[1 October 2007]
The Orange County Register (MCT)
Madonna tops the list of potential inductees into the Rock Hall early next year—and the search for a fellow legend to give her induction speech might as well start now, as she’s an unquestionable shoo-in. Less certain is how the Beastie Boys will fare in their first year of eligibility. (Like Madge’s first single, “Everybody,” the Beasties’ debut EP, “Polly Wog Stew,” was released in 1982, the cutoff year for this next batch of hopefuls).
Also on the ballot: the Dave Clark Five (again), one-of-a-kind singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, Heartland rocker John Mellencamp, hip-hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa, dance-music mavens Chic and Donna Summer, and surf-rock faves the Ventures.
Stupidly, only five acts will be allowed in, as has become standard practice—which is why I wonder about the Beasties’ chances. Mellencamp seems overdue, as does Cohen and at least one of disco’s leading lights—or both. Plus, enough of the Hall’s mysterious 500 industry voters may want to finally give the DC5 its (someone say unnecessary?) due, although they’d be better off nominating the comparably popular and considerably more forward-thinking Monkees already. (The Hall’s mystifying, snobbish avoidance of prog-rock also continues unabated, with Yes and the currently reunited Genesis l-o-n-g overdue for recognition.)
Take into consideration how many votes some safer contenders could snag and the Beasties might wind up sitting this one out, for though they are undeniably barrier breakers who merit inclusion, some voters may think it’s a bit too soon for this particular standing ovation.
Then again, this “honor” is increasingly driven by how the once-wild-now-staid ceremony at the Waldorf-Astoria will play on television. And though it’s absurd (if not downright wrong) to imagine the Beasties getting in ahead of a forebear like Bambaataa, not to mention Run-D.M.C. (ineligible for two more years), the “Intergalactic” trio certainly makes for an easier sell to viewers who couldn’t care less about the Hall’s steady slide into pointlessness.
Why, however, Janet Jackson was left off the ballot in her first round of eligibility is truly baffling. I’d say the same about Sonic Youth, also eligible now. But seeing as, after numerous nominations, Iggy and the Stooges didn’t even turn up on the short list this time—while perenial also-ran the DC5 did—well, I can’t imagine SY will be looked upon approvingly for several more years.