Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ballot 2019

Stevie Nicks was, last I checked, leading the fan vote. She’s already in with Fleetwood Mac.

Roxy Music
Roxy Music

Some guy I used to know IRL said of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominations, “the least important election this year.” Still, one can cast a fan vote, every day, for five nominees, which, collectively, will be considered in the process.

My Sure Things

#TODD RUNDGREN; Eligible year: 1995
Number of nominations: 1; Nominated in 2019
I have his albums with the Nazz, Utopia and a number of his solo albums. He’s also produced a chunk of notable albums for others. It’s SHOCKING that he was never nominated before. He’s a wizard, a true star. Can We Still Be Friends

#JANET JACKSON; Eligible year: 2007
Number of nominations: 3; Nominated in 2016, 2017, 2019
I left her off my ballot a couple years ago. Yet she has been not only a commercial success – in the top five women artists, according to Billboard – but a socially conscious one. Seeing her in person this year may have tipped the scale. Rhythm Nation

#ROXY MUSIC; Eligible year: 1997
Number of nominations: 1; Nominated in 2019
Bryan Ferry and his mates have never been nominated before? Commercially successful and influential. Love Is the Drug

The ones who are influential, and who I should consider

DEF LEPPARD; Eligible year: 2005
Number of nominations: 1; Nominated in 2019
Not particularly a fan, but surprised it took them so long to get on the ballot. Last I checked, they were neck and neck with Stevie Nicks for the fan vote lead.

JOHN PRINE; Eligible year: 1996
Number of nominations: 1; Nominated in 2019
Great singer-songwriter. Probably my sixth choice this year. Dear Abby

KRAFTWERK; Eligible year: 1995
Number of nominations: 5; Nominated in 2003, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019
I KNOW how seminal their music is.

LL COOL J; Eligible year: 2009
Number of nominations: 5; Nominated in: 2010, 2011, 2014, 2018, 2019
It was only last year when I fully recognized his historic import.

RADIOHEAD; Eligible year: 2017
Number of nominations: 2; Nominated in 2018, 2019
I suppose if I ENJOYED their music more, I’d have picked them.

RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE; Eligible year: 2017
Number of nominations: 2; Nominated in 2018, 2019
An important band. Hope they get in someday.

I voted for them because I like them

#DEVO; Eligible year: 2003
Number of nominations: 1; Nominated in 2019
They were fun, especially in the early days of MTV. Satisfaction

#THE CURE; Eligible year: 2004
Number of nominations: 2; Nominated in 2012, 2019
The music speaks to me. Boys Don’t Cry

I like them but I don’t know if they should be in there

MC5 Eligible year: 1991
Number of nominations: 4; Nominated in 2003, 2017, 2018, 2019
I’ve had High School stuck in my ear this fall. Yet I can’t quite pick the Detroit group.

RUFUS FEATURING CHAKA KHAN; Eligible year: 1999
Number of nominations: 3; Nominated in 2012, 2018, 2019
I picked them last year, but it was really for her. On the fence about the group. Tell Me Something Good

STEVIE NICKS; Eligible year: 2006
Number of nominations: 1; Nominated in 2019
She was, last I checked, leading the fan vote. She’s already in with Fleetwood Mac. Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around with TOM PETTY and THE HEARTBREAKERS

THE ZOMBIES; Eligible year: 1989
Number of nominations: 4; Nominated in 2014, 2017, 2018, 2019
One GREAT album, and a few fine singles that I LOVE, but… She’s Not There

I make my annual pitch for Estelle Axton, the AX of STAX Records. Her brother, Jim Stewart’s been in since 2003.

Music, September 1971: widely un-bought

Stax had to “promote a white rock record through a black promotion and distribution system.”

“Not all the fresh music made in 1971 made an impact in that year. Some of it didn’t come out until years later the people who made it had made it had moved on, had become different people, or died.” That’s the first sentence in the September chapter of Never A Dull Moment by David Hepworth.

The Modern Lovers included future Talking Heads member Jerry Harrison and leader Jonathan Richman, who is considered by some to be the ‘godfather of punk rock.”

Roxy Music was primarily wanted to be perceived as an art project, as most of the members, including Bryan Ferry, were students. Likewise, David Byrne was meeting up with Chris Frantz at the Phode Island School of Design and thinking about a band called the Artistics; Byrne and Franz would, of course, also help create Talking Heads.

Kraftwerk was formed by Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider in 1969. Their second album had “more in common with the workshopping approach to improvised theater than the performance-oriented approach of traditional rock.”

When the critics suggest who ought to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, they often mention this band, certainly not for its commercial success, but its influence. The Wikipedia notes: “Kraftwerk’s musical style and image can be heard and seen in 1980s synthpop groups such as Gary Numan, Ultravox, John Foxx, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Human League, Depeche Mode, Visage, and Soft Cell.”

Alex Chilton had experience some success with a band called the Box Tops, but the experience left him drained. He and some mates ended up starting a band called Big Star. Their album, #1 Record, released in 1972, did nothing, maybe because it was released on the soul label Stax, which had just bought itself out “of a distribution deal with Columbia” [Records] and therefore had to “promote a white rock record through a black promotion and distribution system.”

The records of the Velvet Underground and Big Star, “like those of of the Stooges, MC5 and Nick Drake, were widely available and widely un-bought.” But those artists inspired music that eventually topped the charts.

Listen to

George Jackson – Bob Dylan here or here

Motel Blues – Loudon Wainwright III here or here

Hospital – Modern Lovers here or here

Andy Warhol – David Bowie here or here

Life Is a Carnival – the Band here or here