Insane Hall of Fame Omissions

blackflagI get that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is an institution run by Baby Boomers essentially for their own benefit. Every single selection in the Hall has tacit or explicit Baby Boomer approval, and has carefully constructed their career so as they have done nothing of significance in at least ten years.

I get it.

You’re scared, because there’s a lot of Gen X-ers and Millenials, and you’re not really sure what they’re doing. When you were a kid, you already owned a house and a car and had five kids and you got a six-figure job down at the docks because you had a firm handshake. You can’t possibly keep track of the latest developments in music, because you’d miss Steely Dan at Fraze Pavilion this summer.

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Make no mistake. I love Steely Dan. I love a lot of music created by Baby Boomers. I love Baby Boomers. My parents are Baby Boomers. That being said, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame can exist in isolation no more. These voters have clearly confused “old” for “classic,” and it kind of seems like they’re scraping the bottom of the 60’s and 70’s barrel for nominees when it really isn’t necessary. Look, there’s nothing wrong per se with the band Steppenwolf, but they’re a nominee for the Hall this year. They had two pretty great hits and maybe an album or two, but otherwise you don’t hear much about them anymore. Shouldn’t we be measuring influence in a more accurate way than record sales and blind nostalgia?

Meanwhile, there are a plethora of artists who started their careers in the late 70’s-90’s that are completely being overlooked. I’m not asking for everyone to share my ultra-specific musical views, but I like to think you can qualify for the Hall of Fame without being a Nirvana-level superstar. Here’s a short list of a few artists who qualify for Hall Induction that have been passed over for this honor that is actually bullshit anyway.

Because, oh yeah, I forgot. This whole thing is bullshit anyway.

1. Big Star 

It’s hard to find a group that did more in such a short amount of time. The Alex Chilton-led power-pop group went largely unacknowledged by the general public (other than rock critics, of course) during their initial 70’s run but found new life through devoted fans like the Replacements and R.E.M. Big Star’s quirky, catchy power-pop left a surprisingly large footprint, and alternative rock owes this group a huge debt.

2. Black Flag


It may be a bold statement to declare that Black Flag invented indie rock. The truth is, this fact is impossible to verify. Here’s what we know: Without Black Flag and mastermind Greg Ginn, these bands might have existed but they would have had no network or structure. The alternative music boom may very well have never happened without Ginn’s SST records, widely seen as one of the first independent record labels. Regardless of the group’s place in history, their music is still as jarring as it was back then. To listen to Black Flag is to experience the dawning of American hardcore music. While other groups would later perfect and improve upon Black Flag’s mold (see below), they couldn’t have done it without these pioneers. If the Hall would move beyond Rolling Stone’s immediate demographic (ponytail dads over 70), then they might see this. It’s not like I’m propping up some young-whippersnapper, either. This group formed almost 40 years ago!

Photo – Black Flag, via Wikimedia Commons: The image is © Dixon Coulbourn and is taken from his online archives of his zine Idle Time, which was published from 1979 to 1986

One comment to “Insane Hall of Fame Omissions”
  1. Rolling Stone Magazines current demographic is not ponytail dads over 70. That demo stopped buying RS 30 years ago when Madonna showed up, or some other pop princess no one cares about. From what I’ve seen the covers are mostly about the future has beens in the industry. You made 2 great choices for induction, and both might actually be inducted in 10-15 years. It would be a slow year. Of course some of this years inductees are not rock. I think it all comes down to artists who made an impact in their line of music, no matter the genre. Which is to say the name should be changed to RS’s Music Hall of Fame. That way, no one bitches about the inductees. Much like the Grammy’s, no one would care.

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