News

Hall of Fame '09 nominees half-right, half-lame

Ben Wener
The Orange County Register (MCT)

Metallica, Run-D.M.C., the Stooges, Jeff Beck, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Neil Diamond, Genesis, the Cure, Hall & Oates, Rush, Alice Cooper, Bon Jovi, the Steve Miller Band, Peter Gabriel, Tom Waits, Roxy Music, KISS, the Spinners, Luther Vandross, Chicago, Linda Ronstadt, Yes and Jimmy Buffett are the nominees for the 2009 inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Actually, that's not entirely accurate.

Metallica, Run-D.M.C., Iggy Pop's old band and guitar-whiz Jeff Beck -- they are indeed up for the, um, honor.

But all the others... well, you'd think they'd all qualify somehow, wouldn't you? Such a big pool (and it's getting bigger all the time) would at least make voting for the final five interesting. Know what else would make it more interesting? Not limiting it to five.

Yet, pathetically, the majority (someone say all?) of the names that follow Beck's in my opening litany have never made it to the nominating list.

Know who else did make it onto this year's nine-spot ballot, though?

* Disco pioneers Chic – a choice I can get behind, and have before.

* Little Anthony and the Imperials -- a doo-wop choice that should have gone in years ago if the fogies who run the Hall really insist on including 'em, but who are now taking up nominating space for more enduringly important acts.

* Wanda Jackson -- ditto to the extreme, only change doo-wop to rockabilly and lessen the significance dramatically. She's nifty, sure. But this is a painfully poor nominee.

* War and Bobby Womack -- Worthy candidates, fair enough. But ahead of all the others I named up top? Really?

Run-D.M.C. is a no-brainer. So is Metallica, obviously, but I wish their induction would have come after those of forebears like Alice Cooper and Rush -- or even Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, honestly. I'm big into paying tribute chronologically.

"Traffic and ZZ Top are in but not Jeff Beck?" -- that's one of those overlooked travesties (like passing over SRV on his first year of induction) that should finally get corrected. Never mind the seminal albums in his catalog. You like Steve Vai and Joe Satriani? Thank Beck. Or blame him.

And the Stooges... makes sense that the wildest bunch would remain a wild card. On the ballot again after falling off for two years. Iggy being Iggy all over Madonna's "Like a Virgin" at last year's ceremony probably helps. Then again, maybe it doesn't -- maybe all these stuffed shirts and rock-history academics will ever allow him is a chance to perform at their elite Waldorf-Astoria gig.

If they don't get in, the Hall of Fame will become the most dubious pop pantheon imaginable.

Wait, didn't I say that about someone else last year?

And the year before that?

And the year before that?

Good God, what's a guy gotta do to get to vote in this damn thing?

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