Tom Morello's 2003 Speech Inducting The Clash into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

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When Tom Morello passionately inducted KISS into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014, it was widely hailed as one of the best induction speeches in recent history. One of the reasons it was so great was that Morello clearly had a personal connection to the band’s music and was a vocal advocate for their induction.

In 2003, Morello (and the Edge, in a separate speech) had the opportunity to induct another one of his greatest influences, The Clash.

I had the good fortune to see The Clash at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago when I was a teenager. It was an experience that changed my life. Even before the first note was played, the transformation began. I bought a t-shirt in the lobby. I was used to buying heavy metal t-shirts that had lots of pictures of garish wizards and dragons on them. But this Clash shirt was very different. It just had a few small words written over the heart. It said “the future is unwritten.” And when I saw the Clash play, I knew exactly what that phrase meant.

The Clash perform with passion, commitment, purpose, righteousness, and an unflinching political fire. There was such a sense of community in the room, it seemed like absolutely anything was possible. I was energized, politicized and changed by The Clash that night. And I knew that the future was unwritten and maybe we fans and that band would maybe write it together.

Joe Strummer was even playing through the same little amp I used when I was a high schooler. They proved to me that you didn’t need a big wall of Marshall stacks and a castle on a Scottish loch to make great rock and roll music. All you had to do was tell the truth and really, really, really mean it. I’d never seen a better band before that night and I’ve never seen a better band since. That’s very true.

The Clash were one of those rare bands that were greater than the sum of their parts, and yet the parts were awesome. Mick was the brilliant arranger and tunesmith, always looking forward musically. Let’s hear it for Mick. Right on. Always looking forward musically and pushing the boundaries of what was possible for a punk band, of what was possible for any band. Paul was just so damn cool looking. And as you’ll see, he’s still so damn cool-looking tonight. He’s running it like a pimp. And the image of him smashing the bass on the cover of London Calling, sums up the fury and beautiful force of the band. He also wove in the reggae influence that completed that Clash chemistry -- of three chords, a funky groove and the truth.

Terry Chimes provided the cavalry charge beats that propelled some of their early anthems, but it was Topper that made it all possible with his drumming. He effortlessly, and with great originality and skill, steered the band through genres undreamt of by their peers.

But really, they had no peers. Because at the center of the Clash hurricane stood one of the greatest hearts and deepest souls of 20th century music. At the center of the Clash stood Joe Strummer.

Joe Strummer died on December 22nd, 2002. But when Joe Strummer played, he played as if the world could be changed by a three minute song. And he was right. Those songs changed a lot of people’s worlds forever, mine at the top of the list. He was a brilliant lyricist with anger and wit always stood up for the underdog. And his idealism and conviction instilled in me the courage to pick up a guitar and the courage to try to make a difference with it.

In the great Clash anthem White Riot, Joe sang, “are you taking over? / or are you taking orders? / are you going backwards? / or are you going forwards?” And when I heard that, I wrote those four lines down, I put them on my refrigerator, and I answer those four questions for myself every single day. And to this day, I still do.

Joe Strummer was my greatest inspiration and my favorite singer of all-time and my hero. I miss him so much and I was looking forward to him standing on this stage and rocking with his friends tonight. And I know that he was too. I’m grateful though to have the tremendous legacy of music that the Clash left behind, cause through it, Joe Strummer and the Clash will continue to inspire and agitate well into the future. In fact, the Clash aren’t really gone at all. Because whenever a band cares more about its fans than its bank account, the spirit of the Clash is there. Whenever a band plays as if every single person’s soul in the room is at stake, the spirit of the Clash is there. And whenever a stadium band or little garage band has the guts to put their beliefs on the line to make a difference, the spirit of the Clash is there. And whenever people take to the streets to stop an unjust war, the spirit of the Clash is definitely there.

Tonight, we will honor the Clash, and Joe Strummer, with toasts and applause, but the best way to honor them is by putting the Clash’s philosophy into practice. By waking up each morning  knowing that the future is unwritten, and that it can be a future where human rights, peace and justice come first. But it is entirely up to us. To me, that’s what the Clash was all about.

They combined revolutionary sounds with revolutionary ideas. Their music launched thousands of bands and moved millions of fans. And I cannot imagine what my life would have been without them.

During their heyday, they were known as the only band that matters. And 25 years later, that still seems just about right to me.


Tom Morello Inducts the Clash into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Library and Archives, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

As a prominent member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominating Committee, Morello, like Stevie Van Zandt and Robbie Robertson, will likely be called upon again to deliver additional induction speeches in the future.

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Steve Miller Exposes the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Calls for a Change in Leadership

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The biggest news to come out of the 2016 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony was Steve Miller’s harsh words for the institution and its organizers. In the press room after his performance, Miller unloaded:
The whole process is unpleasant. The whole process needs to be changed from the top to the bottom. It doesn’t need to be this hard. There is nothing fancy going on out there that requires all of this stuff.

They need to get their legal work straight. They need to respect the artists they say they’re honoring, which they don’t. I don’t have any of my paperwork signed, I have no licensing agreements with these people. They’re trying to steal footage. They’re trying to make me indemnify them.

When they told me I was inducted they said, “You can have two tickets - one for your wife and one for yourself. Want another one? It’s $10,000 - sorry that’s the way it goes.” I said, “I’m playing here. What about my band? What about their wives?” They make this so unpleasant.

They came this close - [publicist asks Miller to wrap it up]

No, we’re not going to wrap this up - I’m going to wrap you up. You go sit down over there and learn something. Here’s what you need to know. This is how close this whole show came to not happening because of the way the artists are actually being treated right now. So I’ll wrap it up.

In a separate interview with AP, Miller had further thoughts:

It wasn’t very overwhelming. It was kind of like a lazy kind of night with a bunch of fat cats at the dinner table.

It’s not a real pleasant experience, to tell you the truth. The reason it isn’t is because they make it so difficult for the artists. I think it’s time for the people running this to turn it over to new people, because it doesn’t need to be this difficult.

I don’t know why I was nominated for this, because i’ve said this about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for 30 years and I don’t get along with the people who run it. When I found out about it, I felt like I was in a bullshit reality TV show.

Miller also said, "My fans take it seriously. I really didn't want to show up... You tell me what the hell is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and what does it do besides talk about itself and sell postcards?”

Some of Miller’s criticism of the institution came out during his eight minute acceptance speech on stage:

And to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I’d thank you for your hard work on behalf of all musicians. And I encourage you to keep expanding your vision. To be more inclusive of women and to be more transparent with your dealings with the public. And most importantly, to do much more to provide music in our schools.

If you follow the dealings of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, none of this is news. We have been documenting the Rock Hall’s issues with women, transparency and treatment of artists for years.

Artists have been complaining about the Rock Hall for decades too. In 1997, Neil Young boycotted the ceremony for similar reasons that Steve Miller outlined above:

Young, who was inducted as a member of Buffalo Springfield, boycotted the performance because of a dispute with the rock hall over its refusal to provide him with enough free tickets to bring his family to the $1,500-a-plate dinner.

In a letter to the rock hall, VH1, Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun and his Buffalo Springfield bandmates, Young also said he was upset with the rock hall's decision to sell broadcast rights to VH1, feeling that featuring the ceremony on TV commercialized and cheapened it.

”The VH1 Hall of Fame presentation has nothing to do with the spirit of rock 'n' roll," wrote Young. "It has everything to do with making money. Inductees are severely limited in the amount of guests they can bring. They are forced to be on a TV show, for which they are not paid.”

Let’s also not forget the Sex Pistols letter.

What makes Steve Miller’s statements so important is that he decided to step on the neck of the Rock Hall on the night he was being inducted. Usually any bad feelings get pushed to the side on a night filled with so much positive energy from your peers and fans, but Miller knew that his words would carry the most impact at that moment.

The question now is, will this actually change anything? The Rock Hall has been mismanaging artist relations for years, which has led to numerous lost opportunities for induction ceremony reunions (including two this year alone). When will the Rock Hall board wake up and realize that this isn’t working on nearly every level? The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation’s primary responsibilities are running the induction process, organizing the induction ceremonies and raising money. How much more failure in each of these areas is the Rock Hall willing to endure?

Steve Miller said, “I think it’s time for the people running this to turn it over to new people, because it doesn’t need to be this difficult.” We agree.

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E-Rockracy: Public Image, Damaged: The Rock Hall's Public Perception Problem

Before last night’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, fellow Rock Hall follower Eric Layton wrote a great piece about the increasingly damaged institution. After the Ceremony last night, 2016 inductee Steve Miller echoed many of these sentiments. Reposted here with permission.

As the stars converge and the hype builds for the 31st Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Brooklyn tonight, it's important not to lose sight of an inescapable fact: By any measure, the Rock Hall is an American institution with a tarnished public image. Sad to say, but it's lost hearts and minds. When tickets for your annual watershed gala event are going on StubHub for $12, and the simulcast of said event at the museum isn't sold out, well, those are bad omens.

There's an acute public perception problem here, and the reasons go beyond why your favorite band isn't in the hall yet; in fact, let's please put those reflexive, tiresome, moody blues to rest for now. In considering the Rock Hall gestalt, there are two entities that feed off each other. First there's the museum in Cleveland, which opened in 1995 and is an exceptionally-curated music fan pilgrimage. Secondly and most significantly, there is the organization that spearheaded the museum, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, NYC-based and formed in 1983 by the late Ahmet Ertegun, Jann Wenner, Seymour Stein, Jon Landau, and others to recognize achievement in popular music.

That mission sounds simple enough. In fact, the early years, marked by the privately-held induction ceremonies at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City, were a relatively non-controversial, celebratory breeze. Elvis! Chuck Berry! Bob Dylan! Aretha! The Beatles! But as decades have gone on, and as Wenner has dubiously claimed "all the no-brainers" are inducted, it seems that myriad issues have cropped up that threaten to irrevocably damage the very idea of "The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame." These issues include, but are not necessarily limited to, transparency, communication, gender equality, credibility, common sense, and conflicts of interest:

  • Transparency - Most people that follow the hall closely, as well as casual observers/everyday rock fans, get a sense that most major Rock Hall decisions are being made behind closed doors. This is a non-profit that is driven by donations, but the institution seems to act with impunity and zero accountability. Does anyone on the outside, let alone donors, know what's going on? Sure, financial numbers get disclosed.  But missing is the basic information that would actually matter to the populist masses the Hall is purportedly courting to buy memberships and tickets to the museum/induction ceremonies. The most corrective measure the Hall could take toward transparency would be to disclose the vote counts that decide who gets inducted. A press release is issued, and news outlets and social media are abuzz on announcement day, but it seems no one truly questions the results. (Does anyone truly believe that Steve Miller got more votes than Janet Jackson? That's not to take sides in support of either, but most fan polls outside the Rock Hall's bot-corrupted fan vote had Janet well ahead, and you'd think there would be at least some parallel).
  • Communication - The fact that most people believed that N.W.A. would perform at the induction ceremony tonight, only to be highly disappointed yesterday when they saw Ice Cube's interview in the New York Times saying they weren't performing due to disagreements with the organizers, is a prime example of the Rock Hall dropping the ball when it comes to communication. How long was this known? It certainly wasn't in the Hall's best interest to disclose that fact. Going broader in terms of the 2016 ceremony, why are there only five performer inductees this year? Previous years have had quite a few more. A sixth slot could have gone to a deserving artist like Yes. Again, there are no real answers from the Hall, just speculation across the board that maybe they're trying to shorten what have been admittedly long ceremonies.
  • Gender Equality - There's not a single female inductee this year, not even a single announced presenter tonight that is female. Furthermore, per the essential Rock Hall resource Future Rock Legends (futurerocklegends.com), "Of the 547 Rock Hall voters we have on our unofficial list, 9.3% are women." Expanding the voting body to include more women is urgent, crucial, and ridiculously overdue. 
  • Credibility - The Hall-run, official fan vote for the 2016 induction class was an abject disaster. Overtaken by bots and registering an inhuman 160,905,154 votes, it's exhibit A for the Hall to come up with a more secure, credible fan voting system. (And yes, Chicago fans, the point is taken that you are passionate, and that you voted a bunch. But you didn't vote 37 million times, as the official Rock Hall fan vote would have us believe.) This needs to be fixed before the next set of nominees is announced.
  • Common Sense - When choosing which band members to induct (or not induct at all, as in tonight's Steve Miller "sans Band" scenario), the committees apparently need to do more research, consult the bands, and use some common sense. In the case of Deep Purple, vocalist Red Evans is being inducted, but bassist Nick Simper was excluded, which is confounding as they played on the same records and were in the band at the same time. Yet every drummer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers was inducted? Inconsistency at best.
  • Conflicts of Interest - The late Bert Berns is being given the Ahmet Ertegun Award for Lifetime Achievement tonight, an honor that is apparently determined not by voting but via the unilateral decision of a nomination committee. Steven Van Zandt and Paul Shaffer are producing a Broadway musical about Bert Berns, and they are both on such a committee. The red flags being raised here, justifiably so, are conflicts of interest, and the overarching sense that the Rock Hall insiders are just going to do whatever they want. Berns, a storied '60s producer, record man and songwriter, has accomplishments that have more than earned him this honor, but it's too bad his induction has this shadow of impropriety over it. 

In closing, the Sex Pistols' Johnny Rotten, upon learning of his band's induction, fired off a burning missive to the Hall in 1996, calling it a "piss stain." He added, "Your anonymous as judges but your still music industry people (sic)." Maybe Rotten's was among the first hearts and minds lost.

That doesn't mean the Rock Hall can't course-correct and win back those that still believe in a credible, well-executed, and balanced recognition of musical achievement. Fixing these issues isn't just the right thing to do; it may even secure the Rock Hall's long-term future.

by Eric Layton -- originally posted on E-Rockracy on 4/8/2016

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Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Nominating Committee Changes

To follow up on the big Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Nominating Committee shakeup from last year, we now know which members were ousted and who remains.

The 13 members who were let go:

MemberYears on the Committee
Bill Adler17
David Bither14
David Dorn2
Gregg Geller26
Bob Hilburn28
Brian Keizer9
Arthur Levy26
Joe Levy15
Joe McEwen26
Bob Merlis24
Claudia Perry17
Touré9
Roy Trakin13

We list the 28 survivors on our Nominating Committee page, and it should also be noted that they did not add any new members to add a fresh perspective.

It seems unlikely there would be another major change in the Committee this year unless there is disruption in the leadership of the Rock Hall Foundation.

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Open Questions about the 2016 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductions

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On December 17th, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced the 2016 performer inductees: Cheap Trick, Chicago, Deep Purple, Steve Miller and N.W.A. Here are some open questions about this year’s induction class that hopefully can be answered by those in charge of process: Rock Hall Foundation President and CEO Joel Peresman, Rock Hall Museum President Greg Harris, Nominating Committee Chairman Jon Landau, and Rock Hall co-founder Jann Wenner. (Transparency and accountability are two of the tenets of non-profit organizations.)
  1. This year’s performer class includes only five artists, down from the six that have been inducted in recent years. Given the backlog of deserving artists, why the reduction?
  2. Was the number of inductees reduced to shorten the length of the induction ceremony?
  3. If so, why did you schedule the induction ceremony at Barclays Center the day before a hockey game? The last time the ceremony was at Barclays, you had to cancel the end of show jam session because of the curfew.
  4. Regarding the inducted members of Deep Purple, can you explain the rationale for how vocalist Rod Evans can be inducted but bassist Nick Simper is not, despite being in the band during the same era (1968-1969) and performing on the same albums?
  5. We have our theories, but can you explain why Steve Miller has been inducted solo, with no one else from the Steve Miller Band?
  6. Do bands with a complicated membership history have a disadvantage in getting nominated or inducted?
  7. Who were the “experts” you used to determine which members of the inducted artists got in?
  8. The official fan poll effectively ended on October 15th after you instituted limits to protect against volume voters (human or otherwise). Why was the fan poll created with no protective measures in the first place?
  9. When it was determined that the fan poll had fatal flaws, why wasn’t the poll scrapped in favor of a new, secure poll?
  10. Why did you create a poll with unlimited voting (that has almost zero impact on the actual results) that takes advantage of fans’ passions for their favorite artists by wasting their time?
  11. Did the fan poll last year have similar unusual voting activity?
  12. It has been reported that the Voting Committee was expanded this year. How many new voters were added? How many of the new voters are women? (Of the dozen or so new voters we have seen, none are women.)
  13. One of the new voters this year is Howard Stern Show producer Gary Dell’Abate (aka Baba Booey). What are the qualifications for becoming an official voter?
  14. Speaking of women, of the 25 people inducted in the Class of 2016, zero are women. Do you feel the Rock Hall has a gender diversity problem? If so, how do you plan to address it?
  15. Some of the members of the Nominating Committee have recently complained that the Voting Committee isn’t knowledgable enough about the broad history of rock and roll, and ignores the clear wishes of the Nominating Committee (Chic is example #1). Are there plans to change the composition of the electorate (most of whom are Rock Hall inductees) that would be more in line with the Nominating Committee’s views of rock and roll?
  16. Speaking of voters, how many of the over 800 ballots were actually returned this year?
  17. Who counted the votes and will you release the voting totals?
  18. Official ballots were due from voters on December 15th, but it seems clear that the inductees were determined and notified prior to the voting deadline. Given the reported low return rate of ballots, how could you be sure late ballots wouldn’t change the results?
  19. Only inductees in the “performer” category were revealed. When will inductees in the other categories be announced?
  20. The induction ceremony locations were previously going to be on three year cycles between New York, Cleveland and Los Angeles. This year was to be an L.A. year. Why was the L.A. ceremony scrapped? Are there currently plans to return to L.A.?

If you have additional questions about the Rock Hall process that go beyond the usual “why isn’t [my favorite artist] in the Rock Hall?”, leave them in the comments.

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The 2016 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees

The 2016 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees were officially announced on December 17th, just two days after votes were due. So far, only inductees in the Performer category have been announced. Additional inductees in other categories may be announced in late January.

Performers:

Inductees will be honored at the Induction Ceremony in Brooklyn on April 8, 2016. Tickets go on sale to the public in February.

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Future Rock Legends Predicts the 2016 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees

The 2016 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction class will be announced on Thursday, December 17th. Greg Harris, President of the Rock Hall Museum, indicated in October that there would be five performer inductees this year, bucking the recent trend of inducting six. Reducing the number of inductees isn’t going to help alleviate the ever-increasing backlog of deserving artists, but it would make it easier for HBO to edit down the ceremony (recently running well over five hours).

Instead of trying to forecast who the voters selected, let’s examine this from the standpoint of a television production (as Rock Hall Nominating Committee member Dave Marsh recently put it, “that tail wags that dog every year”). With that in mind, Future Rock Legends predicts the following five artists will be 2016 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees:

  • N.W.A - This is N.W.A’s fourth consecutive nomination, and the second straight year they have been the only hip hop artist on the ballot. The film based on their career, Straight Outta Compton, was a huge hit (fifth largest August opening weekend ever) and their stock will never be hotter than it is right now.
  • Janet Jackson - Speaking of artists who have had a good year, Janet Jackson has enjoyed a career resurgence after releasing a critically acclaimed album and launching an arena tour. Janet also happened to finish first in our unofficial Rock Hall poll, appearing on 48% of voters ballots.
  • Chicago - The Rock Hall hasn’t set the date or the venue for the 2016 induction ceremony, except to say it will be in New York in April. Chicago is touring this spring, and are scheduled to wrap up that leg of their tour at Madison Square Garden on April 18th. Hmmm... (a side note to this: Yes is beginning a UK tour on April 27th. Chic is potentially playing Coachella this year April 15-17 and 22-24. Chicago is on tour in early April. Steve Miller Band is touring extensively next year, but is on a break for all of April. If you don’t think the Rock Hall and HBO consider this stuff, you’re crazy. Never forget it’s a show to raise money for the non-profit Rock Hall Foundation. They aren’t going to induct an artist who can’t make it because they’re on tour, if they have other options available. Disinterested artists like Deep Purple are also hard to induct if the Rock Hall isn’t sure if they will show up for the ceremony.)
  • Steve Miller - At the induction ceremony, the Rock Hall likes to pair up an inductee with another rock star or two for the performances (think Miley Cyrus / Joan Jett, Chris Martin / Peter Gabriel, Stevie Wonder / Bill Withers). Perhaps Ace Frehley can finally perform on the Rock Hall stage and join Steve Miller for a performance of “The Joker.”
  • Nine Inch Nails - One of the truisms of our site is that every artist on Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time is in the Rock Hall or will be when they become eligible (except for Gram Parsons -- it seems the Rock Hall forgot he hasn’t been inducted yet). Nine Inch Nails is #94 and should be inducted.
  • If there are six inductees, Chic is our pick.

We conduct our own unofficial poll here which, unlike the official Rock Hall poll, requires voters to select five artists on their ballot. The results (after 2253 ballots):

  1. Janet Jackson 48%
  2. Chicago 46%
  3. N.W.A 45%
  4. Deep Purple 44%
  5. Nine Inch Nails 39%
  6. Chic 33%
  7. The Cars 33%
  8. Yes 33%
  9. Steve Miller 32%
  10. Cheap Trick 32%
  11. The Smiths 32%
  12. The Spinners 27%
  13. Chaka Khan 27%
  14. Los Lobos 19%
  15. The J.B.’s 9%

For the record, the top five in the corrupted official Rock Hall fan poll were Chicago, Yes, The Cars, Deep Purple and Steve Miller. Rock Hall, please get it together next year. This year’s poll was an embarrassment. Also, try not to brag about the phony inflated vote totals.

One final prediction: the venue for the induction ceremony hasn’t been announced yet, but we’ll predict it will be at Radio City Music Hall this time. Barclays Center and Madison Square Garden would be difficult to book since the NHL and NBA playoffs begin in mid-April. (How long do these venues need to hold those dates? Until the teams are officially eliminated from the postseason?)

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The Evolution of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Ballot

2008 Ballot


2009 Ballot

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2010 Ballot

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2011 Ballot

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2012 Ballot

2011RockHallBallot-2

2013 Ballot

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2014 Ballot

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A complete look at the 2014 ballot at LinkWray.com.


2015 Ballot

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2016 Ballot

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EddieTrunk2016Ballot

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Charles Crossley, Jr. breaks down the 2016 Rock Hall Nominees

Here is Rock and Roll Hall of Fame expert Charles Crossley, Jr’s detailed analysis of the 2016 nominees (reposted here with permission from his message board):

Here's my yearly analysis of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominee Ballot.  Each year, the nominating committee (I refer to them as the "nomcom") select a group of acts eligible for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Acts are eligible 25 years after their first national release.  The nominating committee is composed of rock critics, music industry executives, managers, a few musicians, one or two music historians and a few people I’m not sure who they are. . . .  Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone magazine is Chairman of the R&RHoF, Joel Peresman is CEO of the R&RHoF Foundation, Greg Harris is CEO of the R&RHoF Museum, and Jon Landau, manager of Bruce Springsteen, is President of the R&RHoF Nominating Committee.   The Foundation oversees the Museum, the Library and Archives, the nominating and induction processes, fundraising and the induction ceremony, its biggest fundraiser. 
It seems many people define rock as “white boys playing loud”, with maybe a few exceptions that seem to prove the rule.  Many others have a broad definition of rock using one rule of thumb or another.  The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame uses a broad definition, pointing back to the beginning of rock in the late 40s on.  Personally, I define rock from the perspective of Alan Freed, the disc jockey who popularized the term “rock and roll” to refer to the music rather than just sex.  Freed played what we would call early R&B and doo wop, and called that “rock and roll”.  I define rock and roll as any music Freed played and any music that is derived from what Freed played.  And that covers a lot of music. . . . 
My analysis started as a reaction to many theories about who the nomcom nominates.  People have written that the nomcom nominates this type of act or that type of act.  The analysis has now grown beyond a tool of disproving theories to just being plain interesting. 
So, first, let’s look at this year’s R&RHoF
nominee ballot:

*The Cars
*Cheap Trick
*Chic
*Chicago
*Deep Purple
*Janet Jackson
*The J.B.'s
*Chaka Khan (Note: this is as a soloist, not as a member of Rufus)
*Los Lobos
*Steve Miller (Note: unless the R&RHoF changes its mind, this is just Steve Miller, and not the Steve Miller Band)
*Nine Inch Nails
*N.W.A
*The Smiths
*The Spinners
*Yes

Next, let’s look at the
subgenres represented. 

Note:  artists don’t like being labeled by subgenres or styles.  It’s not how they usually look at creating music, and they see it as a type of pigeon-holing that keeps people from hearing their music.  That said, fans, radio stations and retailers use subgenres or styles to help them sort through the myriads of acts to find acts that to them seem similar.  I don’t mean to offend any artists, but please understand – this is how fans view music acts.

2 – Alternative
1 – Dance pop
1 - Disco
1 - Funk
1 – Jazz rock
1 - Metal
1 – New wave
1 – Philly soul
1 – Pop rock
1 – Power pop
1 – Progressive rock
1 - Rap
1 – Roots rock
1 – Soul

Next, by
members, including birthplaces. Asterisks (*) indicates members who will most likely be inducted, either because they appeared on two important recordings or because, in the case of Nine Inch Nails, they were Trent Reznor (yes, I'm blunt).... Any members not listed did not appear on a major recording. ??? indicates unknown birthplace or birthdate


The Cars
*Ric Ocasek - lead vocals, rhythm guitar (B. 23 Mar 1944 in Baltimore, Maryland)
*Greg Hawkes - lead guitar (B. 22 Oct 1952 in Fulton, Maryland)
*Elliot Easton - keyboards (B. 18 Dec 1953 in Brooklyn, New York, New York)
*David Robinson - drums (B. 24 Apr 1949 in Maiden, Massachusetts)
*Benjamin Orr - bass, lead vocals (B. 08 Sep 1947 in Lakewood, Ohio - d. 03 Oct 2000 in Atlanta, Georgia of pancreatic cancer at the age of 53)


Cheap Trick *Robin Zander- vocals, guitar (B. 23 Jan 1953, Beloit, Washington)
*Tom Petersson- bass (B. 09 May 1950, Rockford, Illinois)
*Rick Nielsen- guitar  (B. 22 Dec 1946, Elmhurst, Illinois)
*Bun E. Carlos- drums (B. 12 Jun 1950, Rockford, Illinois)
Randy “Xeno” Hogan – vocals (B. 02 May ???, Rockford,Illinois)
Ken Adamany – keyboards (birthdate ???, birthplace ???)
Stu Erikson – bass (birthdate ???, birthplace???)
Pete Comita – bass (birthdate ???, birthplace ???)
Jon Brant – bass (B. 20 Feb 1954, Chicago, Illinois)
Daxx Nielsen – drums (B. 12 Aug 1980, birthplace ???)


Chic *Bernard Edwards- bass (B. 31 Oct 1952, Greenville, North Carolina-D. 18 Apr 1996, Tokyo, Japan of pneumonia)
*Nile Rodgers- guitar (B. 19 Sep 1952, Greenwich Village, New York, New York)
*Tony Thompson- drums (B. 05 Nov 1954, Queens, New York, New York-d. 12 Nov 2003, Encino, California of kidney cancer)
*Norma Jean Wright- vocals (B. ??? in Ripley, Tennessee, R. in Elyria, Ohio)
*Luci Martin- vocals (B. 10 Jan 1955, The Bronx, New York, New York, R. in Queens, New York, New York)
*Alfa Anderson- vocals  (B. 07 Sep 1946, The Bronx, New York, New York)

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Rock Hall Nominating Committee Member Dave Marsh Opens Up About the Induction Process

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Notorious KISS antagonist and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominating Committee member Dave Marsh, recently gave an interview to L.A. Radio Sessions, in which he revealed many of his frustrations with the induction process. A portion of the interview was posted on YouTube. Here is our transcript, lightly edited for clarity:

LA Radio Sessions: Let’s talk a little about the procedure, because people forget from year to year. I hear all these wide accusations that it’s all a Rolling Stone magazine Hall of Fame and this and that.

Dave Marsh: I’ve been on the Nominating Committee for more than 20 years and Jann wouldn’t have me in the magazine if I had a gun to his head. And I probably wouldn’t be in the magazine if you had a gun to my head! There are a couple of people from Rolling Stone, as there should be, in every version of the Committee, which did change shape and get a little smaller this year.

LA Radio Sessions: Can we talk about that at all?

Dave Marsh: There was a perception that it was too big and we were spending a lot of time just naming names and then voting on them and not having enough of a discussion. And the whole process… it’s actually... this is one of those moments where it’s unfair to a given individual who everybody, or almost everybody, slams all the time, because it was his perception. But that’s not anybody’s business outside of the Committee, so I can’t talk about it. I think that’s a broad enough hint. [Ed. Note: he is surely talking about Jann Wenner]

Whether you want to go out to dinner with somebody or not is irrelevant if they perceive something and help you make it better. And this is a slightly different approach and I think it’s a much better ballot than the last couple of years. Last year had a very good result off a relatively weak ballot, I think. This year, it’s much more difficult for the voters to make a mistake. And before we go any farther, let me say this, ok? This is… this is a hard thing to say, because I have a real commitment to this institution. And I think it was a wise and important thing to create it. But. The fact of the matter is, it is the only hall of fame in the world that convenes a group of experts to make its ballot and then gives the voting over to people who know less than a smidgen as much as the people who are in that room. It’s an insipid process. It really is.

That’s not the first time a Nominating Committee member has criticized the choices of the Voters, the majority of whom are Hall of Famers. Marsh seems to think that this year’s ballot is deep enough that no matter who the voters choose, it will be a solid induction class.

Dave Marsh: The first Rock and Roll Hall of Fame classes, the first couple years, there were 10, 15 people that got in… What were you going to do, say “yes” to Chuck Berry and “no” to Buddy Holly? But it’s not like there isn’t still the wealth of… some of the people are more obscure and some of the people are more controversial... and keeping the tent as big as it needs to be is a continuing problem. But in the end, doing it five people a year is just completely frustrating. And it takes something that could be really, really great. And because they pay for the event with the TV show, I guess, I’ve never been able to figure it out on any other basis, that tail wags that dog every year.

This is a startlingly frank admission from a member of the Nominating Committee, acknowledging the influence the Rock Hall’s television partners (currently HBO) have over the process.

Dave Marsh: It’s kind of heartbreaking because… one of the things that happens is simple. People die. Darlene [Love] could have died without getting in the Hall of Fame. This has been such a holocaustal year for great musicians dying, that’s really foremost in my mind. Everybody is getting older. It’s not just those early British invasion bands who have turned 70, hell, the early British invasion bands are worrying about 80! It’s a few years off, but it’s going to happen. If you were born in ‘38 or ‘39 it’s gonna happen. Sam Moore will be 80 this year. So you’re going to start losing people that you shouldn’t lose without honoring them while they’re alive. And the longer you wait, the fewer people who actually remember how great something was.

And I’ll just use, because they’re on the ballot, and because it’s been an ongoing conversation, and because it’s the strangest area where the Hall of Fame’s inductees are weak… is hard rock bands. And the notion that Deep Purple [Ed. Note: keyboardist Jon Lord died in 2012], who are a great band by any definition of rock and roll. They made record after record. I know I took them for granted for way too long. And there’s a bunch of people like that, whether it’s somebody whose style is pretty much forgotten and discarded, like Marc Bolan, who is not on the ballot, and to the best of my knowledge has never been on the ballot, but who was the spirit of rock and roll. I would say in historical terms, one of the luckiest things that ever happened to David Bowie was Marc Bolan’s car crash. I don’t mean that to say anything mean about David exactly, but Marc was just something extraordinarily special. And when you’ve got a process that won’t even let you get around to that fact, because there are other even bigger problems that have to be addressed... It’s frustrating. Not because anybody wants it to be frustrating.

Then you got the whole problem… this is something for which radio needs to be taken to task, and particularly the genuinely evil Lee Abrams period. This continuing confusion about what the relationship between white rock and black rock ought to be, or is. And make no mistake, you have to talk about it like that, they have the same root. And they travelled at some points, and the paths have diverged quite extremely, and then again they always come back together. The musicians always know what the connection is. You never have any trouble explaining that to a musician, or at least not a musician who is worth talking to. So these are the all the limits within which that ballot got created.

I say this partly because I’m tired of pretending a whole bunch of things… it’s the Cream magazine person in me that wants to say, hey, there’s right, there’s wrong. Yes, we will never agree with anything the way we all agreed on Elvis. Yes, the same thing should be true of James Brown, and it never will be. And that we need to reckon with. We also need to reckon with the fact that people think they know the history of rock and roll, and I will tell you right now, 750 people are going to get this ballot, there are not 750 people in the world, on the surface of the earth, who can adequately comprehend what has happened since 1955. It’s just simply, you know… God knows, if you stick me in with a bunch of electronic acts, or those brit-pop things from the Duran Duran period, or there’s all kinds of nooks and crannies or sometimes rivers, that missed me.

LA Radio Sessions: Right, of course. Missed all of us.

Dave Marsh: I remember talking to Jon Landau, who is one of the original rock critics who is still alive that I’m closest to, and him saying to me at a certain point, “You know, it’s all going to be different now.” And we were up to about 1966 or 1967. And I thought about it as a person who didn’t much care for what came out of San Francisco, give or take Sly and Creedence. And yeah, it’s going to be different, we’re not going to agree the way we used to. And that’s what he was thinking about too. So when we talk, yes I’m on the Nominating Committee, no, I’m not a person who agrees with everything the Nominating Committee does, or with all the ways in which it’s compelled to do its job, but at the same time, I’m very proud to be part of it. And the institution, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, is not a bad idea, it’s a very good one. Because somebody needs to do this. And we need always to be criticizing ourselves and each other and having people outside the process doing the same thing.

The only thing I can add to that is that I believe this to such a point that after about six months I realized that I should have been been supporting KISS getting into the Hall of Fame all along, for the simple reason that now all those idiots have to shut the f**k up about it. [laughter] I went, “Oh, really? This all dies down? I should have voted for them!”

It’s always fascinating when Nominating Committee members speak on the record about the induction process. It is nice to hear that they can be as frustrated with the system as their critics, but it also seems clear that any major changes will have to come from the top.

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Unusual Voting Activity in the Official Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Fan Poll

Shortly after voting began in the official 2016 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Fan Poll, unusual voting patterns began to emerge. After just 48 hours of voting, the top five artists (Chicago, Yes, The Cars, Steve Miller and Deep Purple) had over 14 million votes each and had 86% of all votes. During the same time period, fellow classic rock nominee Cheap Trick could only garner 525,000 votes, just 0.64%, compared to the 17% each the leaders were receiving.

Poll Tracking 10-14-2016

To get a sense of how real fans vote (this is the 10th year of our poll!), let’s look at some vote distributions from various internet polls where you can cast a ballot for multiple artists (all results as of 10/14/2015).

First, the Future Rock Legends poll (5100 total votes, must vote for five artists):

FRL RockHall Poll

Next, the Cleveland.com poll (7277 total votes, can vote for up to eight artists):

Cleveland.com RockHall Poll

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Poll (4920 total votes, can vote for up to six artists):

Post-Gazette RockHall Poll

And finally, the official Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Fan Poll (over 158 million total “votes,” can vote for up to five artists):

RockHall2016FanPoll

Rock Hall Museum President Greg Harris was touting last year’s record 59 million votes in the fan poll, which took two months. This year, they shattered that record in less than 48 hours, but examining the results, it’s not hard to wonder if there aren’t non-human hands at work. The Rock Hall failed once again to publish any rules about the poll, just urging people to “vote often.” Unfortunately, the one poll that is the easiest to game is the one that counts.

One of the reasons this is so outrageous is that there are a lot of real fans of the nominated artists who are spending a lot of time voting and urging others to vote. But they can’t compete with scripts that can cast one million votes per hour.

The Rock Hall needs to remove this poll, scrap the results, and replace it with one that is fair and secure. The first two years of the fan poll, the Rock Hall enlisted online poll professionals PollDaddy to host the poll. Beginning last year, they took the poll into their own hands which has led to nothing but erratic results (last year, Nine Inch Nails received 22% of the vote; this year, just 0.3%, which is strange to say the least).

Let’s also not forget that the lack of rules with the fan poll is symptomatic of the induction process in general. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is the only major award that doesn’t use an independent accounting firm to tally the results from their voters.

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Using Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Guitarists of All-Time as a Predictor for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

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In 2011, Rolling Stone released their list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All-Time, created by musicians and other experts*. (Rolling Stone originally released a list in 2003 that was just David Fricke’s picks, which is less instructive for this exercise.)

As with the other Rolling Stone lists, there are a large number of Rock and Roll Hall of Famers represented here. Just 29 of the guitarists are not in the Hall of Fame. Since this list was created four years ago, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert King, Freddy King, John Frusciante, Slash, Alex Lifeson, Mike Bloomfield, and Kurt Cobain have been inducted, and Link Wray, Deep Purple and the Smiths have been nominated. That’s a pretty good run. We’ll see if it continues this year.

The full list (linked artists are not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame):

  1. Jimi Hendrix
  2. Eric Clapton
  3. Jimmy Page
  4. Keith Richards
  5. Jeff Beck
  6. B.B. King
  7. Chuck Berry
  8. Eddie Van Halen
  9. Duane Allman
  10. Pete Townshend
  11. George Harrison
  12. Stevie Ray Vaughan
  13. Albert King
  14. David Gilmour
  15. Freddy King
  16. Derek Trucks
  17. Neil Young
  18. Les Paul
  19. James Burton
  20. Carlos Santana
  21. Chet Atkins
  22. Frank Zappa
  23. Buddy Guy
  24. Angus Young
  25. Tony Iommi
  26. Brian May
  27. Bo Diddley
  28. Johnny Ramone
  29. Scotty Moore
  30. Elmore James
  31. Ry Cooder
  32. Billy Gibbons
  33. Prince
  34. Curtis Mayfield
  35. John Lee Hooker
  36. Randy Rhoads
  37. Mick Taylor
  38. The Edge
  39. Steve Cropper
  40. Tom Morello
  41. Mick Ronson
  42. Mike Bloomfield
  43. Hubert Sumlin
  44. Mark Knopfler
  45. Link Wray
  46. Jerry Garcia
  47. Stephen Stills
  48. Jonny Greenwood
  49. Muddy Waters
  50. Ritchie Blackmore
  51. Johnny Marr
  52. Clarence White
  53. Otis Rush
  54. Joe Walsh
  55. John Lennon
  56. Albert Collins
  57. Rory Gallagher
  58. Peter Green
  59. Robbie Robertson
  60. Ron Asheton
  61. Dickie Betts
  62. Robert Fripp
  63. Johnny Winter
  64. Duane Eddy 
  65. Slash
  66. Leslie West
  67. T-Bone Walker
  68. John Mclaughlin
  69. Richard Thompson
  70. Jack White
  71. Robert Johnson
  72. John Frusciante
  73. Kurt Cobain
  74. Dick Dale
  75. Joni Mitchell
  76. Robby Krieger
  77. Willie Nelson
  78. John Fahey
  79. Mike Campbell
  80. Buddy Holly
  81. Lou Reed
  82. Nels Cline
  83. Eddie Hazel
  84. Joe Perry
  85. Andy Summers
  86. J Mascis
  87. James Hetfield
  88. Carl Perkins
  89. Bonnie Raitt
  90. Tom Verlaine
  91. Dave Davies
  92. Dimebag Darrell
  93. Paul Simon
  94. Peter Buck
  95. Roger McGuinn
  96. Bruce Springsteen
  97. Steve Jones
  98. Alex Lifeson
  99. Thurston Moore
  100. Lindsey Buckingham

* - Here are the voters who created the list, which includes quite a few members of the Rock Hall’s Nominating Committee (highlighted with links): Trey Anastasio, Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys), Brian Bell (Weezer), Ritchie Blackmore (Deep Purple), Carl Broemel (My Morning Jacket), James Burton, Jerry Cantrell (Alice in Chains), Gary Clark Jr., Billy Corgan, Steve Cropper, Dave Davies (The Kinks), Anthony DeCurtis (Contributing editor, Rolling Stone), Tom DeLonge (Blink-182), Rick Derringer, Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars), Elliot Easton (The Cars), Melissa Etheridge, Don Felder (The Eagles), David Fricke (Senior writer, Rolling Stone), Peter Guralnick (Author), Kirk Hammett (Metallica), Albert Hammond Jr. (The Strokes), Warren Haynes (The Allman Brothers Band), Brian Hiatt (Senior writer, Rolling Stone), David Hidalgo (Los Lobos), Jim James (My Morning Jacket), Lenny Kravitz, Robby Krieger (The Doors), Jon Landau (Manager), Alex Lifeson (Rush), Nils Lofgren (The E Street Band), Mick Mars (Mötley Crüe), Doug Martsch (Built to Spill), J Mascis (Dinosaur Jr.), Brian May, Mike McCready (Pearl Jam), Roger McGuinn (The Byrds), Scotty Moore, Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth), Tom Morello, Dave Mustaine (Megadeth), Brendan O’Brien (Producer), Joe Perry, Vernon Reid (Living Colour), Robbie Robertson, Rich Robinson (The Black Crowes), Carlos Santana, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Marnie Stern, Stephen Stills, Andy Summers, Mick Taylor, Susan Tedeschi, Vieux Farka Touré, Derek Trucks, Eddie Van Halen, Joe Walsh, Nancy Wilson (Heart)

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Using Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Songwriters of All-Time as a Predictor for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Rolling Stone recently released a new “best of” list, the “100 Greatest Songwriters of All-Time.” Unlike most of their other lists, there’s no description of their methodology for ranking the names, so this one feels a bit arbitrary. As usual, these types of lists stir up controversy, but let’s take a look to see if the list can provide any insight into future Rock and Roll Hall of Famers. The close ties between the Rock Hall Nominating Committee and Rolling Stone are no secret, and they often share the same favorites and biases.

Of the 100 songwriters on the list, there are just 29 who are not yet in the Rock Hall, and many of these are primarily known for country music, so they are long shots for induction anyway (Parton, Haggard, Nelson, Lynn, Kristofferson, Prine, and Hall). Ten more aren’t eligible for induction yet, but will be strong candidates in the future.

Some of the eligible artists on the list who are not in the Hall of Fame who could show up on this year’s Performer ballot are Harry Nilsson, The Smiths, Lucinda Williams, Ashford and Simpson, Björk, and the Replacements.

The full list (linked artists are not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame):

  1. Bob Dylan
  2. Paul McCartney
  3. John Lennon
  4. Chuck Berry
  5. Smokey Robinson
  6. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards
  7. Carole King/Carole King and Gerry Goffin
  8. Paul Simon
  9. Joni Mitchell
  10. Stevie Wonder
  11. Bob Marley
  12. Brian Wilson
  13. Hank Williams
  14. Bruce Springsteen
  15. Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier and Brian Holland
  16. Leonard Cohen
  17. Neil Young
  18. Prince
  19. Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry
  20. Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller
  21. Lou Reed
  22. Van Morrison
  23. Robert Johnson
  24. Elvis Costello
  25. Randy Newman
  26. James Brown
  27. Ray Davies
  28. Woody Guthrie
  29. Buddy Holly
  30. Pete Townshend
  31. Dolly Parton
  32. Burt Bacharach and Hal David
  33. Merle Haggard
  34. Michael Jackson
  35. Bono and the Edge
  36. Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter
  37. Jackson Browne
  38. Al Green
  39. David Bowie
  40. John Fogerty
  41. Max Martin
  42. Sly Stone
  43. Johnny Cash
  44. Jimmy Webb
  45. Robbie Robertson
  46. Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong
  47. Neil Diamond
  48. Elton John and Bernie Taupin
  49. Don Henley and Glenn Frey
  50. Billy Joel
  51. Willie Dixon
  52. The Notorious B.I.G.
  53. Stevie Nicks
  54. Kurt Cobain
  55. Tom Waits
  56. Madonna
  57. Joe Strummer and Mick Jones
  58. George Clinton
  59. Tom Petty
  60. Willie Nelson
  61. Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman
  62. Harry Nilsson
  63. Chrissie Hynde
  64. Bert Berns
  65. George Harrison
  66. Kenny Gamble and Leon A. Huff
  67. Morrissey and Marr
  68. Jay Z
  69. James Taylor
  70. Dan Penn
  71. Walter Becker and Donald Fagen
  72. Fats Domino and Dave Barthomolew
  73. Radiohead
  74. Patti Smith
  75. Isaac Hayes and David Porter
  76. Loretta Lynn
  77. Allen Toussaint
  78. Curtis Mayfield
  79. Lucinda Williams
  80. R. Kelly
  81. Björk
  82. Marvin Gaye
  83. Nicholas Ashford and Valerie Simpson
  84. Kanye West
  85. R.E.M.
  86. Sam Cooke
  87. Kris Kristofferson
  88. Barry Mann and Cynthia Weill
  89. Felice and Boudleaux Bryant
  90. Babyface
  91. Eminem
  92. Paul Westerberg
  93. Billie Joe Armstrong
  94. John Prine
  95. The Bee Gees
  96. Timbaland and Missy Elliott
  97. Taylor Swift
  98. Otis Blackwell
  99. Tom T. Hall
  100. Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson
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The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominating Committee Purge of 2015: Questions and Answers

Rock Hall 2015 Nominating Committee

On Friday, June 19th, Ed Christman from Billboard broke the story that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has let go many long-serving members of its Nominating Committee. So, what do we know so far?

Q: How many people from the Nominating Committee were let go?
A: The Billboard article’s headline says “at least 16 nominating members” were dismissed, but in the article, it is framed more as speculation from sources that “as many as 16 of the 42” members are gone. In the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Chuck Yarborough spoke to an ousted member who says the letter from Jon Landau stated the Rock Hall intended “to reduce the size of the committee by a third” to allow for “more flexibility in terms of discussion.” Reducing the Committee by a third would bring it down to about 28 members.

Q: Who was let go?
A: Billboard lists four names: “veteran A&R executive Joe McEwen, a blues and R&B expert; Greg Geller, a label executive specializing in reissues; Arthur Levy, a senior writer at a number of major record labels; and Bob Merlis, one of the industry's most renowned publicists who is now independent but was at Warner Bros. Records from the early 1970s through the 1990s.” Former L.A. Times critic Bob Hilburn confirmed on Twitter that he was dismissed as well. (Roger Friedman reports that Joe Levy was also let go, but it seems possible he mixed him up with Arthur Levy.)

Q: Who is still on the Committee?
There are a lot of question marks here, but Billboard confirms that Landau, Questlove, Cliff Burnstein and Seymour Stein are still involved. It’s probably safe to assume that Museum president Greg Harris is still in. Robbie Robertson, Rick Krim, Paul Shaffer and Rob Light are all deeply involved in the Induction Ceremonies each year. Beyond that, it’s difficult to say. Hopefully more names will be confirmed soon. Here is a full list of Nominating Committee members over the last 30 years.

Q: Why did the Rock Hall target the experts on the Early Rock and R&B Influencers subcommittee?
A: Billboard frames a lot of their story around the idea that the Rock Hall “wiped out more than half of the Hall's Early Rock and R&B Influencers subcommittee.” It’s true that four of the seven members on that committee were let go, but that leaves at least 10 other members who were potentially on other subcommittees that are now gone too. As of five years ago, there were three subcommittees: one on progressive rock and heavy metal; one on hip-hop; and one on early rock and rollers and rhythm & blues.

Q: So what does this mean for future ballots? Will early rock and R&B influencers be ignored?
A: Anymore than they already are? At this point it’s impossible to say. McEwen, Geller, Levy and Merlis aren’t the only people well versed in those eras. All of them had been serving on the Nominating Committee for over 24 years. If their recommendations hadn’t been fully reflected on the ballot by now, perhaps it’s time for others to have a chance to sway the overall Committee. We have evidence in recent years that new members are more effective in getting artists onto the ballot.

Q: Does this have anything to do with artists inducted as “Early Influences”?
A: Not directly. Those artists are chosen by a separate committee. The Rock Hall hasn’t named a true “Early Influence” inductee since 2000. The three since then (Wanda Jackson, Freddie King and the “5’ Royales) were all artists who had been previously nominated on the Performer ballot.

Q: Why did the Rock Hall let go of those specific people?
A: Billboard: “But some Hall of Fame watchers worry that this latest move by Landau and Jann Wenner -- widely seen as the dominating figures in the Hall -- is meant to reduce the focus on the pioneers so that going forward the Hall can focus on artists who came to the fore in the 1980s and soon the 1990s, who might still have more cache with mainstream music fans and HBO, which broadcasts the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's show.”

Ever since HBO got involved, we have been speculating about how this may affect the inductions (more stars, bigger names).

Yarborough: “Is this really a move to get younger meat in the seats, or rather, younger rockphiles through the turnstiles, so to speak? Well, I believe it is, just by the evidence in our own back yard. . . What scares me is that it seems the history of rock 'n' roll is going to take a huge hit in exchange for pandering – yes, I said pandering – to the younger masses.”

Roger Friedman believes Jann Wenner may move the eligibility date for artists down to 20 years: “Replacing nominators with younger people who have no attachment or feel for rock origins, and moving up the eligibility means Wenner can continue to skip over acts he doesn’t like and move on to more recent stars.” More Friedman: “There’s also a theory that Wenner will now try to force in groups like Journey or Kansas so that the HBO show turns into 80s nostalgia.” (C’mon Roger, Jann Wenner forcing in Journey and Kansas? Are you insane?)

Before removing his tweets, Rob Tannenbaum speculated that the Nominating Committee cuts were potentially in retaliation for members speaking to him for his recent Rock Hall story.

Some less conspiratorial theories: Maybe these Nominating Committee members didn’t participate or couldn’t make it to the meetings. Maybe they pushed the same names year after year. Maybe they aren’t familiar with some of the more recently eligible artists.

Is any of this true? At this point, we just don’t know. Perhaps Jon Landau will speak to Billboard as he promised on Friday.

Q: Billboard, Yarborough and Friedman all paint this move as a negative for the Rock Hall. But is it really a bad thing to shuffle the deck once per decade?
A: We have long been advocates of term limits for Nominating Committee members. Each person brings their own expertise and experience to the table, but after 10 years, it’s probably time to change the dynamic in the room. Hopefully Landau and Wenner invite new people to the meeting and don’t just try to lock it down to existing members. Ideally, this would create a ballot full of previously overlooked artists who had never had a chance to be inducted before.

Q: Sound great, but will this really change anything?
A: After the 2006 inductions, the Nominating Committee went from a bloated 72 members down to 31. So how did this affect the 2007 ballot? The biggest change was the number of nominees, which dropped to nine, down from sixteen.* But of the nine nominees in 2007, six had been nominated the previous year. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

So, when the nominees get announced in October, don’t expect a ballot full of Def Leppards, Weird Als and Grandfunk Railroads. Any changes will be gradual and cautious, just like they have always been.

* - It would be interesting if the ballot contracts to only nine or ten names again to basically force the Voting Committee to induct who the Nominating Committee wants (*cough* Chic *cough*).

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Using Lollapalooza Headliners as a Predictor for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

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Over the last 25 years, Lollapalooza has an impressive track record for showcasing some of the biggest and best names in rock. Many of the headliners have since been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But does a headline slot guarantee you a future home in Cleveland? Just like we did with Coachella, let’s take a look at the top three headliners from each Lollapalooza over the years. (* = already a Hall of Famer)
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