What's wrong with the Rock Hall of Fame? Rock critics!

Tom Jackson
Dec 17, 2013

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has announced the 2014 inductees: Peter Gabriel, Kiss, Nirvana, Linda Ronstadt, Cat Stevens, Hall and Oates, the E Street Band, Andrew Loog Oldham and Brian Epstein. (I'm guessing that Oldham is the name many of you won't recognize; he was an early manager of the Rolling Stones. He's the guy who said, "Pop music is sex, and you have to hit them in the face with it.")

You have your favorite old rock stars and I have mine, and I promise to be mature about this and not whine, for at least a couple of weeks, that some of my favorites such as the Cars and Roxy Music and Cheap Trick are still missing from the Rock Hall. 

But I have a gripe, anyway. As Plain Dealer music writer Chuck Yarborough points out, neither Cat Stevens nor Peter Gabriel polled well when rock music fans weighed in.  Instead, the fans delivered plenty of votes for Yes and for Deep Purple, who trailed only Kiss and Nirvana.

I can live with the induction of Gabriel (because I happen to like his music, and he's plausible as a rocker.) 

But exactly what sorts of people seriously, really believe that Cat Stevens rocks harder than Yes or Deep Purple? 

If you have a problem with that, Rock Hall CEO Greg Harris has some advice for you, according to Yarborough's story: Shut up and listen to the experts, the rock critics and other folks who are allowed to actually decide.

“I feel the passion and energy of fans certainly must resonate,’’ said Harris. “But in the end, the 700 voters are voting with who they feel were impactful and had a significant effect on rock ‘n’ roll.’’

Sandusky, Ohio, are you ready to rock? Crank it up, because Greg Harris and his crack team of rock critics are blowing out the speakers with some impactful Cat Stephens!

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

Donegan

If they picked Cat Stevens over Yes and Deep Purple they are not they are definitely not experts let alone critics. I lost faith in critics years ago with some of their other choices. (Laura Nyro? Really????)

Darwin's choice

+1000 !

areyt55

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toredown11

Laura Nyro, although not my cup of tea, is in the R&R HOF more for her songwriting ability and influence rather than her own records. Like the Velvet Underground, she influenced a whole generation of artists like Elton John, Todd Rundgren and Bette Midler. Carole King has even said that she would never have had the nerve to start her own recording career without Nyro coming before her.

She did write a lot of songs that other artists covered that became hits. I know the 5th Dimension had a couple of hits with her songs. Three Dog Night, Blood Sweat & Tears and Barbara Streisand, too.

They say the Velvet Underground inspired anyone that could play three chords on the guitar to put a band together -- Laura Nyro had the same affect with pianists. Does she deserve to be in the R&R HOF? I don't know. I think it's really about how she did what she did rather than what she actually accomplished.

Donegan

If Laura Nyro was inducted for her songwriting ability or influence that is one thing BUT she was put in as a performer. Along side The Rolling stones, Beatles, Cream, Bob Seger and others, This in my book is a travesty and automatically makes the system for inducting performers open to scorn and ridicule. As for Cat stevens being inducted before Yes or Deep Purple, This just adds to the skepticism that those who actually do the inductions know what they are talking about.

Raoul Duke

You'll have to forgive the general public since most of them just listened to the radio and didn't have 15 crates of records!

fenderstrat52

The system for the Rock and Roll HOF has been flawed for years. Why? Nomination and induction announcements, voting, ceremonies, and about everything else comes out of NEW YORK CITY! Remember how this whole thing got started? Least we forget that a nationwide poll was taken on where the Rock Hall was to be. Cleveland WON!. California, Seattle, had more influence than New York, it was not even close. I have never or never will watch anything from the Rock Hall when it comes out of New York. I will see them honored in their proper place, in Cleveland, Ohio! Remember, Alan Freed got the whole thing started! Rock On CLEVELAND!

Raoul Duke

I'll just tell you that Hunter Thompson is more rock and roll than 90% of the aholes in the hall of fame. Talk about a HUGE joke! After Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry, they could have just STOPPED!!!

Raoul Duke

Someday, Lady Gaga will be inducted, if you need some perspective...

pptrsha

did j geils ever get in?

wetsu

Dave Marsh is a long-time music reviewer/critic and a big wig with the Hall. He also hates progressive music. Enjoy the Hall for what it is, but, don't hold your breath expecting logical decisions on who is selected for induction. Oldham has an impressive portfolio so I have no gripe with him. They look for ground-breaking and influential acts but snub Roxy? Likely because they hit big via WMMS, thus scooping the all-knowing enlightened rock establishment on either coast, particularly the east coast.

meowmix

Pathetic. Machine Head by Deep Purple one of the best rock albums ever. Now they were innovative! The intro the "Lazy"--still blows me away. Cat Stevens?--I wouldn't walk across the street to hear him. Rondstadt was obviously their "token" woman. She had a couple of good songs (You're no Good) but actually, I liked Van Halen's version better.

Roger15

Rock Hall of Fame is a JOKE!

Why are The Moody Blues not in.......?

Licorice Schtick

This is a strange place. Everyone thinks they're smarter than experts. Delusional.

Contango

The definition of an expert:

"An expert is one who knows more and more about less and less until he knows absolutely everything about nothing."

- Nicholas Butler

"experts" lol

JudgeMeNot

The Doobie Brothers

Not in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

toredown11

I may be in the minority on this website, but I feel very strongly that Cat Stevens should be in the R&R HOF and probably should have been there sooner than now. No, Cat Stevens did not rock harder than Yes or Deep Purple, but he did help usher in and define (along with James Taylor and Carole King) the era of singer/songwriter that was a very large part of the rock & roll story during the seventies. Other artists had hits with Cat Stevens' penned songs as early as 1966 up through Sheryl Crow's rendition of "First Cut Is The Deepest" in the mid-2000's.

As for Stevens' career as a recording artist, the one-two punch of Teaser and The Firecat (#2 Billboard Album) and Tea For the Tillerman (#8 Billboard Album) is almost enough to get him in based solely on the brilliance of those two albums and the singles that they spawned. His career didn't stop there, though. Throughout the 70's, Stevens had seven albums reach the Top 10 and another two reach the Top 40. He had fourteen songs reach the Billboard Singles chart, with a total of eleven songs in the Top 40 (including two #1's, a #2, and two #6's). His influence far outweighed his chart success, though.

I can make a strong case for Yes being included in the R&R HOF based on their influence on progressive rock, but it wouldn't come at the expense of Cat Stevens omission (Linda Ronstadt, perhaps!). The R&R HOF has never been about who rocks the hardest; not many would say that very-deserving Buddy Holly from the inaugural class of the R&R HOF "rocked hard" (he was really more of a pop artist), but he certainly deserves to be there.

To each his own, and at least it makes for a good debate!

meowmix

I see your point toredown however I guess I was one of those kids back then who didn't care for the folksy music that Taylor, Carole King and their ilk created. Also, once again ignored Todd Rundgren. PS--Rod Stewart's rendition of "First cut is the Deepest" is by far the very best!

toredown11

Agree with you about Rod's version, Meowmix!

Pterocarya frax...

Thanks for the trip down memory lane toredown11. I have Tea for the Tillerman playing now.

Hollie Newton

Todd is God.

Contango

Beg to differ: Todd is a minor deity.

Clapton is God.

http://strangebrewblog.tumblr.co...

Pterocarya frax...

Sorry but Hollie is right...again. I dare you to spin A Wizard, a True Star, or Ra (with Utopia) on a turntable through some great speakers, and then tell us that sellout (Clapton) is better.

G_Richardson

I believe the best guitarist debate will linger longer than any of us are on this planet and it is of little use trying to convince one another who is better. IMHO Clapton or Hendrix are tied for best with Rundgren running behind Jeff Beck down the line for rock music. As for guitar picking you have to leave it to the Blues guys for being the best of all time.
Example #1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P...

Contango

Re: "Blues guys,"

That's why it don't get much better than "Me and Mr. Johnson."

-----------------

Re: "IMHO Clapton or Hendrix are tied for best,"

Terry Kath was doin' a lota that sh*t before Jimi.

See: "Free Form Guitar" and "South California Purples."

Contango

Re: "A Wizard, a True Star,"

In spite of weird Side One, I own and enjoyed this disk DECADES ago.

However, tastes mature.

Besides, what has he done lately?

Nope, Clapton is God.

Pete

LEMMY!!!!!!!!

(anyone that drink as much as he does, consume vast quantities of chemicals, and still shake walls at his age deserves something!)

Tom Jackson

@toredown11 You make a good argument, so I'm going to attempt a reply. Yes, Cat Stevens was a popular singer-songwriter, but I would argue that Carole King was a much more important artist and James Taylor was a better performer. He had a big career, but he was one of many. I would personally rather listen to, say, Neil Young, but I knew Cat Stevens fans when he was in his heyday. That was um, a few years ago.

But I think most people who listen to progressive rock would agree that Yes was the most important and most popular progressive rock band. The continued exclusion of the band is a slap in the face of progressive rock fans. 

Buddy Holly sounds like a rock and roller to my ears. 

@wetsu I agree that the Rock Hall can't seem to make up its mind whether it values the best and most influential bands (if so, Roxy Music should be admitted) or the most popular (if so, Kiss is overdue.) Maybe Roxy Music is omitted because it was more popular in England? Is this an American bias?

@pptresha I ran a search on the Rock Hall site and couldn't find the J. Geils Band or Peter Wolf. Sorry. 

 

toredown11

Yes (no pun intended), the band Yes were/are vitally important to the progressive rock genre. I would put them and early Genesis at the top of the progressive rock heap. Pink Floyd would rank right up there, too.

The Rock Hall hasn't been too kind to a lot of the big prog-rock bands: Emerson Lake & Palmer, The Moody Blues, King Crimson, Electric Light Orchestra, Jethro Tull, Alan Parsons, 10cc, and of course, Roxy Music -- if I'm correct, none of them are in (although I don't pretend to be an expert on the R&R HOF...more of a casual observer).

I was speaking to a very well known musician at a music industry convention that I was at seven or eight years ago and he told me that even if he was contacted by the Hall, he wasn't going to accept the nomination because of the $10,000 or $20,000 fee (I can't remember the exact fee, but I believe it was one of those). His label wasn't going to pay it because they had gone out of business, and he "sure as hell wasn't going to pay for it!"

Centauri

"Buddy Holly sounds like a rock and roller to my ears."

http://rockhall.com/inductees/bu...
"Inducted at: The 1986 Induction Ceremony"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=...
Everyday-Buddy Holly

http://www.biography.com/people/...
"Cat Stevens was born in London, England on July 21, 1948. His parents ran a restaurant where he learned to play the piano as a child"
"His parents, Greek Cypriot father Stavros Georgiou and Swedish Baptist mother Ingrid Wickman...."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=...
Here Comes My Baby - Original written by Cat Stevens at age 18

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