My Five Votes For 2017 Hall of Fame Inductees

elo1As usual, a varied and fascinating list of nominees for the 2017 Induction Class to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame was unveiled yesterday. There are 19 nominees, and we the public get a chance to vote for five of them, once a day. It’s hard to know if the votes of “we the public” are taken into consideration or even tabulated for that matter, but it’s fun just to feel like you’re part of the process.

It’s not easy to choose five out of this stellar list of 19. I could probably devise an argument for every one of the 19, particularly since I apparently share with The Hall a big-tent, widely-inclusive definition of Rock & Roll. I think the criteria for entry should be simple and more quasi-empirical than mere personal preference: How much did they influence other Rock artists?

Here are my selections of the five artists on the list who brought the most to the Rock table:

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1. Kraftwerk

I find it hard to believe that Kraftwerk has been eligible since 1995 and still not been accepted into the Hall. More than anyone else, this band brought electronics to Rock, and in the long view I think this contribution is as important as Jimi Hendrix expanding the possibilities of the electric guitar.


2. MC5

Unlike their proto-punk protégé Iggy Pop, the MC5 were political and very much identified with the Sixties Revolution. Iggy also had astonishing longevity while the MC5 crashed and burned within a couple of years, but nobody ever combined punk and prog like these guys did, even if it sounds a little dated today.


3. Joan Baez

A contemporary of Bob Dylan, they started off together in the protest music movement — he split in 1965 but she never left. Joan Baez definitely deserves recognition as the first woman singer-songwriter, she paved the way for so many.


4. Electric Light Orchestra

Lots of Prog bands took the Beatles influence and made long arty pieces of music, but ELO channeled the Beatles influence on the pop side instead, and they did it really well. If Hall of Fame induction was based on distinctiveness of sound, then these guys would be a shoo-in.


5. The Zombies

As with the MC5, the Zombies had such a short run, which undoubtedly hurts their standing with Hall of Fame voters. They really had only one album that counted, Odessey and Oracle, but it’s an album that has influenced several generations, and “Time Of The Season” still crackles with originality and power.

My first three picks are the obvious selections to me. The last two I’m not as certain about. I’d be prepared to argue that ELO was more influential than Yes and had a more distinctive sound than Depeche Mode, but that eventually they should all be in the Hall. My #6 pick would probably be Joe Tex, who not only influenced Southern Rock but is also cited as an early example of rap techniques.

So who would your five picks on this list be? And what do you think the criteria for selection should be?

Photo credit: By Paul Carless (at Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

2 comments to “My Five Votes For 2017 Hall of Fame Inductees”
  1. Our opinions aren’t too different. The four I’d tend to want to see get in first are Kraftwerk, Bad Brains, ELO, and Joan Baez. The last pick I would have to think about as I don’t feel too strongly about the rest. As much as it would upset a lot of rock fans I’m tempted to say 2Pac, but as long as they’re putting rap in the rock hall 2Pac should probably get in. Maybe Pearl Jam. Kraftwerk has been a baffling omission for years and should be the first one out of this list to get inducted.

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