Home Music Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Glaring, Embarrassing Omissions

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 26th annual induction ceremony tomorrow night at the Waldorf is bound to have at least one indisputably great moment when Darlene Love finally gets her due, having first set the rock ‘n’ roll world on fire in 1962 as the voice of The Crystals on the Phil Spector-produced chart-topper “He’s A Rebel.” Neil Diamond, long ignored but equally deserving for his 1960s Brill Building songwriting and early hits, rectifies another glaring omission. I’ll leave others to sing the praises of Alice Cooper, Tom Waits and Dr. John–who are certainly credible.

This still leaves at least a score of music heroes I’d induct if given carte blanche, starting with Paul Anka, far and away the most important of the teen idols that made up much of early rock ‘n’ roll, and Lesley Gore, whose early ’60s Quincy Jones-produced classics include “It’s My Party” and the proto-feminist anthem “You Don’t Own Me.”

That surf music royalty Jan & Dean have been denied is, as they say, a travesty. I’d say the same about Lou Christie, one of rock ‘n’ roll’s most distinctive vocalists and songwriters. British Invasion group The Zombies have likewise been overlooked, despite its unique creativity.

The Turtles, Paul Revere & Raiders, Tommy James and Mitch Ryder all had landmark hits in the 1960s–lots of them–and merit RockHall recognition. Nancy Sinatra was a true female icon of the period, and has a score more hits than “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’.” Laura Nyro didn’t have any major hits of her own, but wrote key ones for the varied likes of Blood, Sweat & Tears, Three Dog Night, the 5th Dimension and Barbra Streisand–and her albums remain hugely influential.

The missing Roc kHall travesty of the 1970s is the New York Dolls, who helped set the stage for punk rock. Like ‘em or not, Kiss did in fact “rock and roll all nite,” and Grand Funk Railroad was the ultimate arena/stadium rock act. And Joan Jett should go in, with or without her pioneering 1970s girl rock group The Runaways.

This website would also cite Chicago, Sonny and Cher, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Linda Ronstadt, Carly Simon, Chubby Checker and Mary Wells–and could easily make a strong case for all of them.

And let’s not forget one special man who should have gone in long ago as a Non-Performer: Ed Sullivan. Ed gave so many Rock and Roll Hall of Famers of all subgenres primetime national network TV exposure–for which all rock ‘n’ roll fans are forever indebted.

PS Editor’s note: and producers–Richard Perry, Phil Ramone, and Richard Gottehrer, just for example, as well as Quincy Jones. And of course, the glaring omission: the late, great Don Kirshner.

PS I hope when Neil Diamond makes his speech he mentions all the artists who’ve been ignored. He’s been on the ballot for years. It’s only been with a lot of outside pressure that he finally made it. Believe me, he was never Wenner’s first choice.

15 replies to this post
  1. So many good groups and individuals who have passed on and are still snubbed by the RRHF. That place has as much credibility as Bernie Madoff does these days. As far as I’m concerend, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is nothing but a big farce.

  2. Lesley Gore not being in the RRHOF completely discredits their whole organization. I was born in ’73 after her run on the top 40 and her significance is far underlooked. She played a major role in shifting musical styles, transitioning female performers from the 50′s to the 60′s. Without her, there would have been no path for the likes of Dusty Springfield, Petula Clark and other such dominate female artists who took her cue and stepped into the spotlight. Without Gore, Quincy Jones might not have become as recognized and in turn, Michael Jackson not molded into the star he was.

    It is a shame when I see some of the people in the RRHOF and then realize those who are not yet credited. I do not want her being inducted after she has passed on, like some obligation. I want her recognized now. She needs to be praised while she is still here. Plus, they could do some awesome tribute covers of her songs.

  3. I 100% agree: Lesley Gore should absolutely be in the Rock
    N’ Roll Hall of Fame and it’s a single travesty that she gets passed over.
    An entire generation of kids and teens grew up on her music. Plus she gets my vote as sexiest villainess ever on the old Batman TV series, when she appeared several times as Catwoman’s gal pal, Catgirl.

  4. Jethro Tull should be in many reasons. Aqualung and Thick as a Brick have to be the most amazing, original back to back albums ever. Another group, Yes, that should be considered just for the Yes album itself.

  5. Like to see a few real musicians like Harry Nilsson, Lou Reed, Sting & The Zombies…..Come on….The Lovin Spoonfull are in……………LOL!…………

  6. Yak, first off, there is no clear definition of “Rock n Roll”. Rock n Roll evolved from many different sounds and into many different sounds. The whole RnR thing is a misnomer for this so-called ‘Hall of Fame’ as many of the people in there, while not “soft pop” don’t fit into your narrow discription. While I agree with the inclusion of who you singled out, I disagree vehemntly with the exclusion of Sonny and Cher, and Lou Christie, as well as other ignored artists because not only where they there when the notion of RnR was born, they indeed had an influence and a deserved place in this “shrine”. Lou Chrisite’s songs may not have been your cup of tea but I can guarantee with he had a profound influence on guys like Freddie Mercury. If for no other reason than he wrote and performed practically every one of his songs, many of which weren’t your standard fare of the time, compicated and involved operettas.

  7. These are all good choices for the Hall. Ed Sullivan — never thought of him but of course, he had a tremendous impact. And Lesley Gore and Quincy Jones. I recently posted on my Rockaeology blog at http://bit.ly/hd9TDO the story behind the first number one hit produced by Jones: Lesley Gore’s “It’s My Party.”

    Phil Spector also loved this song and produced a version at the same time with the Blossoms. But Quincy pulled off a clever trick to get Lesley’s version out first. It was an immediate hit and Spector never released the Blossoms’ version.

  8. Many of the people you’ve listed are soft-pop artists or not influential enough. This is the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. When I think of Rock & Roll I think Chuck Berry, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Bruce Springsteen, CCR, Alice Cooper, Led Zeppelin etc. NOT Barbra Streisand, Sonny & Cher or Carly Simon.

    I agree many important artists are missing and many have been inducted before their time but Babs is not on my list in any way, shape or form.

What do you think?