The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame finally struck just the right chord … and this time it’s a fine “major sixth” for 2014.
For the first time in recent memory the six new inductees will all be worthy members of the highly-esteemed club.
This time around there’s no hip-hop, rap or other “fringe” artists that made the grade. I never quite understood why Grandmaster Flash, Run-D.M.C. and the Beastie Boys garnered inclusion in the Hall while Yes, Jethro Tull, The Moody Blues, Deep Purple, Chicago and Steve Miller have not yet been inducted.
That’s just not right. It’s the ROCK AND ROLL Hall of Fame, folks!
But this year, it’s smiles everywhere because how can one argue over these new half-dozen members?
CAT STEVENS: He wrote the mega-hits The First Cut Is the Deepest (Sheryl Crow) and Here Comes My Baby (way back in ’67 for the Tremeloes) as well as his own solo smashes Wild World, Peace Train, Moon Shadow and Morning Has Broken.
Hit albums such as Tea for the Tillerman, Teaser and the Firecat, and Catch Bull at Four were filled with his irresistible melodies and thought-provoking lyric imagery.
NIRVANA: Any band chosen for the Hall of Fame in its first year of eligibility has to be great! Nirvana proved that grunge wasn’t just a Seattle thing as the group has sold more than 75 million albums worldwide to date.
All Apologies, About a Girl, Come as You Are and their timeless anthem Smells Like Teen Spirit will remain classics as long as it rains in the upper Northwest. Nevermind, In Utero, and their excellent MTV Unplugged set helped keep true rock and roll alive in the ’90s.
Gee, I wonder if Kurt Cobain were still alive would he have attended the ceremony?
No, I don’t think so.
KISS: What took so damn long? The band that married merchandising with their music also influenced as many bands as Dale Carnegie did people.
Their party-anthem singles (Rock and Roll All Nite, Shout it Out Loud, Detroit Rock City, etc.) were part of the soundtrack to many a teenager’s lives.
For me, their first two live albums (1975 and 1977) seem to illustrate best just how fun and crazy KISS was onstage. Many tribute bands these days just perform these in-concert discs as they sum up best what the foursome was all about.
PETER GABRIEL: Hey, this guy wore makeup even before KISS did. He left Genesis at just the right time and recorded nine highly-regarded studio solo albums. The biggest selling one of the bunch was So from 1986 that was far more “radio and video friendly.”
His combination of theater with rock performance was trailblazing for countless other artists. He was inducted as a member of Genesis in 2010 but was unable to attend the ceremony. Happily, Gabriel said earlier this week that he will attend the 2014 event.
LINDA RONSTADT: Another sell-out for the Hall of Fame, as they shamelessly waited until the singer announced that, because of illness, she is unable to ever sing again. Ronstadt should have been a member of the Hall years ago.
Solo hits that included You’re No Good, Heat Wave, When Will I Be Loved, and the Michael Nesmith-tune Different Drum helped make the Arizona native one of the most successful female artists in the ’70s.
DARYL HALL AND JOHN OATES: Another long-overdue duo for the RRHOF. Six No. 1 singles (Rich Girl, Kiss on My List, Private Eyes, I Can’t Go for That, Maneater and Out of Touch) should have made the blue-eyed soulsters a shoo-in many years ago.
Hall and Oates’ in-concert performances are always chock-full of more hits than they have time to play. Both singers’ voices remain top-notch as well.
Today, Hall’s extremely popular TV series Live from Daryl’s House is one of the best around as it showcases deserving new and established talents alike.
The ceremonies for the class of 2014 ceremony will be held in April in New York. Maybe the Hall will once again recognize more artists that should have been included years … and decades … ago.