Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to Honor Neil Diamond, Alice Cooper, Tom Waits, Darlene Love & Dr. John; Also to Totally Ignore All Music Made After 1973 [Oh the Humility]

Posted By on Tue, Dec 21, 2010 at 1:41 PM

Better luck next year.
  • Better luck next year.

In the event that anyone cares anymore, the seemingly self-appointed Supreme Court of Rock Legacy evaluation — the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's board of directors, that is — announced this year’s inductees last week. Comprising the hall’s class of 2010 are Neil Diamond, Alice Cooper, Tom Waits, Darlene Love and Dr. John — naturally begging the response, “Those cornerstone artists aren’t in the fucking Rock and Roll Hall of Fame yet?!”

The hall will also induct Leon Russell (in the sideman category).

Like last year, the most staggering thing about the class of 2010 is that it doesn’t include a single newly eligible artists — that is, one to have released their debut record in 1985. Among such snubbed artists are Sting (solo) and Bon Jovi (talk about dodging a bullet).

In fact, the most recent debut release among this year’s class — and only post-‘60s debut, for that matter — is Tom Waits’ Closing Time, which dropped in 1973. That means every integral post-glam movement in the rock ’n’ roll narrative — from Kraut, to punk, to new wave, to hair and alternative — are wholly ignored this year. And long overlooked but undeniably influential artists like Big Star, DEVO, Joy Division, The Cure, The Smiths, Husker Du, The Replacements, Roxy Music, Richard Thompson, Warren Zevon, Iron Maiden, Slayer, Stevie Ray Vaughan and T. Rex are still not cool enough — or perhaps too cool — for the club. Either that or the clubhouse leaders are just a bunch of stodgy, out-of-touch rockists who — save for U2, R.E.M. and Madonna — stopped actually listening to rock music after the No Nukes concert defined them as a generation.

For the Hall, nominating potential inductees must’ve been a cakewalk when obviously fundamental artists like Elvis (Presley and Costello), The Beatles, Stones, Who, Led Zep, etc. reached their age of inductee eligibility. But as rock music increasingly moves further toward the fringe of pop-culture consciousness — and further out of board members like Jann Wenner and Dave Marsh’s bailiwick — the pool of obligatory Hall of Fame shoe-ins has, at least to the hall, begun to look like a toxic lagoon of standing water in a Cleveland basement. Consequently, the hall now uses their annual arm-and-a-leg-per-plate, veritable knighting ceremony and circle-jerk to fill in oversight gaps in honoring artists of the ’60s and ’70s — like ABBA and Genesis. Which (I guess) explains why a more cult-appreciated artist like Tom Waits — or a once-critically-disdained one like Alice Cooper — had to wait until this year to get some love.

When assessing the list of artists who have entered the rock picture in the last quarter-century, there are only three I can predict, with reasonable certainty, will achieve induction as soon as they’re eligible: Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Radiohead. Seriously, I’ll bet money that Nirvana makes it in before Sonic Youth and The Pixies. That’s fucking absurd. But they’ll at least probably get the honor at some point. I’m guessing once 2015 or ’16 rolls around, we’ll see the hall acknowledge the contributions of bands like The Zombies, The Faces, The New York Dolls, E.L.O, Cheap Trick, Black Flag, Kraftwerk, Captain Beefheart (R.I.P.), Nick Drake, Gil Scott-Heron,The Jam, Gang of Four and Depeche Mode. But that’s just wishful thinking. And rock ‘n’ roll will probably turn to dust in the wind before the hall ever gives in and inducts KISS, Rush or The Red Hot Chili Peppers. Although they are letting Neil Diamond (the jazz singer) through the door this year, so I guess it’s anyone’s game.

The annual induction ceremony is slated for March 14 at New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Fuse will broadcast the proceedings live. They might rock as hard as this:

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