It’s all over but the shouting…in three days from this writing we’ll have the lineup for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2017.
It’s been noted that the predictions from the HOF blogging community are in agreement this year, and I’m pretty much in line. For a really good in-depth analysis of the reasons for and against each act on the ballot, see here, or here, or here. I won’t try to duplicate these excellent efforts, but here’s who I think we’ll see on the press release this Tuesday:
- Pearl Jam – At least a couple of voters interviewed have indicated that whatever their tastes, they “had” to vote for them. Even if some assume the band’s covered and pass, this kind of respect will cover it.
- Journey – There’s no way the precedent of inducting the fan vote winner is going to be broken now.
- ELO – Jeff Lynne’s an industry icon, and it will be recognized on the first ballot.
- Joan Baez – Rockists will complain, but she’s the same generation as the core of the voting committee who still want to honor their era, and she promises a gravitas that I think the Hall desires.
- 2Pac – My “softest” choice: I hesitated on this one after seeing several interviews with official voters who are voting otherwise this year, but I think his status as a cultural icon will carry the day.
- If the Hall does take advantage of the size of the ballot with a sixth choice (as they should), I think voters may look at their ballots, recognize a name that’s been there three times now and finally reward Yes.
Could we see the first class made up of first-timers since of the inaugural class of 1986?
The group jam should be interesting.
As for the Cars, it’s another year, another loaded ballot that I think puts them in sixth or seventh place in a five-way race. You never know, there could be a surprise, but I’m not counting on it. But it will happen. There’s support; it’s just going to take the right ballot to mobilize it. This is NOT to say I won’t be frustrated, annoyed if a certain couple of acts slip in ahead, or that I accept that “nominations are the new inductions.”
A few thoughts for my fellow fans if we find ourselves disappointed, and everyone else finding themselves in the same big boat.
- Sometimes it takes a while. Plenty of deserving landmark acts (DAVID BOWIE, for crying out loud) have needed two or three tries to get in, or more. A lot depends on the makeup of the ballot. Statistically, the majority of nominated acts eventually get in.
- Other acts deserve to be there too. And all their fans are online shrieking, “It’s a travesty my band isn’t in!!!” Or, conversely, “That other band (yours) only has one good song!” And if you’re about to say someone shouldn’t be there because they’re not “rock,” please just stop.
- It’s not that the Hall doesn’t want us. Fans of every band/artist in the world say the Hall is against them right up until that act gets in. Nominating Committee members get to bring two choices per year to the table. Any act on the ballot, especially if they’re repeat nominees, is there because someone made them one of those two choices and got the others to agree.
- It’s not really even “The Hall.” The Foundation believes current inductees are the ones best qualified to choose new ones, so they make up the bulk of the voting committee. Performers can be just as narrow in their thinking as anyone else, and the average official voter is a 70-year-old white male “classic era” rocker, so the Hall has been actively recruiting people to balance this out. But generally, the committee is musicians you know and like, not faceless Hall employees. So if you want to blame somebody, blame Jimmy Page or Carlos Santana or Debbie Harry. Or Dave Grohl–that guy runs the world.
- We weren’t robbed. You can’t be robbed of what you don’t own. No promises are made about the fan vote other than an extra vote for the top five. Someone not in the top five can get more votes from the people in charge and be inducted. Happens every year–just ask Nine Inch Nails, Yes or the Smiths. No HOF is a rubber stamp for fan opinion, and that’s as it should be.
- Yeah, it’s a (really) imperfect system. There’s some stuff that’s not just frustrating, but wrong, with the RRHOF. As consumers, we can contact it and make decisions with our attention and our wallets if it’s that important to us. It’s a privately held organization, so some stuff we won’t change. But in spite of it all, we still seem to want our heroes in there. So…see you next year.