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?





How the Template for Modern Combat Journalism Developed

The superbly researched Journalism and the Russo-Japanese War tells readers how Japan pioneered modern techniques of propaganda and censorship in the Russo-Japanese War.


From Horrifying Comedy to Darkly Funny Horror: Bob Clark Films

What if I told you that the director of one of the most heartwarming and beloved Christmas movies of all time is the same director as probably the most terrifying and disturbing yuletide horror films of all time?


The 50 Best Songs of 2007

Journey back 13 years to a stellar year for Rihanna, M.I.A., Arcade Fire, and Kanye West. From hip-hop to indie rock and everywhere in between, PopMatters picks the best 50 songs of 2007.


'Modern' Is the Pinnacle of Post-Comeback Buzzcocks' Records

Presented as part of the new Buzzcocks' box-set, Sell You Everything, Modern showed a band that wasn't interested in just repeating itself or playing to nostalgia.


​Nearly 50 and Nearly Unplugged: 'ChangesNowBowie' Is a Glimpse Into a Brilliant Mind

Nine tracks, recorded by the BBC in 1996 show David Bowie in a relaxed and playful mood. ChangesNowBowie is a glimpse into a brilliant mind.


Reaching for the Sky: An Interview with Singer-Songwriter Bruce Sudano

How did Bruce Sudano become a superhero? PopMatters has the answer as Sudano celebrates the release of Spirals and reflects on his career from Brooklyn Dreams to Broadway.


Inventions Conjure Mystery and Hope with the Intensely Creative 'Continuous Portrait'

Instrumental duo Matthew Robert Cooper (Eluvium) and Mark T. Smith (Explosions in the Sky) release their first album in five years as Inventions. Continuous Portrait is both sonically thrilling and oddly soothing.


Esperanza Spalding and Fred Hersch Are 'Live at the Village Vanguard' to Raise Money for Musicians

Esperanza Spalding and Fred Hersch release a live recording from a 2018 show to raise money for a good cause: other jazz musicians.


Lady Gaga's 'Chromatica' Hides Its True Intentions Behind Dancefloor Exuberance

Lady Gaga's Chromatica is the most lively and consistent record she's made since Born This Way, embracing everything great about her dance-pop early days and giving it a fresh twist.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Street Art As Sprayed Solidarity: Global Corona Graffiti

COVID-19-related street art functions as a vehicle for political critique and social engagement. It offers a form of global solidarity in a time of crisis.


Gretchen Peters Honors Mickey Newbury With "The Sailor" and New Album (premiere + interview)

Gretchen Peters' latest album, The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury, celebrates one of American songwriting's most underappreciated artists. Hear Peters' new single "The Sailor" as she talks about her latest project.


Okkyung Lee Goes From Classical to Noise on the Stellar 'Yeo-Neun'

Cellist Okkyung Lee walks a fine line between classical and noise on the splendid, minimalist excursion Yeo-Neun.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.