Sunday, May 2, 2021

Battle Royale for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: My Ballot


My friends over at the Rolling Stone Music Now podcast recently devoted an entire episode to Tina Turner’s candidacy, and on  the surface, it’s easy to say that of course Tina should be a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer. But that’s one reason I wanted to evaluate the candidates en masse this year; since we only get to vote for five of them, voting for Tina means you have to leave off at least one of Dionne or the New York Dolls or Jay-Z or Devo or Carole King or the Go-Go’s. Who’s it gonna be?

So I rated the candidates along five different vectors, added up their totals, and… I didn’t like one of the answers it gave me, so I’m going to make a tweak to the results. We'll get to that in a second, but here, in reverse order, are this year’s nominees as I see them:

16.  Iron Maiden Ugh.

15. Kate Bush Prime candidate for the U.K. Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

14. Rage Against the Machine I expect them to get in eventually, although probably not this year. One of the last great guitar bands, except for…

13. Foo Fighters They’re probably going in, and won’t need my vote.

12. Mary J. Blige The Hall hasn’t been kind to female R&B singers, and it’s hard to put Mary at the top of the list of the ones they've overlooked.

11. Devo They’ve been nominated a lot, and they probably won’t make it again this year, which means it’s about time for them to stop appearing on the ballot.

10. Fela Kuti Like I said in my last missive, I bet they find some side door for Fela to get in.

9. Todd Rundgren I wouldn’t mind seeing him get in, but the fact that his impact is divided between solo performer and producer is going to limit him.

8. New York Dolls Speaking of Todd Rundgren as a producer.... Too much of a critic’s band to make a dent here. If they ever start putting in the Pavements and Sonic Youths of the world, the Dolls will follow.

7. Chaka Khan Some form of Chaka and/or Rufus has been on the ballot several times, and have yet to make it. I hate to say it, because I love me some Chaka Khan, but she seems to constitute the “falls just short” borderline for the Hall of Fame.

6. Tina Turner I had Tina come in sixth in my little competition, in large part because her solo career slotted low in “Musical Influence.” She finished behind…

5. LL Cool J …who didn’t come close to leading in any one category but was strong across the board, never finishing lower than sixth. You may have noticed that this is the cutoff line, since we only get to vote for five candidates. I have made the executive decision to elevate Tina past LL Cool J, for one simple reason: Tina Turner is 81. LL Cool J is 53. I believe both these individuals will eventually be inducted, so let’s focus first on getting Tina in while she can still enjoy it.

4. Carole King The sincere but misguided decision to first induct her as a songwriter unnecessarily delayed something that should have happened a long time ago.

3. Dionne Warwick Dionne is 80. It would be fun to see her and Tina up there together.

2. The Go-Go’s Ever since I got the privilege of voting for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, I have expressed the desire to vote for the Go-Go’s. This is their first time on the ballot, and I am thrilled to finally have the opportunity to elevate them.

1. Jay-Z I’m a little surprised that he came out on top, but he is surely fully qualified.

So here's my final ballot: Jay-Z, the Go-Go's, Dionne Warwick, Carole King and Tina Turner. Congratulations, everyone!

1 comment:

  1. I'd be interested to read why The Go-Go's are such a shoe in for you. I certainly enjoyed their few short years of hit making. Other than that, they struck me as little more than a trifling pop band. The fact that they were women, while a fresh of fresh air from the male dominated genre, didn't impress me as important either then or now. I would like to see your views on it though