So who’s contributed more to rock and roll? The Chantels or Jimmy Cliff? Abba or Laura Nyro? These artists and eight others are vying for induction into the class of 2010 for theThe Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The Cleveland-based museum’s R&R Hall of Fame Foundation announced the nominees today. Drum roll please. They are Abba, the Chantels, Jimmy Cliff, Genesis, the Hollies, Kiss, LL Cool J, Darlene Love, Laura Nyro, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Stooges and Donna Summer.
The top five votegetters will be inducted at the 25th annual induction ceremony, which takes place March 15, 2010. To be eligible, an act must have released its first single or album 25 years prior to the year of nomination… in other words, no later than 1984.
Here’s our quick take on each act’s chances with a quick caveat. We’re not wasting any time debating whether these artists are “rock” or not. Of course some of them aren’t, but for our purposes here, that ship has sailed.
Abba: Of course they should be in. They’re one of the most popular acts of all time and their way with a pop melody is unparalleled. The voters tend to be anglophiles, but we think it’s time to show some Swedes a little love. We draw the line at inducting Roxette, however.
The Chantals: The Hall has a long history of inducting R&B vocal groups from the ’50s and ’60s. I don’t know why, but I think it’s partially because the 500 voters are overwhelmingly comprised of white, male, middle-aged journalists and record execs who came of age when these acts were big. The Chantals were one of the first black girl groups to have success and despite making the final ballot for the first time in 2001, they have yet to reach induction status. And for good reason. Without taking anything away from their talent, the Chantals charted only four top 40 hits. This isn’t their year either.
Jimmy Cliff: Other than Bob Marley, Cliff has done more to spread reggae music across the globe than any other artist. For “The Harder They Come” alone, he gets our vote. Plus, and this is just a personal note, he wrote “Trapped,” which is our favorite song that Bruce Springsteen has ever covered.
Genesis: This is a tough one… so many critics love Peter Gabriel-era Genesis and hate Phil Collins-era Genesis. I have a feeling if they could vote simply based on the years when Gabriel was lead singer, before drummer Collins also took over singing duties, Genesis would have been in years ago. Still, Genesis’s popularity soared after Collins became lead singer and — hear me loud and clear, Collins-haters –some of that stuff is great. Sure they went from art-rock to just rock, but is that so wrong? We say yes, despite the fact that the Rock Hall has ignored acts that whiff of prog rock.
The Hollies: Graham Nash is already in as a member of Crosby, Stills & Nash. Is it time for him to get a little Rock Hall love for his earlier group? The Hollies are best known in the U.S. for “The Air That I Breathe,” but in their native UK, they scored more than 20 Top 40 hits. We say not this year.
Kiss: The Kiss Army have been waiting for this day. If the decision can be made solely based on influence and popularity, than Kiss is a shoe-in. A case can be made for their live shows alone, which took performance to a new level. We just want to hear Gene Simmons’ induction speech.
LL Cool J: No offense, LL, but it’s too soon. This is your first year of eligibility and we have no doubt that your time will come, but not yet.
Darlene Love: We loved her in the “Lethal Weapon” movies. Seriously, she’s a great talent and a great singer, but no.
Laura Nyro: C’mon. She should have been in years ago. She was a terrific singer, but she remains best known as a songwriter for writing such great songs as ‘And When I Die, ” “Wedding Bell Blues,” “Stoned Soul Picnic,” and “Eli’s Coming.” Either as a singer or as a non-performer (if she’s eligible in that category), she’s got to go in.
Red Hot Chili Peppers: See LL Cool J (although they were eligible last year, but the same thinking applies). Yes, but not yet.
The Stooges: Why aren’t they in already?
Donna Summer: She’s a great, great singer but the Hall voters are probably never going to admit that the maligned disco era spawned some terrific songs, made millions of people happy and brought about a social change in the way gays were treated in this country. I’m a big yes on Summer, but I’m in the minority. The closest the Hall has come to inducting anyone associated with disco is when the Bee Gees were honored in 1997 and that was, quite frankly, probably more in spite of “Saturday Night Fever” than because of it.
Whom do you feel should go in? Who’s ignored yet again?