Is rock ‘n’ roll here to stay?

Posted: May 9, 2023 by chrisharper in Uncategorized

By Christopher Harper

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has lost its way!

I love the music of Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson, but they’re country artists, not rockers.

Is Kool Herc an important representative of rap because he scratched turntables?

Like many teenagers, I played in a rock ‘n’ roll band. Unlike most, we had some success, recording several songs, including one that made it to the Billboard 100. We’ve also been inducted into two rock halls of fame in South Dakota and Iowa!

That’s why rock and its cathedral in Cleveland are vital to me!

Let me name just a few of the noteworthy musicians who haven’t been honored and probably never will.

Joe Cocker has many proponents for the hall. For example,  Billy Joel voiced his support back in 2014, the same year Cocker died: “I’m amazed that he’s not in yet, but I’m throwing in my vote for Joe Cocker,” Joel told fans at Madison Square Garden while covering “With a Little Help From My Friends” as Cocker once did. He’s been eligible since 1995 but never nominated.

The Spencer Davis Group has never been nominated, despite being eligible since 1991. “[Spencer Davis] was a man with a vision and one of the pioneers of the British invasion of America in the ’60s,” former band member Steve Winwood said to Rolling Stone in 2020. “I feel that he was influential in setting me on the road to becoming a professional musician, and I thank him for that.”

Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s bid for respect for progressive rock has long been an uphill battle. That was Greg Lake’s view when considering why the band hadn’t been inducted into the rock hall, despite being eligible since 1996. Years have passed, and they still haven’t been nominated, which the late ELP vocalist took as a big slight. “Groups like ELP were playing stadiums. Not clubs, stadiums,” Lake said a decade ago. “It’s not something you can overlook: ‘Oh, I didn’t notice that.'”

Grand Funk Railroad has never received a nomination, despite five platinum albums and hugely popular hits like “Walk Like a Man” and “We’re an American Band.” The omission doesn’t sit well with Grand Funk co-founder Mark Farner. “It just shows the illegitimacy of that rock hall,” he said, “and the [fans] are definitely smart enough to know this. They need to be reminded, though, that the rock hall is not a representation of the will of the people; it is a representation of the will of the owners of the rock hall.”

Procol Harum has been eligible since 1993 but has been nominated just once for the class of 2013. Five years later, their classic song “A Whiter Shade of Pale” was inducted into the rock hall’s singles category. “We all know the history of music can be changed with just one song, one record,” E Street guitarist Steven Van Zandt said when introducing the category. “In three minutes, we suddenly enter a new direction, a movement, a style, an experience. That three-minute song can result in a personal revelation, an epiphany that changes our lives.”

Many others deserve consideration: Meat Loaf, Harry Nilsson, Steppenwolf, Three Dog Night, Toto, Edgar and Johnny Winter, and maybe even the Monkees.

Sadly, many influential artists haven’t been considered for the hall, which means something is wrong.

  1. bob sykes says:

    I’m old enough to remember the 50’s, Little Richard, Chubby Checker, Jerry Lee Lewis… All records were mono and lo-fi, and record players would still spin at 78.

    I’m going to say that Rock and Roll did not survive the 60’s. Part of what killed it off was the British Invasion, especially the Beatles. Some critic once wrote that the Beatles did not write Rock and Roll, they wrote show tunes. I think that’s pretty much true. Later on in the 70’s the old working class performers were replaced by Ivy College kids like Steely Dan and Procul Harem. I liked that music, but it isn’t Rock and Roll.

  2. chrisharper says:

    I was never a Beatles fun. But I did like the Stones.

  3. John Ruberry says:

    I am going to be contradictory, since I am a fan of many British acts. Both of thes bands are dismissed as being “too English” for the Hall, but XTC took listeners, lyrically and musically, to new artistic territories. And Squeeze brought back, for a while, Tin Pan Alley craftsmanship to songwriting. And Chris Thomas’ engineering and production work earns him an induction.

  4. Mike Malone says:

    I’m not opposed to the RRHoF having a big tent as far as artists being admitted, after all Country and Rap are related. That said, that Warren Zevon has not been admitted is close to criminal.