Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame set to induct Nirvana, Hall and Oates, Peter Gabriel, KISS, Linda Ronstadt and Cat Stevens in 2014

The news is everywhere this morning, but I wanted to opine regarding this morning's announcement of those artists set to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 10, 2014.
Daryl Hall, left, and John Oates in Costa Mesa on Aug. 8, 2013.
Photo: Kelly A. Swift

It's long overdue, but I'm thrilled that Hall and Oates are finally getting their due by the rock hall and its voters. It's also clear that Peter Gabriel and Nirvana deserve to be inducted, and I was more than happy when I heard that Bruce Springsteen's legendary E Street Band will be inducted through the Award for Musical Excellence

I'm not as thrilled with the selection of KISS, Linda Ronstadt and Cat Stevens over the more talented (and arguably influential) likes of heavy metal pioneer Deep Purple, '60s genre-benders Zombies and seminal prog-rock troupe Yes.

Let's start with Cat Stevens, whose gentle folk-rock style yielded a number of '70s hits but left no lasting legacy that I have detected in my many decades of covering a variety of artists. While folk-styled artists might give a nod to the likes of Bob Dylan, Neil YoungJohn Denver or Bruce Cockburn, Stevens doesn't even rank as an afterthought. Linda Ronstadt was a great singer, but her lack of personality on stage and songwriting credits makes her undeserving of a place in the Hall of Fame. Indeed when I saw her back in 1980 or so, she sang powerfully but stood in front of the mic like a statue and left the heavy lifting to her excellent band. Boring.

When looking at KISS, I am torn. While I am not a big fan of the band's music, I acknowledge the group's influence and staying power. We all know it isn't music alone that gets artists placed into the Cleveland-based Hall of Fame (ask Madonna), so I can't argue much with KISS' selection by the more than 700 voters from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation.

If it were up to me, I would have voted for Deep Purple and the Zombies and let Stevens and Ronstadt wait for another year or so to see if a weaker field elevated their status. I would have ultimately cast a ballot for Yes over KISS too.

Hope to see ceremony, especially Daryl Hall and John Oates. When I spoke to John Oates in 2008 (that is John with yours truly backstage at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano in October 2008), it was clear he was not certain of the likelihood of the duo getting into the Rock Hall; it's about time.

LOS ANGELES, Dec 17, 2013- "Both Daryl and John are pleased to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  And, we will be participating in the ceremony at the Barclays on April 10th.Without the efforts of our fans, this would not have happened."
 - Jonathan Wolfson, Manager of Daryl Hall and John Oates 

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