Each year the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame releases their nominations and each year (except 2009) this New York City band has not been nominated. This week the latest nominations were released and this band is back on the ballot. This is not a new story, but is an annual migraine once you review the bands elected IN and those that have NOT been elected (or sometimes even nominated). MANY rock bands deserve to be in today, but I don’t believe any band has a more solid case. This band has become the Pete Rose of rock and roll minus the gambling. Question: Will this nomination be just another punch in the face? (Author Disclaimer: I am a casual fan at best of this band.)
For the purpose of this rambling the band will be referred to as BAND XYZ. Maybe then those voting won’t be blinded by their preconceived notion that BAND XYZ doesn’t belong in the same building as rock and roll superstars Madonna or Genesis. Let’s keep it simple and look at the body work against the HOF criteria as defined on their website as Musical Influence, Length and Depth of Career, Body of Work, Innovation and Superiority in Style and Technique, and Musical Excellence.
ELGIBLE: 1999 (first album 1974)
NOMINATED: 2009, 2013
CRITERIA #1 Musical Influence
BAND XYZ has influenced MANY bands that it is impossible to list all. A sample of (documented) bands citing BAND XYZ as an influence includes: Lenny Kravitz, Metallica, Warrant, Faster Pussycat, Garth Brooks, Motley Crue, Pearl Jam, Poison, Soundgarden, Hootie & The Blowfish, Anthrax, Skid Row, Extreme, Stone Temple Pilots, Megadeth, Alice in Chains, Pantera, W.A.S.P., and Weezer.
CRITERIA #2 Length and Depth of Career
Over 30 years of making music that includes 20+ studio albums, 20+ live/compilation albums, and 4 solo albums under the BAND XYZ umbrella.
CRITERIA #3 Body of Work
Over 100 million albums sold worldwide, in 1977 sold out Budokan Hall in Japan for five nights (breaking a record held by The Beatles), released 4 solo albums simultaneously (all top 40), won a People’s Choice Award in 1977, and in 1999 nominated for Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance. Also, in 1976 the lead of BAND XYZ (let’s call him Mr. S) discovered Van Halen.
CRITERIA #4 Innovation and Superiority in Style and Technique
Created an arena stage show that featured fire breathing, shooting rockets, levitating drum kits, and pyrotechnics. BAND XYZ was voted #1 live band (list of top 100) by Hit Parader magazine. Started a membership based fan club that reached over six figures. Innovated the way bands (and other media) sell merchandise, selling over 100 million dollars in merchandise from 1977-79.
CRITERIA #5 Musical Excellence
This category is most subjective, but the numbers don’t lie. More Gold Albums (24) than ANY American rock band. BAND XYZ has 15 top 40 studio albums, 4 top 40 solo albums, and 8 top 40 live/compilation albums.
Ultimately does it matter? No, but if we’re going to have a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (versus a Pop/R&B Music Hall of Fame) it should matter. My guess is that BAND XYZ will never be nominated again. My theory behind this is that a large portion of the 500 rock “experts” that vote have their own agendas and more important are terrified that if they let BAND XYZ into the Hall of Fame the flood gates for hard rock of all genres will open. I agree that this would happen. It also should happen and they should be terrified!