Since 1986, The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has been inducting those who have made an impression on the evermore detailed map of pop and rock music. And yeah, the ceremony might be a little chintzy, and some may consider the whole think a giant joke, and the whole argument of contemporary relevance is all but hurled out the the window, and the fact that ABBA is in there and Brian Eno isn’t is enough to set yourself on fire — but it beats the living hell out of any other televised American music awards show, and usually the ceremony ekes some gnarly performances out of the inductees. This year, 15 nominees were selected, and on average, five to seven of those nominees will be selected. So, without further ado, here are your 2011 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Performer Nominees. Who do you think should make the cut?
The original rock nemesis Alice Cooper, along with lead guitarist Glen Buxton, rhythm guitarist Michael Bruce, bass player Dennis Dunaway and drummer Neal Smith, paved the way for future harbingers of shock heavy metal. In addition to his box-office record-breaking live show in the 70s, The Coop continued to rock well into the 90s and, sure, 2010. If ABBA’s already in the R&RHoF, it’d be a shame for Cooper not to make it this year. Take a chance on him.
Now here’s a little story I’ve got to tell about three bad brothers you know so well. Mike D, Ad-Rock, and MCA have kicked out the jams for years, pioneering hip-hop, sampling, production, and white-boy fashion since the 80s. If inducted, Beastie Boys would be the third hip-hop group in the hall of fame, alongside Grandmaster Flash and Run DMC. You got a long wait ahead of you, Weezy.
Posthumous nominee and folk prodigy Laura Nyro recorded with David Geffen and Columbia Records for 25 years starting at the ripe age of 19. Her songs were performed by Fifth Dimension, Three Dog Night, and Barbra Streisand and, rather unfortunately, not all at the same time. Elton John said of her: The soul, the passion, the out-and-out audacity of her rhythmic and melody changes was like nothing Id ever heard before.
My mom played Donna Summer a lot when I was a kid, and I think I heard “Love To Love You Baby” a little too young. Things have been really messed up for me since then. But she’s stayed fresh and in the mainstream since as she starred as Steve Urkel’s Aunt Oona in 1994 and again in 1997 (I’m sensing a trend…)
You know how Ronnie James Dio claimed he invented the devil horn hand gesture? Well, Joe Tex coined the term “rap”. At age 31, the southern-soul singer had two dozen consecutive R&B/pop crossover hits in rotation, including the song “I Ain’t Gonna Bump No More With No Big Fat Woman”. That title alone gets him a ticket in. And whoa! Label-mate James Brown shot at him in a night club!
I’ll redirect you to our article on Mr. Tom Waits, which will expound on his defense on getting into the hall of fame. Suffice it to say, if I could use all my votes for one man, it would be him. The breadth of his career, his growth as a songwriter, his talent as a producer earns him a spot in the Hall of Fame.
’50s pop singer Chuck Willis, known as The King of the Stroll, is a testament to roots of rock & roll. Unfortunately , he was recording 50 years before today, so I’m clearly not a big fan of his oeuvre, nor one who understands his importance. But because I’m a logical person, I logically see his reason for being on the list. Another case of “If it wasn’t for Chuck Willis…” Elvis Presley, Otis Redding, and Kanye West samples would never exist. May logic prevail!