In these sharply divided times, there is one thing we can all agree on: There are too many acts that are not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This problem is the foundation on which almost all Rock Hall chatter sits. Even a casual observer of the institution is familiar with the common, fill-in-the-blank questions asked like a broken record: "Why aren't ____ in the Rock Hall?!" or " ____ aren't in yet?!" Let's call this the Moody Blues Syndrome, or MBS. Talk to your doctor!
Yes, the outrage and indignation runneth over, and occasionally it's loud enough to make a difference; for every outcry of "Why aren't Jethro Tull in the Rock Hall?!" there is the B-side of, "At least they finally put in Rush! Why did those jerks wait 14 years?!"
In terms of who's missing from the Hall, most grievances have been aired quite sufficiently at this point. Sometimes, patience is rewarded (longtime snub Yes gets inducted on April 7), but at other times, not so much (the Moody Blues, indeed, are 28 years eligible, but have yet to see a single nomination).
Maybe you know all this. Maybe you don't. It's entirely possible you don't give a flying V. In any case, it's time to put the usual gripes on the back burner and, if you will, "think outside the pyramid" in Cleveland. On the fringes of this fraught discussion lies a vibrant population of artists that, generally, don't come up on the Rock Hall conversation radar. (The Northumbrian Countdown blog crafted an excellent list of 100 prospects in 2015, which included one of the choices below.)
|The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame|
There's value in rounding up the wild cards—those Rock Hall long shots that don't cross people's minds as much. Remember, the Hall is prone to set the nominator to "stun"—did you really expect a Bad Brains nomination last October? Or Steppenwolf for that matter?
You might smack your forehead, or you might even agree that the artists listed below merit a nomination. Either way, here are 10 new acts for the Rock Hall conversation:
George Michael - Sadly, there's nothing like death to put a spotlight on an artist's accomplishments. A shocking 2016 passing in a year full of them (on Christmas Day, no less), beloved pop genius George Michael departed way too soon. However, it's what he left behind—a sterling, globally embraced songbook—that matters now. Considering the mega-hits with Wham as well as his astonishing solo career (albums like the 1987 blockbuster Faith and Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1, songs like "Father Figure," "Freedom (90)," and "Fastlove"), his legacy is secure. It may still take some time for the Hall to come around for a pure pop artist like Michael (Janet Jackson is still struggling to achieve induction), but it's hard to think of a more deserving candidate among major pop stars. His influence can be heard and seen in everyone from Justin Timberlake to Sam Smith to Adele. Most recently, in the Key & Peele film Keanu, Michael's music even won over a car full of hardened gang members, to hysterical, legend-burnishing effect. Talk about cultural impact.
INXS - Australia seems pretty under-represented at the Rock Hall. There are the Bee Gees and AC/DC, and that's about it. However, the simmering, anthemic rock of the late Michael Hutchence and company could lead to a nomination. From edgy, gestational early records like Shabooh Shoobah (including "Don't Change") to the fully-formed global smash Kick in 1987 ("Need You Tonight,"Never Tear Us Apart"), this Sydney out fit melded funk, horns and a punchy energy, selling 50 million records worldwide. Tragedy took the charismatic Hutchence away from the world in 1997, but a Rock Hall induction would be a nice bookend to the INXS story.
|Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds|