Home Music Rock Hall Dinners Tonight: One for Jann Wenner, One for Everyone Else

How much does Jann Wenner sneer at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland, Ohio? Tonight Wenner is hosting a pre -induction ceremony dinner (the annual event is tomorrow night at the Waldorf) for the inductees–Alice Cooper, Neil Diamond, Darlene Love, Tom Waits, and Dr. John, plus Leon Russell and Elektra Records founder Jac Holzman–at the Spotted Pig restaurant in the West Village. The guest list includes Wenner’s inner circle and close pals, but excludes many members of the Board of the Directors of the Foundation. It also excludes people attached to the museum. They’re having a separate low key dinner at another locale for big museum donors.

Wenner’s dinner will include Joel Peresman, who runs the foundation for him and earns just under $400,000 despite the Rock Hall’s embarrassing failure at having a New York outpost (came and gone within a year). Peresman’s job is help pick the five inductees each year. According to the Rock Hall’s latest tax filing–which contains less information than ever– the Foundation still lists nothing given to musicians in need, and a mere $25,000 to “music scholarships” (no details). Other guests are sure to include Bono and the Edge, trapped in town by “Spider Man,” and assorted Wenner favorites like Yoko Ono and Keith Richards.

The choice of inductees was so screwed up this year that Dr. John, a great musician who is technically a “sideman,” gets in as a star while Leon Russell enters as a sideman having hit singles (“Tight Rope,” “Lady Blue”) and writing three rock classics: “A Song for You,” “Superstar,” and “This Masquerade.” Elton John, quite rightly, forced the issue to make sure Russell was in as something.

Still not in the Hall of Fame: everyone from Chubby Checker and Billy Preston to the Turtles, Chicago, the Moody Blues, Hall & Oates, Todd Rundgren, Mary Wells, Linda Ronstadt, Carly Simon, Neil Sedaka, Laura Nyro, Mitch Ryder, Carole King (as a performer), Cyndi Lauper, Bon Jovi, Sting (as a solo artist), and dozens more.

Last year I reported that Wenner, desperate to get more stars into the Hall, suggested the group cut the eligibility time down from 25 to 20 or 15 years. The idea was met with derision.

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8 replies to this post
  1. Why isn’t the great Linda Ronstadt already in? It’s a travesty. And Carly Simon? Carole King? True Queen of Rock Stevie Nicks (solo work)? The amazing Tina Turner (solo)? Joan Jett? Bette Midler? Diana Ross? Cher? Another True Queen of Rock Pat Benatar? The Go-Gos? The Bangles? the list goes on..,

  2. Let’s see, Queens of 1970s Rock, Linda Ronstadt and Heart, and 1980s Rock Queens, Stevie Nicks (solo) and Pat Benatar are STILL not in the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame.

    Yet Aretha Franklin, Madonna and Abba, all great artists, but not rock and rollers, are in it. I don’t get it.

  3. Dr. John a sideman? He has over 20 solo albums and has won 5 Grammy awards. Leon Russell has won no Grammys and his highest charted song was “tightrope” at number 11 on the pop charts. Dr. John’s “Right Place, Wrong Time” was number 9 on the pop charts.

  4. Seeing Chubby Checker, Hall & Oates, and Todd Rundgren on that list of folks who aren’t yet in the RRHoF reminded me that artists from the Philadelphia area have really gotten short shrift when it comes to RRHoF induction. Just about the only one who is in as a performer is Solomon Burke, and he isn’t really associated with the city like so many other performers are. Gamble & Huff are in as non-performers, as is Dick Clark. Others who ought to be considered include Patti LaBelle, Jim Croce, and Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes (or Teddy Pendergrass as a solo). I’ll even go out on a limb and suggest Frankie Avalon and Bobby Rydell. After all, Ricky Nelson is in. Yes, Jim Croce had his career cut short, but so did Ritchie Valens and Eddie Cochran (and for that matter, Jimi & Janis), and they are in.

  5. Cheap Trick, Joan Jett and numerous others are not members and to be honest, Jann Wenner does not have an appreciation for New Wave music, so artists like Depeche Mode, Joy Division, Thompson Twins, New Order, simple Minds all deserve to be in there. but… its a sad statement that Wenner and his cronies just are stonewalling many worthy artists.

  6. Hall and Oates really need to be in the HoF.

    Very successful in the 70s, then then one of the biggest acts in the 80s.
    More number ones than any other duo.

  7. Kudos to the Hall for inducting Dr. John despite only having one Top 40 hit, “Right Place Wrong Time.” It was his first single, “Iko Iko,” from the 1972 album “Dr. John’s Gumbo,” that introduced his New Orleans sound to the rest of the country. For most listeners, “Iko Iko” was a cover of the 1965 Dixie Cups hit. But the song’s ancestry goes back to 1952… and beyond.

    On my Rockaeology blog at http://bit.ly/gL5n0B I tell how the song has roots in the chants of Mardi Gras krewes. The lyrics of James “Sugar Boy” Crawford’s “Jock-A-Mo” unwittingly served as the inspiration for the Dixie Cups’ hit.

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