Contain yourself: The 2011 Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame nominees, who may or may not win a chicken dinner and a place in Cleveland’s Rock And Roll Hall Of fame, have been announced.
As we know from many previous lists and televised induction ceremonies, the qualifications for admittance are that as a rock artist or rock affiliate (manager/roadie, producer/boyfriend, lawyer/songwriter), you have to have been in business for at least 25 years, know a guy who knows some guys, and be willing to sing your biggest hit onstage in an awkward jam session with Bruce Springsteen, Cher, and Lemmy.
Nominees should have provided something substantial to the rock gene pool past a hairstyle and a pop hit even your great-grandmother likes, but that’s not always the case. Here is a quick guide to who is who, what is what, and is also a shameless flailing attempt to influence the HOF voters.
1. Alice Cooper
Pros: A minister’s son who grew up to be a rock gore theater pioneer and wrote catchy rock anthems about being 18, getting out of school, and women’s periods is appropriate and good.
Cons: Complained that Vampire Weekend was not a bunch of fake scary rock dudes in leather pants; golfs.
2. Beastie Boys
Pros: Brought innovative, funny, stylish hip hop pop to the white kids.
Cons: Those accents can get to you after awhile.
3. Bon Jovi
Pros: Cute, jovial, hard-working.
Cons: So’s my hair stylist.
Pros: What? No.
Cons: This group who produced moronic repetitive disco hits had nothing whatsoever to do with rock and roll.
Vote: NO NO NO
5. Neil Diamond
Pros: Banged out a string of giant pop singles in the ‘60s.
Cons: Should be denied for The Jazz Singer and terrible hair alone.
Vote: TEPID YES
Pros: Started out aping Dylan, but then started writing giant pop hits in the ‘60s that were actually rather cute, trippy, and clever.
Cons: Single name usage; hippie.
7. Dr. John
Started out aping Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, but became a fine ambassador for the wealth of musical styles found in his hometown of New Orleans; not Aaron Neville.
Cons: Did a Popeye’s Chicken commercial; not really a physician.
8. J. Geils Band
Pros: Not terrible.
Cons: Long-lived competent bar band with an R&B bent does not make for legend.
9. LL Cool J
Pros: Ladies And Many Others Love Cool James, or did back in the MTV-Discovers-Palatable-Rap Days; admirable long-term hustle.
Cons: G.O.A.T.? Meh-eh-eh-eh; not a rock artist.
VOTE: SYMPATHETIC NO
10. Darlene Love
Pros: Phil Spector used her uncredited big vocals to support countless other big names; came back for credit years later; Phil’s in jail.
Cons: That she’s not in the HOF already, shame on you, Nasty Museum.
11. Laura Nyro
Pros: Funky Bronx-born white girl with soul-folk style wrote great big hits for many others; beloved by rock’s top songwriters; paved the way for quirky girls like Joanna Newsom and Fiona Apple; massively influential.
Cons: Late; she died in 1997.
12. Donna Summer
Cons: A career of musical theater, vapid disco, and weak pop is not museum-worthy.
13. Joe Tex
Pros: Hot-off-the-griddle high-energy soul man with a great stage name; fought with James Brown over dance moves and girls; pre-rap rapper.
Cons: Incredibly late; he died in 1982.
14. Tom Waits
Pros: Gravel-voiced rock vaudevillian; the Californian Lou Reed?; unshakable in artistic intent; outsmarted the music business by becoming influential despite it.
Cons: Grating, over-the-top, predictable, which describes most rock and roll, really.
15. Chuck Willis
Pros: “The King Of the Stroll” brought a cool R&B vibe to early rock and roll; covered Ma Rainey’s great blues song C.C. Rider and brought it to a bigger audience.
Cons: Talk about late! He died in 1958!
Well, no matter who gets voted in this time I am sure each will enjoy their big night and praise from their peers and bespectacled pop music historians, even if one of the winners arrives in a tuxedo-clad urn of ashes. Rock on!