Thursday, April 18, 2013

"And the Meek Shall Inherit the Earth" -- Saluting Rush on Its Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction (and Citing the Remaining Snubs)

As a longtime Rush fan, I am quite geddily (misspelling & pun intended) anticipating their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this evening. 

I realize that saying this might prevent me from making friends, getting dates, landing a job with Pitchfork or otherwise seeming hip, cool or musically astute.

But I don't care. I love Rush.

And I have since before I was a teenager.

So I am thrilled that tonight in Los Angeles--the Hall itself is in Cleveland--they will be part of a stellar class that also includes Randy Newman, Public Enemy, Heart, Donna Summer, Albert King, Quincy Jones and Lou Adler.

I don't think Rush needed this honor for validation; 40 years of sold out arenas and legions of loyal fans should have provided such.

And though I can't deny paying attention to it as a topic of discussion, I find the whole notion of the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame--and the inductee selection process--to be rather nebulous.

In light of the fact that Rush has been eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame since 1999--the 25th anniversary of their first album--but wasn't even deemed worthy of being on the ballot until 2012, bassist and singer Geddy Lee told USA Today:
"Rock music was born in rebellion, so it's odd to have (a Hall of Fame) where there seem to be guidelines for who's acceptable and who's not."
He added that that while the trio is "pleased and honored" to be getting in, "it wasn't something we thought about a lot … We've had a great career that's on a high right now."

While I have a number of friends who have liked and followed Rush as much as I--and then some--there are others whose musical tastes I respect who do not care for the band's "prog rock" sound.

That's fine. To each their own.

There are many people who can't stand anything about Elvis, including his music. Does this mean he doesn't belong within any entity purporting to a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

For even if you don't like many, or any, of Rush's songs--though how could anyone not love "The Spirit of Radio" (below), "Tom Sawyer," "2112 Overture," "Limelight," "Free Will" and more--many a musician, both famous and not, will vociferously attest that the technical ability Lee, drummer Neil Peart and guitarist Alex Lifeson bring to their craft is surpassed in few if any bands.

Even if the musical merits of Rush's output is debatable, their influence--among many instrumentalists, heavy metal bands, Trent Reznor, Billy Corgan and Dave Grohl (who along with Foo Fighters bandmate Taylor Hawkins is inducting Rush tonight--is not.

While being delighted to see Rush get the recognition I believe they deserve, they ranked only 9th on a list I made last year about notable Rock and Roll Hall of Fame omissions.

I put together a similar list in 2009, and it is nice to note that a handful of artists I cited on one or both occasions--Heart, The Faces, Alice Cooper, Neil Diamond, Tom Waits and the Beastie Boys, along with Rush--have now been inducted.

But there are still several acts I feel are eminently deserving, even if--in some cases--they weren't all that popular in America, or at all. I am not advocating the inclusion of every unknown garage band of worth nor every successful rock act from countries around the world. But I believe renown and/or popularity in England should be every bit a qualifier as success in the States.

So with a tip of the hat to Rush as they enjoy this merited moment in the Limelight, as well as the rest of the Rock Hall Class of 2013, here is my updated list of:

Artists Who Belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but Aren't
(...of those eligible, having released their first album in 1987 or earlier. I'm not considering Soundgarden as I'm not sure their 1987 EP makes them eligible)

1. The Jam
2. The Replacements
3. Stevie Ray Vaughan
The Zombies
5. Warren Zevon
6. Cheap Trick
7. Hüsker Dü
The Cure
The Monkees
10. Midnight Oil
11. Peter Gabriel
12. Roxy Music
13. Dire Straits
14. The Smiths

15. Love
Deep Purple
17. Depeche Mode
18. KISS
19. New York Dolls
20. ELO and/or The Move
(they're linked via Jeff Lynne)
21. Thin Lizzy   
22. The Cars
23. Sonic Youth
Dinosaur Jr. 
25. Chic
26. Paul Revere & the Raiders
27. The Moody Blues
28. Jane's Addiction
29. Yes
30. Jethro Tull

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