By Phill Marder
When the 2011 Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame inductions took place March 14, 2011, just one band — Alice Cooper — was inducted. Strange, as there are many bands worthy of the honor, but thus far denied. Trying to name just 10 is a daunting
assignment, but here is a list — in alphabetical order — of some of the bands most deserving of induction.
1. BON JOVI
Nominated but rejected in 2011, the New Jersey group continues a 27-year run as a true worldwide supergroup. A string of No. 1 albums in at least 10 countries, sold-out concerts around the globe, induction into the U.K. Hall of Fame, Bon Jovi has achieved popularity rarely equaled in rock history. However, as it seems with many popular bands, critics treat them with disdain as does a vocal minority. Whether their musical talent lives up to your expectations is irrelevant. Their success speaks for the band and the gazillion followers who believe they are the real deal — naysayers be damned.
2. THE CARS
Contemporaries Blondie and The Talking Heads already have been inducted, but The Cars, arguably the most successful and talented of the bands that broke through in the late ’70s and carried through to the ’80s, have thus far been ignored. Producers of great singles, albums, and award-winning videos, The Cars had the chops and delivered the goods with regularity. Perhaps a reported reunion will re-focus the spotlight on this most talented of bands.
It has been reported that this group is now the most successful U.S. band in Billboard chart history. Baseball’s Pete Rose, who has the most hits in history, is not in that Hall of Fame, either. With Rose, there are extenuating circumstances. With Chicago, well, maybe there are, too, for there are really two distinct Chicagos — early and later versions — despite the constant presence of keyboardist Robert Lamm and the horn section of Lee Loughnane, Walt Parazaider and James Pankow. The original group, with Peter Cetera on bass, Danny Seraphine on drums and Terry Kath (supposedly Jimi Hendrix’ favorite guitarist) was as creative and innovative a band as rock and roll has produced.
4. THE E-STREET BAND
Bruce Springsteen was inducted in 1999. Along with Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Springsteen is one of the greatest individual talents in the history of rock and roll. It’s likely he would have achieved that status with just his guitar and harmonica. But his band, “the mighty E-Street Band” as Bruce calls it, helped build the Springsteen legend with unequaled concert performances. Only the bands of James Brown could compare, but even they would come up short against this assemblage. The late Clarence Clemons and Danny Federici, Roy Bittan, Garry Tallent, , Nils Lofgren, Max Weinberg and Steven Van Zandt also were with “The Boss” in most of his studio sessions.
5. THE GUESS WHO
Burton Cummings, Randy Bachman, Garry Peterson and Jim Kale and later Kurt Winter and Greg Leskiw is one of the greatest bands to emerge from Canada. Musicianship without peer, songwriting genius, a great lead vocalist in Cummings and terrific harmony, The Guess Who was a chart fixture from 1969 to 1974, despite unconventional singles that dealt with a myriad of controversial topics. But, they were capable of expressing just plain romantic lyrics, too. For example: “Kill your kid sister and murder your dad, rip the lashes off of your eyes. Slaughter all your cattle and burn your crops if you’re dancing with another guy.” Maybe you have to be Canadian, eh, but their albums remain great listening.
The Wilson sisters, Ann and Nancy, are still touring and bringing down the house, Ann’s voice soaring above the band and all others around. I prefer the initial Heart to the ’80s version, but the induction of the Wilson sisters is the key, much as would be the induction of Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell of America.
Denied two years ago, these masters of makeup and marketing were left off the induction list this year in favor of the Alice Cooper Band. Now that Alice has gained induction, perhaps KISS will get its due recognition. No matter your opinion, KISS has been one of the most successful bands of the rock and roll era.
8. THE MOODY BLUES
It is hard to fathom a band this talented and successful unacknowledged by the Hall of Fame. With little support from hit singles, the Moodies have dominated the U.K and U.S. charts since 1968. With three carryovers from “Days of Future Passed” — John Lodge, Justin Hayward and Graeme Edge — The Moody Blues continue today to play before sellout crowds. Their past albums remain vessels carrying listeners to magical lands, rocking at times, mystical and beautiful almost always.
9. PAUL REVERE & THE RAIDERS
Just when did rock and roll have to be so serious? Not while this band is around, that’s for sure. The Raiders are not just a guilty pleasure. They were one helluva great rock band with a lead singer — Mark Lindsay — who was second to none. When Lindsay growled “You been steppin’ out with the cobbler” or “I’m not your steppin’ stone,” there was little doubt he meant business. Showmen superb, The Raiders wore Revolutionary War uniforms, performed synchronized dance routines and destroyed equipment (in fun, not anger) on stage. But through all the clowning came the music, a series of great hard-rock singles and albums. The material, almost all group written, since has been covered by The Sex Pistols, David Bowie, Joan Jett, Pat Benatar, The Flamin’ Groovies and Sammy Hagar as well as many others. Revere still has a hot band performing today if you want to see a terrific live show.
If this trio was not included, Goldmine’s offices might be stormed by angry throngs, as a recent Goldmine online poll about prog-rock music was swamped by Rush supporters. Geddy Lee, Neil Peart and Alex Lifeson have been churning out masterful recordings since 1974. Members of the Canadian Hall of Fame, as is The Guess Who, Rush dazzles audiences with its instrumental mastery. Vocalist Geddy Lee may be an acquired taste, but the same could be said of many current inductees, including Tom Waits, Dr. John and Leon Russell from this year alone.