Ladies and gentlemen, your 2011 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees:
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is ready to admit a new class: Alice Cooper, Tom Waits, Neil Diamond, Darlene Love and Dr. John have all been inducted for 2011, the foundation announced Wednesday.
With the exception of Waits, this was a first time nomination for all of the inductees. Artists aren't eligible for induction until 25 years have passed from the release of their first single or LP, but many in this class got their start in the 60s, except for Waits, who arrived on the scene in '73, according to Rolling Stone.
Some of the younger nominees, like Bon Jovi, the Beastie Boys and LL Cool J - who, along with the Beastie Boys, has been nominated for induction more than once - will just have to hope for next year.
The annual garment rending over who does or doesn't receive the "honor" of being selected by Rolling Stone founder/publisher Jann Wenner and his cronies is usually more entertaining than the ceremony -- and it's increasingly forced closeout "jam sessions" -- itself. So let's get to it.
We already know the big names that still haven't satisfied whatever esoteric criteria Wenner and company use to determine who is worthy. There's KISS, rumored to be excluded due to demands for an excessive cut of the HOF's gate; Rush, who aren't exactly broken up by their repeated snubs (perhaps the Hall is waiting until 2112); as well as Boston, Chicago, the New York Dolls and most other bands named after American cities.
I would humbly suggest a few others:
Iron Maiden/Judas Priest Not to say the bands are interchangeable, but both were seminal acts in the New Wave of British Heavy Metal and both command legions of devoted fans. Both are also undeniably more "rock and roll" than current inductees James Taylor or Madonna.
Zevon never enjoyed sustained commercial success after his late '70s peak, but he remained one of the most influential singer-songwriters on the scene until his death from mesothelioma in 2003. He influenced current inductees Bruce Springsteen and Jackson Browne, and toured with the Everly Brothers. And if his musical CV isn't enough, the guy lived the rock and roll lifestyle like few before or since.
You can poo poo Kraftwerk's influence on electronic music -- or electronic music in general, for that matter -- but where many HoF bands have made appearances on The Simpsons, the boys from Dusseldorf are so reclusive they were only mentioned in passing by German royalty passing through Springfield to claim the Hellfish bonanza. That's exclusivity.
Paul Westerberg would tell you Big Star needs to be inducted first (like thats's ever going to happen), but while the late Alex Chilton a had an undeniable effect on the 'Mats, they in turn have gone on to influence an enitire generation's worth of indie/garage bands. Besides that, "Bastards of Young" is one of the greatest rock songs of all time.
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Answering that age old question: how do we get punks into Irish music? Shane Magowan had worse teeth than even John Lydon, which should make him eligible for every hall of fame everywhere. Even Major League Baseball's.