Axl Rose with Guns N' Roses in 2002/ Star Tribune photo by Jeff Wheeler
This year’s nominees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame include big bands, old blues and R&B names and lesser known hipsters — and the usual reaction of "What were they thinking?"
Let’s not talk about Rush, Hall & Oates, the Replacements and other faves having never been nominated. Let’s evaluate this year’s 15 candidates, which were announced Tuesday.
As a longtime voter, I will throw my support without hesitation for hip-hop auteurs the Beastie Boys and British working-class rock heroes the Small Faces/Faces (Rod Stewart’s ex-band). Eric B. & Rakim were never hitmakers but they were influential enough in the hip-hop world to merit serious Hall of Fame consideration.
Heart might get my vote because these pioneering and enduring rock women took the Zeppelin folk-meets-rock formula and forged their own identity. I’m on the fence about newly eligible Guns N’ Roses, which made one classic album ("Appetite for Destruction") and then Axl Rose went on a self-destructive path that ultimately tarnished the GNR name.
Also on the ballot for the first time are seminal female punk-turned-mainstream hero Joan Jett and bad-hair British gloom rockers the Cure, neither of whom is Hall worthy.
Disco queen Donna Summer, Latin rockers War,1960s folk-rocker Donovan, bluesman Freddie King, soulful singer-songwriter Laura Nyro and funk-rock favorites Red Hot Chili Peppers are nominated once again but not going to get my vote, though I think Nyro belongs in the Hall as a songwriter (non-performers are chosen by a committee, not the Hall of Fame voters).
Finalists Rufus featuring Chaka Khan and the Spinners were among my soul-music favorites of the 1970s but not necessarily Hall of Famers.
How would you vote? Make a case to try to convince me to change my mind. I won't be casting my ballot until November.
Inductees will be chosen by several hundred Hall of Fame members and music-industry voters, with the winners announced in December and inducted in April.