this is the real deal, this is what headline bands hated to follow at the Grande Ballroom. enjoy
Love your blog.
Wait, hang on, I visited the rock hall back in 2011 and I could have sworn there was a Todd Rundgren display. Is it possible to have a display but not yet be inducted?
Nick Benko in Windsor (Canada’s motor city)
Agree with every word you wrote. Whitney Houston gets into the Rock and Hall of Fame while Todd Rundgren, MC5, Warren Zevon, Pat Benetar and Jethro Tull are all once again left out? No legitimacy left for the R&RHoF . . . what little was left. This organization no longer has any connection to the Rock & Roll we grew up with. Whitney Houston is the antithesis of Rock & Roll. If her “credentials” put her in, then Barbra Streisand should be in because she did everything Houston did only FAR, FAR better in every way. But of course, nobody would think of putting her in, because she’s not a rocker. Well, neither was Whitney Houston. Rock & Roll blasphemy is what this is.
Oh yes, we’re going to go to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame to see exhibits about Elvis Presley, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Led Zeppelin… and Whitney Houston? I don’t think so.
I’m melisma-ed out. Some of the singers sound like the emotion is going to burst unless they birth it out the appropriate orifice.
I suspect Clive Davis ran Whitney and possibly her mother did too.
I just read that Robin Crawford book. Not sure, as usual, what to believe in a celeb book. Crawford said Davis made her wear extensions so she’d look more European than black and would appeal to a broader audience.
I thought Whitney had a haunting quality at times to her voice. She was less over-the-top than Mariah who always jammed in those whistle register notes. We knew with an opera singer mother, M had the chops, but she never let us forget it. I wonder if she can sing actual ariahs with the Met divas or is content to hit a whistle note here and again. She did change once she got away from Tommy Matolla and explored rap. I still can’t understand why M had 50 bridesmaids at her wedding. Even for show biz that’s much. Mariah did do some very nice stuff in the 1990s, Fantasy sampling Genius of Love by the Tom Tom Club, Butterfly, Dream Lover. She obviously never succumbed to the temptations of drugs as Whitney did even before Mr. Brown entered the picture. Whitney is supposed to have Said “Cocaine can’t go where we’re going.” But alas it sure did! Her daughter and daughter’s boyfriend are both gone not even a decade later.
I’m sure You already know all this. Here’s what I told my friend earlier:
It’s not about if the artists or band plays Rock or Rock n Roll. It’s been this way for too long and they prob should have just Renamed it, “The MUSIC Hall of Fame.” — Listening to SiriusXM this morning who were LIVE from the Hall, they were saying that it’s not just rock or rock n roll music. It’s the Spirit of rock n roll, if the person/band was Innovative or Influential. It’s also not about record sales or how many hits you had in the Top ____. — Just look at T-Rex who had a minor hit here with “Bang A Gong”, but (& like many others) they were MASSIVE in the UK in the early-mid 70’s. HUGE!! So of course they were influential to many bands who came after. SWEET is another band who some might say are deserving, & they had even more hits Here in the 70’s.
Lastly, & I’ve said this many times, the “Fan Vote” only counts a SINGLE SOLITARY Vote. One Vote. So if Band A gets 3.6M votes to win, it means nothing. It’s just something the hall does to help drum up publicity.
There’s between 900-1000 Voters. They vote & that’s it. Once an artist or band gets in, then they are eligible to vote also.
Lastly, among many others, Missing from the Rock ‘N Roll Hall Of Fame:
2. Iron Maiden
3. Judas Priest
4. Duran Duran
6. Mötley Crüe
8. Ozzy Osbourne (solo)
10. Huey Lewis & The News
11. REO Speedwagon
15. Little Feat
etc., etc. lol
Big questions like “what is rock and roll?” were a lot easier when the possible answers included Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, etc.
That was in the beginning.
For me, the R&RHOF+M jumped the shark when it threw chronological order out the window.
When the influencees got in before the influencers.
One of the very few things baseball has right is that time and place in history matters.
I know this is a sensitive time to say this but Rush should never have gotten in before Jethro Tull and Procol Harum.
Dave Matthews was in consideration this year while Little Feat and Los Lobos are on the outside looking in.
Neither of these bands are my particular brand of vodka but The Sex Pistols before the MC5?
I?m a Rundgren guy and I feel pretty much the same way he does about induction- who cares?
The body of work is the validation.
The voting is like the (fill in the blank) Grammys, Oscars, Emmys, etc.
Fun to bitch about every year but consistently meaningless.
On the flip side, I have been to the R&RHOF+M several times and the artifacts are pretty great.
Some give me goosebumps.
Ho Hum. So Whitney got inducted and Judas Priest, Soundgarden and Todd Rundgren didn’t… Why would these bands who have legions of fans and who have had and continue to have great careers in music care? Rock music has always been anti-establishment so I fail to see why any of these acts give a toss about the pro establishment RARHOF. Personally I’d like to see each and everyone of them tell the rock hall to go get… just like the Sex Pistols did. If every one of these acts just ignored the rock hall there wouldn’t be one and they therefore wouldn’t have to worry about getting inducted/nominated and could just continue to make music which at the end of the day is what it’s all about.
Here’s an anecdotal “Tull Tale” for you.
As you know, back in the early 70s when I was running Michigan State University’s concert program, we produced an incredibly wide variety of shows of all shapes and sizes. One day in 1973, I got a call from someone at Premier Talent Agency—seem to recall it was Frank Barsalona. Turned out another college’s date for one of his acts had fallen through (Ohio State) and he was wondering if I could pick it up. The date was exactly one week away and the band was Jethro Tull. It seemed like an impossible task—organizing everything that goes into packaging such a major production in just seven days. I mean, could I even get tickets printed??? But the deal he was offering seemed pretty bulletproof: A 90/10 split after expenses; tickets at $4.00; general admission. Now at the time, Jethro Tull was red hot—especially in Michigan where the band had built a huge following through many, many shows in Detroit, starting with the Grande Ballroom. At the time, their newest studio album, A Passion Play, had just come out and had debuted at #1. So, what the fuck, I told him to stand by and called our MSU’s Athletic Department to check on the availability of the basketball facility, Jenison Fieldhouse. 9000 seats. The date was open. So with much trepidation, but embodying the craziness of that era, I booked Jethro Tull. Needless to say, our student organization went into overdrive—the staging specs were incredibly complex (we had to build it from scratch), pulling together the advertising to get the word out, hiring all of the university personnel (like state cops for security), even getting the contracts signed, and yes, getting the tickets printed, etc, etc. As the timing worked out, the only way we could pull it off was to put the 9000 tickets on sale the day BEFORE the show! No advance sales. Gulp! And so we did. The lines at our 3 or 4 ticket outlets were insane that day, but by golly, the damn thing went clean. Next night, Jethro Tull hit the stage in front of 9000 crazed fans and completely blew them away. It was an EVENT—and as about as spontaneous as it could be. Now, I’m not a big fan of Tull, but I can tell you that what went on that night at MSU was a bona fide rock n roll experience, deserving of a place in the RnR HOF.
And oh yeah, Ian Anderson was most definitely not a warm and fuzzy guy that night.
I’ve felt that the Hall has been bullshit for a long while, but I still loved seeing some of my heroes jam together one more time. But, I had no idea how low they’d sink. I mean, isn’t there goat to get ratings from the artists performing on the damn TV show?…so why pick deceased Whitney?! As Hüsker Dü sang, it makes no sense at all! (I needed to throw in a snooty, indie/college rock reference as a musical sorbet to clean the Whitney out of my mouth) Jethro Tull was my first favorite group in the 70s when I was a teenager, and we fans embraced the fact that non-fans weren’t passive, they HATED the band…we expected the critics to hate them…so we’re good with the critics still deriding ol Ian! (although it warms my heart to have you, Bob, write about them so intelligently and supportively) Fans and non-fans would agree that we don’t want Tull inducted ever! Equally stupid is omitting maybe the single most prolific, and ridiculously talented and ground breaking artist/musician/producer/composer of the entire rock era, Todd Rundgren. It’s a joke he hasn’t been inducted. He’s not just an avant garde and critic darling, he had HITS! TONS! Especially if you include his productions. And Pat Benetar burst open the door that Janis, Grace, Joni, and Stevie built! It was the second video ever on MTV after the Buggles! I could (almost) handle these gross omissions if they weren’t inducting Whitney. LAME.
It’s called “intersectionality” by the far left PC youngsters..The more points one has, according to how far they veer from the white hetero male paradigm, the higher up the societal ladder they will be, once the New World Order is established..THAT’S where we are right now..Trump is the opposite and equal reaction..Whitney has enough points to appease those keeping score..
“Western Stars” was overlooked by the Grammies..Bruce has less than zero intersectionality points..Genius Asians get rejected from Harvard, to make room for a more diverse roster..
THAT’S the kind of CFUWorld we live in..
Greetings from Denver. Long time reader/listener here. There’s been many times when I’ve wanted to write or call into to complain or agree with you but never did…until now. My bday is coming up and on a whim I decided that I wanted to visit the RnR HOF as a gift to myself. I’ve always wanted to go for only one reason: check out the exhibits for the rockers in the Pantheon: Berry, Holly, Elvis, Beatles, Stones and all their peers. I also want to see the stuff that they have from true originals like Prince and Dylan. Hell, I’d probably even stop and read the exhibit for Patti Smith because of all the reasons you listed, even though I’m not a fan.
I think the HoF lost me when it inducted Afrika Bambaataa several years back. I give him credit for inspiring the first generation of rappers. But is that rock and roll? I know you’ve already covered this topic before. Anyway, my point is that I’ve been preparing myself for how I would conspicuously avoid all the stuff in the HOF that’s related to those who really don’t deserve to be there (list of names is long). I’m assuming that I’ll spend enough time studying the guitars and stage props from the Stones that I won’t have time to waste on exhibits that have no place there.
And now, with this announcement that Whitney Houston will be inducted and Todd Rundgren won’t? WTF? I’m not even a fan of his either but I know enough to realize that he’s done more for rock and roll over the years than many other inductees combined!
So, do I just cancel the whole f-ing trip in protest or do I go and just brace myself to be pissed off? Nah, I’ll go. It’s like watching Fox News. Know thine enemy, as the saying goes.
Rant on, Bob.
Michael from Denver
P.S. I listen to my music through a couple of Marantz receivers that I’ve had to refurbish a couple of times and a pair of those vintage JBLs like you have.
Great piece of the RRHoF selections
I concur on Whitney.
A shanda that Pat Benatar is out and Whitney in.
I wonder if she fronted a band formally with hubby Neil if that “wrapping” would have garnered her further consideration.
Further Whitney getting in means all the bubblegum and related acts of the 60/70s ought to be in. Certainly more deserving (I am not advocating it though, just emphasizing the hypocrisy.
Very happy on The Doobies.
They are still great live.
You are so right on Ian Anderson and Tull.
I enjoy and fondly recall T Rex and “own” much of their music: Jeepster and Bang A Gong so standout against their other songs so I am not sure I’d consider him for the hall; albeit others in the hall merit it less than Marc Bolan.
And of course the absence of Poco continues to bother this correspondent.
Thank you for this opportunity to vent.
But isn’t the very nature of Rock and Roll the idea of something existing and thriving where it shouldn’t? The rebel, the outcast, those who go against the grain? I think you’re confusing what became the music genre of Rock and Roll with the Culture of Rock and Roll. While Whitney’s music may not fit within the confines of the genre, same as any Rapper who’s been inducted into the Hall of Fame, but her whole career and life story is the very definition of Rock and Roll.
Her induction is not to state that Soundgarden and Judas Priest aren’t Rock and Roll just like Black Lives Matter doesn’t state that ONLY Black Lives Matter. The two aren’t mutually exclusive. Everyone is entitled to their own, educated, opinion. Why not celebrate the evolution of what it means to be a Rock Star? Why disrespect the legacy of a musician who cannot defend themselves as if it were their fault that their peers felt it was right to induct their legacy?
Whitney Houston dominated the charts, pop charts, but last I checked pop generates more money than the genre of Rock in any year. Not to mention as a Black woman. You mentioned Mariah Carey has more of an influence than Whitney Houston, but you forget that Mariah had once stated how Whitney Houston was a big influence for her. Also to note, Whitney had an acting career which began with a Box Office hit with the Body Guard. I don’t need to list her accolades because her induction speaks for itself.
There’s no need to bash someone’s career in order to show appreciation for another’s. Multiple truths can exist at once and occupy the same space. Especially if it’s clear that you could never replicate or do better than what that person has done. At that point you’re just another talking head. And we know how much you love those.
Bob J. McNeil
A Black Millennial
This is spot on! Whitney Houston, despite her success, is a product of the pop machine… where the artist is made from millions of dollars in marketing, promotion, and production. Sure, she had a phenomenal voice, but her talent was only a piece of a much larger puzzle. I’m sorry, but WH was not an “artist”. She was manufactured, like so many other pop stars. No doubt, she made a lot of people a lot of money, so you can certainly recognize her success. But Rock N Roll Hall of Fame? No fucking way. That should be reserved for game changers, artistic masterminds (love the Kraftwerk example) and gifted artists that blazed new trails and the record labels were LUCKY to have them. It’s as if they’re trying to fit Whitney into the hall of fame because she rebelled against the productization of her image and said fuck you to her makers by flaming out with drugs and alcohol. But at the end of the day, she changed nothing in music and only fed the egos of her puppet masters! But I’m sure those people see it differently.
Meanwhile, we’ve been trying to get Bill Aucoin, the original manager of KISS, Piper, Starz, Toby Beau, New England and Billy Idol (and let’s face it, 5th KISS member) inducted. Years long campaign and a gazillion signatures and photo ops and…nada.
One of my pet peeves, (with awards and inductions) is how some artists can crossover AND also be eligible for those crossover awards. By the same token, other artists cannot. That’s not fair.
Example: As a CMA and NARAS member, one year I received the preliminary voting ballots…Brooks and Dunn were up for – Best Duo and Best Group. WTF? Are they a group or are they a duo?
But yeah…you’re right…she was an amazing talent, but she was NOT rock and roll!
Axl Rose had the right idea. He asked the questions about qualifications and declined the induction.
“I still don’t exactly know or understand what the Hall is or how or why it makes money, where the money goes, who chooses the voters and why anyone or this board decides who, out of all the artists in the world that have contributed to this genre, officially “rock” enough to be in the Hall?”
Your first sentence explains it. Crazy f’d up world for sure and it continues to be a shame that the HOF does this most years and will continue. Have no idea why they still call it Rock & Roll when it should change to Music Hall by now. I have been involved in music for 39 years on the business and creative side and the artists you mention ie Tull, Todd, Soundgarden, Benatar, Priest and others are Rock & Roll. No saving it unfortunately unless Jann or whoever is in charge now overhauls it and they won’t and I am sure they love hearing us old farts complain about it. I was there at the shows in the 70’s and beyond as well as sold the 8 tracks, cassettes, albums, cds, dats, etc. I try to explain to people that ask me each year about how these choices are made but know the powers that be do not care. Rock n roll started in the 50’s and music was changed forever and to not acknowledge or remember how huge the above artists you mention are or others like stadium filling artists (yes stadiums) Grand Funk Railroad, Johnny Winter, Iron Maiden, Robin Trower, plus Joe Cocker, Zevon, Steppenwolf, Tina Turner, Carole King, Thin Lizzy, and many others i could think of is wrong for them and fans. Why it took so long for Rush, KISS, Yes, Steve Miller, Journey, Doobies, Heart and others in recent years is still just strange to people who know and love Rock & Roll like you and me.
…and what about the innovative groundbreaking music of blending country with rock by Richie Furay. Hey, what’s that sound he started in Buffalo Springfield with “A Child’s Claim To Fame” and “Kind Woman”? It’s today’s Americana music. Richie then continued his Inventive creativity to the his next group Poco with their first and critically acclaimed album and title track “Pickin’ Up The Pieces”. Have you listened to “A Good Feelin’ To Know” recently. Its timeless! It sounds as fresh today as it did in 1972.
Before the Eagles, Glenn Frey sat on Richie’s Laurel Canyon living room floor watching Poco rehearse before they debuted their live act at the Troubadour. And future members of the Eagles were there at those first shows.
Prior to Glenn’s death, at an Eagles show in Denver, he pointed Richie out to the audience and said, “If not you you, we wouldn’t be here”. High praise indeed! Richie & Poco set the original template that others would follow to far greater success and subsequent RRHOF induction. Yet, they were the first definitive country-rock band.
Not even a Rock Hall nomination for Richie and Poco. Something’s happening here, what it is IS exactly clear…
Manager for Richie Furay
I’m reading your post as I’m on a flight leaving Cleveland where we made the official Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2020 induction class announcement on Volume this morning.
Part of me agrees with almost every single word you wrote. I’ve been pounding the table about the lack of “rock” in the hall for years.
The other part of me approaches it from a realistic view. I think at this point, people have to stop getting hung up on the name. It’s clearly a popular music Hall of Fame now. The term “Rock & Roll” is used to symbolize a spirit, an attitude, and a lifestyle. It’s no longer a literal reference to a specific genre of music. They’ve made it perfectly clear that genres like pop, R&B and Hip Hop are a part of the musical landscape that they celebrate, so it should be no surprise that artists like Whitney and Biggie are in this induction class.
That said, it’s disappointing that the voting body is still completely out of touch with heavier rock. You can’t tell the story of “popular music” without including Hard Rock & Heavy Metal. I was encouraged this year by what I felt was the best nominating class to come along in a long time – a class that included Judas Priest, Motorhead, Thin Lizzy, Soundgarden and T Rex.
The reality is that the nominating committee has evolved and realizes these artists all deserve to be in. We’ve seen a lot of wrongs righted in the past several years with artists like Alice Cooper, Rush, KISS, Cheap Trick, Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, etc. They can’t fix it all at once.
I can assure you that there are folks deeply entrenched on the inside that get it, and are passionately advocating for the inclusion of real rock bands. They realize that something is fundamentally wrong with the voting process and are working towards improving it. It’s a long-game here, but we’re playing. My hope is that rather than just arguing about it, we can change the narrative and hopefully affect real change in the process…from the inside!
In the interest of full disclosure, I was asked to become a voter a few years ago. My ballot this year included Judas Priest, Pat Benatar, Thin Lizzy, Soundgarden, and T Rex.
For the record, I love Motorhead and couldn’t agree with you more about Lemmy! Deciding between Motorhead and T Rex for my final vote was painful, but I have been saying for years that I thought T Rex was a huge exclusion. They were hugely influential and helped create the entire “glam rock” genre. When Bowie and The Who both shout you out in their lyrics – you’re influential!
Given what we know about the voting body, I didn’t have confidence Motorhead would get in on the first attempt, and certainly not in a year where metal votes were being split between them and Priest, but I had a feeling T Rex might be one of those bands on the bubble that actually had a chance, so I decided to cast my vote that way and hope to fight for Motorhead again in the coming years.
Congrats to all of this year’s class. Let’s hope we can get the others back on the ballot next year.