After a few weak sister classes of nominees, the 2014 list for potential inclusion in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame finally has an abundance of talent, history and riches for fans and other voters to choose.
The 2014 nominees are Nirvana, KISS, Hall and Oates, YES, Linda Ronstadt, Peter Gabriel, Chic, Deep Purple, The Meters, N.W.A., LL Cool J, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Link Wray, The Replacements, Cat Stevens and The Zombies.
Balloting ends in December and the 2014 induction ceremony will be held in New York City on April 10 and later broadcast on HBO (always one of the best programs of the season).
Let’s examines the possibilities. The very fact that KISS is NOT already in the Hall of Fame is a sham and a stain on that institution. For its longevity and popularity, this group should be unanimously given its due (and long, LONG overdue).
The blue-eyed soul Philadelphia sound of Daryl Hall and John Oates produced as many hit records as anyone in the late 1970s and 1980s and should be another unanimous balloting selection. They packed arenas and sold millions of albums; what more must be asked?
Deep Purple was a British group that brought heavy metal to the forefront as early as 1969 with its release of a Billy Joe Royal song, “Hush.” What followed was a catalog of major hits, including the seminal “Smoke on the Water” and “Woman from Tokyo.” No Deep Purple, no Metallica, no Black Sabbath or Judas Priest or Ronnie James Dio.
With rap and hip-hop becoming a more prevalent presence in the HOF, and with the induction of Public Enemy last year, the group/artist deserving the next slot is N.W.A., led by Dr. Dre and Ice Cube. “Straight Out of Compton” was an album that altered musical tastes and standards.
Unless you appreciate 1950s instrumental rock music, you won’t fully comprehend the true greatness of guitarist Link Wary. His record, “Rumble,” also altered the way that instrument was heard, recorded and appreciated. His influence touched the likes of Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton – just to name a few of the greatest.
You have five right there and the argument could extend to Linda Ronstadt (well, well deserving of inclusion for her body of work), YES (defined what progressive rock was and will be), Cat Stevens (before his religious conversion, he was a leader in terms of songwriting and singing), Peter Gabriel (already a Hall of Famer with Genesis) who combined the African sound he cherished with personal politics (“Biko” is the best example), and The Zombies (another member of the 1960s British invasion with its unique, non-Beatles sound such as "She's Not There" and "Time of the Season").
And then there is Nirvana, whose star shone white-hot bright and then, in a needle’s push, was gone. As in the case of Guns ‘n Roses, voters must ask if an album or two in a relatively short period of time qualifies for Hall of Fame status.
The answers should be interesting.