Millions of rock fans saw a longtime dream come true when Rush was finally inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. While not a huge part of the mainstream music scene (i.e., not so many radio hits), Rush albums went gold and platinum, and they continued to sell out arenas around the world. Their legions of fans finally were rewarded for all their efforts on the band’s behalf when Geddy Lee, Neil Peart, and Alex Lifeson finally received their statues and became part of the 2013 class of inductees into the Hall. Peart was eloquent in his acceptance speech. Lee was gracious and concise. And Lifeson gave as hilarious a speech as anyone has at any awards show ever.
Many people – not just Rush fans – have been perplexed for years as to why Rush (and other worthy bands) were passed over in favor of acts that those same many people considered questionable at best. I’m sorry if I’m about to offend fans of the acts I’m going to mention here; someone, however, has to speak up for the musicians who have been (intentionally?) left out of consideration.
Yes – the quintessential prog rock band, whose ranks have boasted some of the most talented musicians ever to record and perform over a career spanning decades – is not in the Hall of Fame. But ABBA is. Classic Yes songs like “Roundabout” and “Seen All Good People” are not deemed as worthy as “Fernando” and “Dancing Queen.” I don’t get it. Other notable prog rock bands that have been overlooked are Kansas, Emerson Lake & Palmer, and Jethro Tull.
Chicago, the Moody Blues, America, the Doobie Brothers, the Steve Miller Band, and a host of other acts still going strong are not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But Madonna is. How about something a bit heavier? Deep Purple, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, Bad Company, MC5, the Scorpions, Lou Reed, and Motorhead are not in the Hall of Fame. But the Beastie Boys are. I guess you have to fight for the right to party at the Hall of Fame.
Nirvana is not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Neither is Stevie Ray Vaughn.
And why is Ringo Starr the only Beatle who hasn’t been inducted into the Hall as a solo artist?
I can go on. Peter Gabriel… KISS… Hall & Oates (the most successful duo in rock history)… the Cars… Warren Zevon… Little Feat… Dire Straits… Steppenwolf… the Zombies… Electric Light Orchestra… Supertramp… Carole King… Joe Cocker… Blood Sweat & Tears… Joan Baez… Jim Croce… Ted Nugent… the Lovin’ Spoonful… Bon Jovi… and a host of legacy and roots performers have all been ignored by the Hall. Yet somehow Run DMC was found worthy of induction.
It’s not my contention that rap and hip-hop artists shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame. As a whole, I think the list of inductees is pretty good overall. But let’s be real – Run DMC and not Carole King??? And if we are inducting rap artists, where are rap pioneers SugarHill Gang and Curtis Blow?
If the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is to maintain its relevance, it needs to recognize the contributions of some of these aforementioned performers long before it inducts any other more recent acts. Sadly, I don’t see that happening. There is a clear bias against prog rock at the Hall, and a seeming desire to induct a lot of non-rock acts. Look for Eminem and Beyonce to be inducted before Yes or the Moody Blues. The current management should adopt this slogan: Keeping the Rock out of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.