Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees for 2021

Billy Preston, Kraftwerk, Todd Rundgren, LL Cool J, finally

Here are two possibly contradictory things. I know that who gets, or doesn’t get, into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame doesn’t equate with their talent, commercial success, or “worthiness.” And, for the most part, I am really quite happy who got in this season. Here was my wish list. Maybe next year for Chaka Khan and Devo.

“The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame reveals its 2021 Inductees, celebrating the most diverse list of Inductees in the history of the organization.”

Performer Category

go gosTina Turner – for a time, she and Fela Kuti were vying for the top spot on the fan ballot. In the end, Tina won going away. I didn’t vote for her because she was already in, with Ike Turner and I chose to vote for those who weren’t in at all. But I’m not complaining, as I have two of her solo albums.
The Best 

Carole King – she ended up sixth on the five performer ballot. I didn’t vote for her either, as she was in as a songwriter with Gerry Goffin. But no complaints here, even though Tapestry is the only album of hers I own.
Jazzman 

The Go-Go’s – came in third in the fan voting. I voted for them and saw them perform 30 years ago in Albany. 
We Got The Beat 

JAY-Z – near the bottom of the fan vote, but an understandable pick.
Song Cry 

Foo Fighters – in the top five of the fan vote. I didn’t vote for them, primarily because Dave Grohl was already in the Rock Hall with Nirvana. But I like Grohl. He’s been Touring in a Van, Interviewing Rock Stars and; Performing with His Daughter. 
Everlong 

Todd Rundgren – YES! His third time on the ballot is the charm. He’s been my #1 or #2 pick each year. Nazz, Utopia, solo work, plus producing.
Appropriately, Just One Victory 

Early Influence Award

Kraftwerk – it was on the ballot about a dozen times. Not this year, but they got in anyway, and that’s great.
list from J. Eric Smith.

Charley Patton  – Wikipedia says (April 1891 (probable) – April 28, 1934) he was an American Delta blues musician. Considered by many to be the ‘Father of the Delta Blues’, he created an enduring body of American music and inspired most Delta blues musicians.
Spoonful Blues 

Gil Scott-Heron – an inspired choice. In case you don’t know, “his music… influenced and foreshadowed later African-American music genres such as hip hop and neo-soul.”
We Almost Lost Detroit 

Musical Excellence Award

This is an odd category. It used to be the “sidemen” award for folks such as Motown’s James Jamerson or Hal Blaine of the Wrecking Crew. But, under the new title, it has included Ringo Starr.

LL Cool J – I’ve been pushing for him for years, and I voted for him this year, but he was in the bottom two of the popular vote.
I Need Love 

Billy Preston – MY FAVORITE CHOICE. Nearly a decade ago, I made the case why he should be included. 
My Sweet Lord (live)

Randy Rhoads – I must admit, I know the name, but not the body of work from Quiet Riot and Ozzy Osborne
Solos 

Ahmet Ertegun Award

Clarence Avant – read the Wikipedia article about the Black Godfather, who made black music more visible.

Yeah, there are more musicians to get in. But I must make my annual appeal for Estelle Axton in this category.

2021 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominees

satisfaction

Todd Rundgren Gtr Player 1977On February 10, I received an email: “Hello rock and roll fans! We’re excited to announce this year’s Nominees for induction into the 2021 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame:

Mary J. Blige, Kate Bush, Devo, Foo Fighters, The Go-Go’s, Iron Maiden, JAY-Z, Chaka Khan, Carole King, Fela Kuti, LL Cool J, New York Dolls, Rage Against the Machine, Todd Rundgren, Tina Turner, Dionne Warwick.

“The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame offers fans the opportunity to participate in the Induction selection process with the Fan Vote. Through April 30, fans can vote every day at rockhall.com, or at the Museum in Cleveland. The top five artists, as selected by the public, will comprise a ‘fans’ ballot’ that will be tallied along with the other ballots to select the 2021 Inductees.

For the past three years, I’ve had this no-doubter.

#TODD RUNDGREN
This is the third year in a row he’s been nominated. Two years ago, I wrote: “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… He’s a wizard, a true star.”
I Saw the Light  

“To be eligible for nomination, an individual artist or band must have released its first commercial recording at least 25 years prior to the year of nomination. Seven out of 16 of the Nominees are on the ballot for the first time, including Foo Fighters, The Go-Go’s, Iron Maiden, JAY-Z, Mary J. Blige, Fela Kuti, and Dionne Warwick.”

They got the beat

My next choice: #The GO-GO’S:
They’ve had a resurgence of sorts with a 2020 documentary about “the first all-women group to write their own songs, play their own instruments, and snag a #1 hit.” I’ll admit my bias since I saw them at J.B. Scott’s in Albany back in 1981. They played the entire first album and a non-album B-side.
Our Lips Are Sealed 

I don’t know Iron Maiden’s music very well. But the other first-timers on the list I could make a case for.

Dionne Warwick has no chance with the fans. She does not rock, and while neither did her young cousin Whitney Houston, who has been inducted, Whitney wasn’t doing Bacharach and David. I’m fond of Dionne, and maybe I’ll vote for her down the road.

On the other hand, I was shocked by the votes for the late Fela Kuti, who was leading the pack early. I didn’t think the originator of Afrobeat was that well-known, certainly not in the US. I don’t have any of his albums as such, but I do have Red Hot + Riot, which features his music. If things get close, I might switch to him.

#CHAKA KHAN:
“Chaka Khan was previously nominated both solo and with the band Rufus.”
Frankly, I’m not feeling Rufus for the Hall. But Chaka’s body of work, absolutely. This is her 7th nomination either solo or in the group.
I Feel for You 

“If elected, Carole King and Tina Turner will become the second and third female artists inducted twice, following Stevie Nicks’ 2019 election. If Foo Fighters are inducted, Dave Grohl will also become a twice-inducted performer.” And, I suppose, because there are so many deserving nominees, I won’t be voting for any of these.

Uncontrollable urge

#DEVO
Wikipedia says “their music… mingling kitsch science fiction themes, deadpan surrealist humor, and mordantly satirical social commentary. Who knew how prescient they would be?
Whip It 

Kate Bush, Rage Against the Machine, and especially The New York Dolls would be on my ballot if I had more picks. Mary J. Blige and Jay Z, as first-timers, will get nominated again, I’m sure.

#LL COOL J; Eligible year: 2009
This is his sixth nomination, previously considered in 2010, 2011, 2014, 2018, and 2019. His historic import, I suspect, has been buried a bit by his acting success.
I’m Bad 

You can vote every day, presumably. An “overwhelming” fan response crashed the Fan Vote early the first morning but was fixed in short order.

2020 Rock Hall of Fame noms

If I have a bias…

Doobie Brothers
Doobie Brothers
They are doing something different for the fan balloting with the 2020 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominations. You can vote every day via Google until January 10, 2020 for five nominees, which, collectively, will be considered in the process.

My picks tend to be partly based on how long it’s been since they were first nominated, how many times they’ve been nominated before, their musical significance, and, frankly, whether I like them.

My Sure Things

#TODD RUNDGREN – Eligible year: 1995
Number of nominations: 2; Nominated in 2019, 2020
One of My Sure Things LAST year. I wrote: “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.”
Something to Fall Back On

#THE DOOBIE BROTHERS -Eligible year: 1996
Number of nominations: 1; Nominated in 2020
The Doobies was one of my college-era bands. And I was impressed when they reinvented themselves with Michael McDonald on many lead vocals. I noted that only Walter Becker and Donald Fagan are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as Steely Dan. The group had initially included Skunk Baxter. On later albums, McDonald provided many vocals.
Members: Jeff ‘Skunk’ Baxter, John Hartman, Michael Hossack, Tom Johnston, Keith Knudsen, Michael McDonald, John McFee, Tiran Porter, Patrick Simmons
What A Fool Believes

I voted for them because I like them

#DEPECHE MODE – Eligible year: 2006
Number of nominations: 3; Nominated in 2017, 2018, 2020
Members: Vince Clarke, Andy Fletcher, Dave Gahan, Martin Gore, Alan Wilder
Three noms in four years. Put ’em in!
People are People

#PAT BENATAR – Eligible year: 2004
Number of nominations: 1; Nominated in 2020
Members: Pat Benatar, Neil Giraldo
If I have a bias, it’s probably in favor of women in rock.
Heartbreaker

The ones who appear influential

WHITNEY HOUSTON – Eligible year: 2009
Number of nominations: 1; Nominated in 2020
Lots of complaints in my circle that she’s not “rock”. Whatever. One of the greatest voices in pop music.
How Will I Know

KRAFTWERK; Eligible year: 1995
Number of nominations: 6; Nominated in 2003, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019, 2020
Members: Karl Bartos, Wolfgang Flür, Ralf Hütter, Florian Schneider
“KRAFTWERK IS THE FOUNDATION UPON WHICH ALL SYNTHESIZER-BASED ROCK AND ELECTRONIC DANCE MUSIC IS BUILT.”
Showroom Dummies

NINE INCH NAILS; Eligible year: 2014
Number of nominations: 3; Nominated in 2015, 2016, 2020
Members: Trent Reznor
Hurt

THE NOTORIOUS B.I.G.; Eligible year: 2019
Number of nominations: 1; Nominated in 2020
Members: Christopher Wallace/BIGGIE SMALLS
Hypnotize

SOUNDGARDEN; Eligible year: 2011
Number of nominations: 1; Nominated in 2020
Members: Matt Cameron, Chris Cornell, Ben Shepherd, Kim Thayil, Hiro Yamamoto
I actually have a few cuts of the group and Cornell solo cuts, and I was sad when he died.
Rusty Cage

DAVE MATTHEWS BAND; Eligible year: 2018
Number of nominations: 1; Nominated in 2020
Members: Carter Beauford, Jeff Coffin, Stefan Lessard, Dave Matthews, Leroi Moore, Tim Reynolds, Rashawn Ross, Boyd Tinsley
They’ve played around here practically every year. I’ve never seen them.
What Would You Say

JUDAS PRIEST; Eligible year: 1999
Number of nominations: 2; Nominated in 2018, 2020
Members: Les Binks, K. K. Downing, Rob Halford, Ian Hill, Dave Holland, Glenn Tipton, Scott Travis
Hell Bent for Leather

MOTÖRHEAD; Eligible year: 2002
Number of nominations: 1; Nominated in 2020
Members: ‘Fast’ Eddie Carke, Ian ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister, Phil ‘Philthy Animal’ Taylor
Not my cuppa.
Eat the Rich

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

MC5 Eligible year: 1991
Number of nominations: 6; Nominated in 2003, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
Sixth nomination! Yet I can’t quite pick the Detroit group.
Members: Michael Davis, Wayne Kramer, Fred ‘Sonic’ Smith, Dennis Thompson, Rob Tyner
Tonight

RUFUS FEATURING CHAKA KHAN; Eligible year: 1999
Number of nominations: 4; Nominated in 2012, 2018, 2019, 2020
Members: Dennis Belfield, Al Ciner, Andre Fischer, Chaka Khan, Tony Maiden, Nate Morgan, Kevin Murphy, Ron Stockert, Bobby Watson
I picked them a couple of years ago, but it was really for her. On the fence about the group.
Dance Wit Me

T. REX; Eligible year: 1993
Number of nominations: 1; Nominated in 2020
Members: Marc Bolan, Steve Currie, Mickey Finn, Bill Legend
“The musical herald that ushered in the birth of Glam Rock.”
Jeepster

THIN LIZZY; Eligible year: 1996
Number of nominations: 1; Nominated in 2020
Members: Eric Bell, Brian Downey, Scott Gorham, Phil Lynott, Brian Robertson
As I read their bio, they’re more impressive than I had remembered
Whiskey in the Jar

I vote for the first four. My fifth tends to float among Houston, Kraftwerk, and that last grouping. Who are YOU voting for?

Here is my annual pitch for Estelle Axton, the AX of STAX Records. Her brother, Jim Stewart, has been in nearly two decades.

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.

Musician Todd Rundgren turns 70

The concept of Deface the Music by Utopia was to pay homage to The Beatles.

Guitar Player, 1977
As I am a big fan of the eclectic, I love the music of Todd Rundgren.

I discovered Nazz, or the Nazz, his first, Philadelphia-based band after the group had already broken up. “‘Open My Eyes’ gained belated recognition thanks to its inclusion in Nuggets (1972), the genre-defining anthology of American 1960s garage punk and psychedelia.” He put out many albums, under various band monikers, reportage of which is a task too convoluted to note here. Check the Wikipedia.

Nor am I going to get into all the albums he produced for other people, including for Badfinger, Grand Funk Railroad, Meatloaf, the New York Dolls, Patti Smith, and XTC – look here.

Here’s somebody’s list of The 10 Best Todd Rundgren Albums To Own On Vinyl, FWIW.

Listen! All by Todd Rundgren, unless otherwise indicated; chart action is from Billboard Top 100:

Open My Eyes – Nazz, #112 in 1968
Hello It’s Me – Nazz, #71 in 1969, #66 in 1970 – these songs were the flip sides of each other
Loosen Up – Nazz, parody of Archie Bell and the Drell’s Tighten Up

We Gotta Get You a Woman – Runt, #20 in 1971; it’s unclear if this was a real band or just Todd

I Saw the Light, #16 in 1972
Hello It’s Me, #5 in 1973

Love in Action – Utopia, 1977
Can We Still Be Friends #29 in 1978 – I always find this song extraordinarily sad

Bang The Drum All Day, #63 in 1983; based on his comments playing this with Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band, Todd thinks this is a really dopey song

Coverville 1222: The Todd Rundgren Cover Story II

Now we get to “the albums that Roger owns on vinyl” section of this post:

Deface the Music – Utopia (1980) – “The concept of the album was to pay homage to The Beatles and create songs which sounded very similar to the Fab Four’s tunes throughout the various stages of their career.” If you appreciate the Rutles, you should get this album.
I Just Want To Touch You
Life Goes On
Everybody Else Is Wrong

Swing to the Right – Utopia (1982)
Swing to the Right
One World

A Cappella (1985)
Something To Fall Back On
Pretending To Care
also
Real Man, from the “A Capella” tour