Yesterday marked a tremendous day for rappers and thrashers across the world: Metallica and Run-DMC were announced as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's newest inductees, along with Jeff Beck, Wanda Jackson, Little Anthony and the Imperials, Bobby Womack, two members of Elvis Presley's backing band and pianist Spooner Oldham.
This will be Beck's second induction into the Hall. The British blues guitarist was first inducted in 1992 with the Yardbirds, where he replaced the departing Eric Clapton, who was leaving for a spot with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. When Beck's tenure with the 'Birds was up, he was involved in various projects like the Jeff Beck Group with Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood, plus a few other collaborations and solo outings. He may not remember, but he also had a brief cameo in the Schwarzenegger/DeVito tour de force Twins as a guitarist at a roadhouse bar.
Little Anthony and The Imperials are best known for their malt-shop-core work like "Tears on My Pillow" and "Shimmy, Shimmy, Ko-Ko-Bop." The group had been eligible for years now, being in the running for a place in the Hall but never quite making it (sort of like Jim Rice). It took the campaigning of Paul Simon and Billy Joel, who both count them as influences, to get them into the Hall this year.
Wanda Jackson, well damn! What can you say about the Queen of Rockabilly? She still tours, even hitting up the Continental Club last year. At age 72, she's still spry, with that same man-leveling sneer in her voice. Discovered by Hank Thompson at age of 17, Jackson went on to tour with Elvis and garnered a string of country hits, even though what she was playing would end up being classified as early rockabilly.
Artists becoming eligible for induction in 2010 include the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nick Cave, the Pogues and the Cult. Still, countless others are still not in the Hall yet. Many point out the glaring omissions of the Stooges, Kiss, MC5, Alice Cooper and even the Smiths as further proof that the Hall is merely a commercial vehicle.
Tamer acts rather than the influential ones listed above get voted in every year, chosen for the ratings they'll pull in (or because they're buddies with Jann Wenner) rather than the giant shadow they cast.
Who can deny that if it not for omitted acts like Kiss, T. Rex, Judas Priest or even Thin Lizzy that James Hetfield may have never picked up a guitar? At this very moment, he would probably be working 50 hours a week in California somewhere, more than likely under the hood of a Silverado at a Chevy dealership. - Craig Hlavaty
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