The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has chosen its five inductees, and they’re the last big names left: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Guns n Roses, Rod Stewart and Small Faces, Donovan and the late Laura Nyro. The last three have been on and off the ballot for the last several years. They’re finally in because almost no one is left who Jann Wenner will let in, barring Chicago, Hall & Oates, Linda Ronstadt and dozens of other acts who’ve been passed over. The Peppers and GnR are pretty much the last big names left to induct except for Bon Jovi. (I’m told Jon Bon Jovi is pretty furious at this point, and he’s right.) Left off the ballot completely this year, also, was Sting, whose 25 years as a solo act and output, as well as hits, certainly eclipses both GnR and the Peppers.
And so the drama begins: will Slash and Axl Rose make up and appear together? (This is such a pressing matter.) Will Anthony Kiedis of the Peppers wear a shirt? Will Rod Stewart remember the Faces a group he left in 1971? Will Ronnie Wood remember them either? Will Donovan allow his adult children, Donovan Leitch and Ione Skye, to attend despite ignoring them most of their lives? And who will sing for Laura Nyro since her biggest hits were performed by groups the Rock Hall shuns, the Fifth Dimension, Blood Sweat & Tears, and Three Dog Night?
And then what for the Rock Hall? Aside from Sting and Bon Jovi, and maybe Cyndi Lauper, their other choices narrow now. Without going back and correcting their mistakes, there is little to look forward to. The new group eligible in 2012 includes Milli Vanilli, MCHammer, and Sinead O’Connor. Yikes.
Meanwhile, the actual museum in Cleveland continues to do great work quite separate and apart from the New York foundation. They recently honored Aretha Franklin with a big gala that included lots of soul legends including Dennis Edwards of the Temptations and Cissy Houston. You’ll note that no black artists are being inducted in New York this year, however. Shameful.
UPDATE: Don Kirshner is getting a special award. He waited 25 years to be recognized by the RRHOF. The Songwriters Hall of Fame inducted him a couple of years ago. And he died last year. I guess better late than never. Also, producer Tom Dowd, famous for all those recordings on Atlantic. He could have been honored when he was alive. Same deal. Maybe the RRHOF could try and catch some of the people they’ve missed while they’re alive. But I’ll be positive: it’s nice to see some producers getting attention finally.