Predictions, and Some Thoughts for Us Underdogs

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Journey – There’s no way the precedent of inducting the fan vote winner is going to be broken now.
  3. ELO – Jeff Lynne’s an industry icon, and it will be recognized on the first ballot.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

21 thoughts on “Predictions, and Some Thoughts for Us Underdogs

  1. I know all that, he whined, but I still want Yes in there so I can get on with my life. Please use your (doubtless) considerable influence to get them in there. Thank you very much. Signed, the peanut gallery. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Alright! Frankly, I didn’t know what the hell you were talking about when i got an email that said, Congrats. I took a look at the list and I’m digging it. Some respect for prog-rock, Baez gets her (long overdue) nod, a litte bit of rap. Thanks for the heads up and time to post something on this.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. There’s a discussion on my site about something around this and I wondered you’d be able to chime in. You seem to know stuff. It’s about individual member induction.


  2. Great read! Your analysis is spot on. The predictions seem safe and certainly consistent with other experts and enthusiasts. Surely there will be a surprise curveball, though. I’m still holding out hope that Janet Jackson will make it, although it seems she may have to wait another year. Maybe the third time will be the charm for Miss Jackson (’cause I’m nasty)?

    If they only induct 5 artists again this induction cycle it’ll really be a shame….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I have to admit that as a fan I’m struggling to keep my own words in mind and keep a positive mood–knowing something of how the system works doesn’t really ease the sense of disappointment. Even since finishing this post I’ve realized that I’ve seen Kraftwerk mentioned more than once by voters who’ve revealed their choices, so maybe that’ll be the curveball. Makes the thought of the group jam even more interesting.

      The issue of class size is definitely looming larger and larger.


  3. Thanks for the link! It really does seem to be a general consensus. Which is what worries me that a left-field upset is in the works. I thought I was shaking things up when I predicted J. Geils Band, but a few others have picked them too.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I hope Yes finally gets in this year, but as you cited, being in the Top 5 hardly means much as they have TWICE before.

    But sorry, the way the Fans Vote is given 1/8 of 1% of the vote is absolutely ridiculous.

    The Fans Vote should be worth 1/3 of the overall Vote.

    And they need to double the induction and nomination total, that way all the older acts that keep ending up either on the ballot and fail to get in, or still have yet to even be on the ballot (see The Monkees, or Jethro Tull for example) have a much better chance to get in finally.

    And the Fans need to have a representative on the actual Nomination committee.

    The voting process also needs to change. The Fans should either have to participate per SNAIL MAIL or have to PAY to vote. That may actually prevent most of the flooding.


    1. If fans have to use snail mail, then the recipient of said mail will be very lonely indeed. No one knows how to write anymore. Likewise, no one is going to pay unless they are incredibly besotted fans. Given those two choices, might just as well say fans can’t vote and leave it at that.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. The class size should definitely be bigger; for a good analysis see Philip’s post at Rock Hall Monitors:

      But there are caveats about bigger ballots too; there’s the information overload factor, and as Future Rock Legends has pointed out, it would make it easier for campaigns by small factions to get a candidate in even though the majority of people may not be familiar with them.

      The fan vote isn’t just to tally votes; part of the purpose is to create buzz and a sense of involvement, and as much as I detest “marketing,” I recognize that it’s also a marketing tool to drive traffic to the site and clickthroughs for sponsors. It’s how the world works now. Not showing the totals as happened in the beginning of the vote period this year was a big energy drain; snail mail would kill it completely. And requiring payment to vote would have people completely up in arms.

      At risk of being labeled a snob, I got into my thoughts on fan involvement in an earlier post:

      I agree that there are fans out there who have valid points to make, but I don’t see the value in giving just anyone a forum on the committee, and I don’t see an efficient way to find the ones who can meaningfully contribute. The Pro Football HOF goes to great lengths to involve fans in their process, and they still end up with classes of three and irate fans screaming in online comment sections and fan forums.

      But you’re right; the issue of the class sizes is really going to be more of an elephant in the room going forward.


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