Analysis: Did the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame get it right this year?
Do the Stooges, ABBA, Genesis belong in the Rock Hall?
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame better prepare for assault from the Kiss Army. There’s no fan scorned like a Kiss fan. The glam hard rockers lost out on their bid to get into the Rock Hall when the class of 2010 was announced today. In are Abba, Genesis, the Hollies, the Stooges and Jimmy Cliff.
Out, along with Kiss, are Red Hot Chili Peppers, Donna Summer, LL Cool Jay, Darlene Love, Laura Nyro and the Chantels. All were on the final nomination ballot and can continue to be nominated on future ballots.
Of the 12 contenders, we would have picked Abba, The Stooges, Jimmy Cliff, Donna Summer and Laura Nyro. We certainly understand Genesis’s inclusion and we’re all for their induction, just not this year. The Rock Hall is big on picking acts that symbolize an entire movement and for many people, Genesis represents progressive, art rock (at least in the early days, when Peter Gabriel fronted the band). Just like with Van Halen, there are two distinct Genesis incarnations and we’re pretty sure the Rock Hall voted in the “Lamb Lies Down on Broadway” Genesis rather than the “Abacab” Genesis (though we happen to love both).
Similarly, Donna Summer is disco music to most mainstream folks. She is the face of that movement. Laura Nyro probably didn’t get in because most folks really think her contributions as a songwriter far overshadow her contributions as a performer and that’s a fair assessment.
As far as LL Cool J and Red Hot Chili Peppers, even though they’re eligible because their first recordings came out 25 years ago, it still feels awfully early to be enshrining them.
For Kiss, it's actually better that they stay out for as long as possible: it gives Gene Simmons something to rail against and talk about how Kiss was never accepted and appreciated for the true talents they are. It's a shame there's not a Marketing Hall of Fame because if there were, I'd make Kiss the first inductees.
To be sure, there are some grumblings that Abba is not a rock act. That’s true, but the simple fact is the founders of the Rock Hall, rightly or wrongly, have taken it upon themselves to count virtually all music but classical as Rock. Abba is, other than the Beatles or the Bee Gees, probably the biggest pop band ever created in the world. “Waterloo” and “Dancing Queen” may see lightweight, but just try to write something that catchy. They’re bonafide geniuses and we’re all for their inclusion.
Don’t get us started on acts who have never even made it onto the final nominations ballot like Hall & Oates and Electric Light Orchestra. We’ll save that rant for another time.