Rock and Roll (588)

Music.  It has the ability to bring people together.  It can stir up hidden emotions.  It can cause you to get up and physically move.  It can help you through your work day.  It separates generations.  We could describe it for page after page in terms both specific and vague but music simply means different things to different people.  Likely, many of these things were on the mind of the builders of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, a tribute to those who built up the genre of Rock and Roll.

Their intentions certainly seemed clear enough.  Their website states that “The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame honors the legendary performers, producers, songwriters, disc jockeys and others who have made rock and roll the force that it is in our culture”.  For our purposes, we are going to focus on the performer section of the Hall.  That being said, the first rule of eligibility is very simple.  Once an artist has gone twenty five years after the release of their first record, they become eligible.  After that it becomes a little murky.  The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame states that “criteria include the influence and significance of the artists’ contributions to the development and perpetuation of rock and roll”.  Influence and significance is certainly open to interpretation.  For that matter, so is Rock and Roll.  When Bill Haley sang Rock around the Clock over sixty years ago was he describing a sound, a look or maybe just an attitude?  Did the songwriters just like the word “rock”?  The origin of Rock music is so difficult to pinpoint its subsequent evolution is just as equally hard to chart.

With these vague parameters we at Not in Hall of Fame put our own committee together and came up with the top 250 artists whom we feel deserve consideration for enshrinement in Cleveland.  Are we right?  Are we wrong?   We know two things for sure; the first is that while compiling this list we felt we could make a viable case for multiple artists to be in our number one slot, the second was that it was a blast coming up with it.  Let us know what you think and based on who gets inducted, who becomes newly eligible, your opinions and how our own perceptions change, we will see how we rank them in the following year.    

Until then, Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World!

Sincerely,

 

The Not in Hall of Fame Rock and Roll Committee.

The Chemical Brothers were amongst the first to pioneer the Big Beat genre and push the boundaries of what people thought Electronic music should be.  The genius of what they did was take the Dance music phenomenon and alter it to appeal to the Rock and Rap set.  This allowed them to reach a huge audience (they were among the…
What if your greatest hit was barely a reflection of your body of work? This could be the case for Los Lobos, whose cover of La Bamba was by far their largest hit, but was a poor representation of what this band was really about.
There have been many bands that were known for their experimentalism, but we are hard pressed to find a band that used more non Rock genres to create music that found its way into the Rock canon.  In a decade that celebrated independent music, Stereolab may have had the most “independent” sound of all.  Like much of the Krautrock sound…
Like Nick Drake before him, Elliott Smith made a living making introspective and often morose songs.  Smith touched many a soul by digging inside of his own.  Sadly, as much as he sang of his depression, he was unable to control it and like so many artists he died young although it is still uncertain whether it was suicide (though likely).  As…
The 1970’s may have been full of Singer/Songwriters but the decade that followed saw that genre dry up quickly. That made the success of Tracy Chapman that much more unlikely. She didn’t exactly have MTV good looks; she sang in a style against her racial stereotype and was not even attempting to be “cool”. Despite all of that, Chapman had…
The Prodigy were one of the most successful electronic bands of the 1990’s, but there were many who did not necessarily view them as electronic.
Maybe the Eagle with the highest “Rock credibility”, Joe Walsh was a brilliant guitar player with an under appreciated sense of introspection with his music. As such, he was the most relatable of the Eagles and an informal poll of Eagles fans would likely result in Joe Walsh being the favorite. Already in as a member of the Eagles, it…
In earlier entries (Jan & Dean and Hall & Oates) we spoke of how successful those duos were. If we were add to a third into the discussion of the most successful duo on this list it would have to be the English pair of Roland Orzabal and Kurt Smith, best known to audiences as Tears for Fears
Although Alice in Chains has been pegged primarily as a Grunge band, of the slew of Seattle bands AIC may have been the one that drew more from the Heavy Metal set than the rest.  They were very successful, charting often despite gloomy material and a dirty Post Punk sound. Equally adept at acoustic performances, AIC was a favorite among…
As this list is peppered with acclaimed guitarists, there can be an argument made that few were on the level of Rory Gallagher. The Irishman was an avid student of the American Blues and was able to take that style of music to dimensions not previously looked at. Gallagher did not really try to penetrate the American market, but he…
How does one's Rock and Roll induction chances bode when you are just as well known for a rivalry with a fellow performer (James Brown) as you are for the music you created? This is the question we pose when we look at 60’s Soul superstar, Joe Tex.
Fans of Popular music often try to emulate the singing styles of their favorite performers. Kate Bush had legions of fans, but many of them probably never tried to sing like her. They knew it couldn’t be done.
Although we always seemed to be aware of them, even we were surprised just how many subgenres of Rock and Roll there seems to be. In the case of the Ska Revival genre we wonder if it the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will see fit to grant them an inductee. If so, our bet would be on the…
In most circles, Jazz is one of the most respected styles of music, so it would stand to reason that a fusion of Jazz and Rock would yield respect and success in the industry. In the case of Blood, Sweat & Tears it did not quite work out that way.
Regardless of your career how fathomable is it to have two great accomplishments sixteen years apart with virtually nothing in between? Beyond Meat Loaf, who did that with his two Bat out of Hell Albums we can’t think of very many.
Although it has certainly been seen that Metal is struggling to find a solid place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, it will be interesting to see what they do with Tool who by no means was a traditional Metal band.  Tool added Post Punk and Progressive styles and with dark imagery (both in videos and in lyrics)…
It has been said that the Velvet Underground was the Ground Zero for Alternative music. There are levels of truths to that and the disciples they spawned via vinyl were incalculable. Jonathan Richman was a man who was greatly influenced by the Velvets, so much so, it could be argued that he literally picked up where they left off.
We asked ourselves a lot during this process why did so many Punk bands fizzle out so quickly? Was it truly just better to burn out than fade away? That is a debate for another time (and someone else’s website) but again we find another American Punk Rock group that had more historical significance than mainstream success.
In other entries on this list, a debate will emerge as to whether one album makes a career. In the case of My Bloody Valentine, there was at least two full length albums recorded, but boy were they good ones!
While compiling this list, non committee members asked us about out ranking and pointed out albums sales as to why our rankings made no sense to them. As often as those debates began (and will perpetually continue) we expect a series of debates based on concert attendance. If that was our factor, how many people would be higher than Jimmy…