It's "wait 'til next year" for Femmes' Rock Hall hopes
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum unveiled its list of nine potential inductees for the Class of 2009 on Monday.
Votes for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame are cast by more than 500 musicians, journalists and industry professionals and the top five finishers are announced in January and inducted to the hall in April.
As usual, the list of candidates evoked a mixture of praise, protest and snarky indifference.
Run-DMC, a pioneering hip-hop act, was on the list. Some may quibble about the inclusion of the trio from Hollis, Queens, but Joseph Simmons (Run), Darryl McDaniels (DMC), above, and Jason Mizell (Jam Master Jay) did break down barriers by collaborating with Aerosmith and crossing over to a rock audience. Currently, the only hip-hop group represented in the Hall of Fame is Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five.
Mega-metal stars Metallica and proto-punkers the Stooges are under consideration in the final nine and few people complained. Ditto for Jeff Beck, one of the legendary guitarists of our time, who was on the list. Oklahoma's Wanda Jackson, a somewhat obscure rockabilly pioneer with hits in the late 1950s and early 1960s, was on the list, too.
Those nominations didn't raise many eyebrows.
The others, however...
Chic was a disco act. If you include them in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, should the Beatles and Rolling Stones demand inclusion in the Disco Hall of Fame?
Bobby Womack? He wrote some good songs and some success on the R & B charts. Little Anthony and the Imperials? A nice doo-wop group, but do you see them standing next to Led Zeppelin?
"It's an interesting group because it really shows the nominating committee showed some thought and energy into who should be inducted," Joel Peresman, president of the Rock Hall foundation said in announcing the finalists.
"It truly shows it's never a closed door for any artist to be nominated."
As is usually the case, the omissions drew a lot of attention. The eligible / overlooked acts include Kiss, Alice Cooper, Peter Gabriel, Chicago, Rush, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Tom Waits, Bon Jovi, The Cure, The Smiths, Joy Division, Graham Parker and Milwaukee's own Violent Femmes.
We wrote a story last year detailing the Femmes' chances for making the Hall of Fame. We're not sure if the fact that the band hasn't played a show in nearly a year -- amidst rumors of a breakup -- is a factor in the decision.
Bobby Womack = early Stones & J. Geils Chic = Radio Clash &Another One Bites the Dust That trivia aside, does anyone really take the HoF voting serious. They created an institution based on after-bar arguments.
This Hall of Fame is a joke. Bands like Rush, Metallica, and Black Sabbath have ridiculed it for years. Good to know Run-DMC and Madonna can make it in.
With Chic being nominated and Peter Gabriel, Rush and the Smiths not, I have to wonder what the 500 nominators have been smoking. My one and only trip to the RaRHOF years ago was a bit underwhelming . . . it was less than I'd hoped for. Now I have another reason to avoid a return trip . . . the nominators' LACK OF MUSICAL TASTE!
No big deal. There are musicians that have been around 50 years that have gotten inclusion over the last decade. If the band survives, continues to perform and influences other musicians then they'll get their due. Now could the Femmes try to record a new album?
I'm not sure the Femmes merit inclusion in the HOF. I think the committee should look at 3 factors. A band not have all 3 of these in their favor, but at least need to have one strongly going for them: - Commercial Success: This is not the be all and end all of the conversation, but there's something to be said for having some commercial success. Like it or not but a band like KISS had a ton of commercial success for an extended period of time and that counts for something. - Influence: Certain bands do not quite cross over and have a great deal of commercial success, but their originality sparks other groups. So you can make an argument for a band like Joy Division or even the Stooges. You could also look at a band like Rush and say they had influence because Lifeson/Lee/Peart are all considered among the elite at their instruments. Longevity: There's something to be said for being able to sell out arenas 20-30 years after your start. I think the Femmes fail on all of these counts.
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