Rock Hall of Fame selections again raise questions


Donovan brings Sunshine Superman and The Hurdy Gurdy Man into the Rock Hall of Fame

By Phill Marder


Thanks again Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Hey, I shouldn’t grumble too much. Three of my six choices…Guns N Roses, The Red Hot Chili Peppers and, thankfully, Donovan…did get in. And the best present of all was the induction of Laura Nyro. Not because I think she deserves it…I don’t. Simply because I won’t have to see her name on the ballot again.

The biggest disappointment is the rejection of Heart, but Donna Summer’s continued absence and the Cure and the Spinners being shot down also grates.

It should be noted that the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame website ran a poll for fans just like you and I to cast our vote for the five most worthy candidates. In that poll, Nyro ran dead last of 15 from wire-to-wire, while the Faces/Small Faces mutuel entry, which also made it this year, was in or near the bottom five.

You can see how much impact our opinion had.

In another most interesting development, Freddie King, who also almost bottomed out on that poll, was on the list of 15 candidates for induction and winds up getting inducted in the Early Influence category???

Wow. I’d love to see the ballot for the 1999 inductions. If you’re a faithful reader of this blog, you’ll remember I was taken to task for complaining that Charles Brown took up a 1999 slot that could have been given to someone who actually had something to do with Rock & Roll. Since 1999, Brown had been listed on the Hall of Fame website as being inducted as a performer. But a couple days after my article appeared, Brown’s category magically was changed to Early Influence.

Another listed on the ballot, but inducted as an Early Influence was Wanda Jackson. Jackson never had much impact early or late…take my word for it, I was there…and never even had a major hit record. Her first of a few minor hits didn’t come until 1960. Early Influence?

Evidently, King, whose success also came well into the Rock Era, didn’t get enough support to be inducted as a performer this year. So…he’s inducted as an Early Influence instead. Is that what happened with Brown, too?

Anyone? Anyone?

If that’s not transparent enough, King recorded for Atlantic Records, its subsidiary, Cotillion Records, then finally Leon Russell’s Shelter Records. Of course, Russell was inducted last year in the Sideman category. And Tom Dowd, the Atlantic engineer and producer who worked with King at times, also is inducted this year in the sideman category. (The Sideman category was changed to The Award For Musical Excellence, but the Hall of Fame website continues to list the induction category as “Sideman,” not only for last year’s inductees but this year’s – Dowd, Cosimo Matassa and Glyn Johns – as well. Don Kirshner also is listed as “Sideman,” though he’s receiving The Lifetime Achievement Award?). 

Finally, how about the ultimate slap in the face to the Monkees and their throngs of fans? The induction of the ever-popular Don Kirshner.

The Monkees can barely get into the Hall of Fame with a ticket. Kirshner was the “dictator” who controlled the group’s fortunes until he was bounced out unceremoniously. He responded by creating a new Monkees who couldn’t toss him out because, technically, they didn’t exist. They were, of course, the Archies.

Coal for the stockings of those involved. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone else. May Santa bring you all a pleasant surprise in the New Year.


2 thoughts on “Rock Hall of Fame selections again raise questions

  1. Thinking about and scratching my head over why the joke that is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame would induct Don Kirshner as a sideman, my first thought was the same as what you wrote: that it was and is the ultimate slap in the face to the Monkees and their fans. But, it’s a decision which could actually backfire in the smug faces of the hall members who don’t want the Monkees in the hall. Now, with Kirshner in, any of their arguments against the Monkees as being eligible for nomination and induction is seriously weakened as they can’t justify Kirshner’s inclusion as he was responsible for quite a lot of bubblegum music in his time.

    And of all the singers and songwriters he worked with or signed to his various music publishing companies, how many are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? You can’t point to Neil Diamond as a Kirshner protege as he wasn’t signed by Kirshner per se to any of his publishing companies. All Kirshner did as far as Neil Diamond was concern was lease the music publishing rights on the songs Diamond wrote that the Monkees recorded and assign them to Screen Gems. There were a few Neil Diamond compositions the Monkees recorded which did not get transferred from their original music publishing company to Screen Gems Music.

    And I think it was the same situation with Boyce and Hart and David Gates as songwriters: all were signed to Screen Gems either before Kirshner became head of Screen Gems Music or were signed to the music publishing company by other individuals. I can’t recall if Bobby Darin is in the hall (but he ought to be if he isn’t) but along with the Monkees and the nonexistent Archies, that was his biggest contribution to music as a nonperformer. And the inclusion of Kirshner into the rock hall as such leaves them with little or no wiggling room to deny the Monkees a nomination and possible induction.

    Bobby Darin was inducted in 1990.

  2. It seems like groundbreaking artists like Link Wray, Johnny & The Hurricanes, Paul Revere & The Raiders continually get passed over or ignored completely in favor of artists which have had little influence on music let alone rock & roll. The Searchers, Procul Harum & The Zombies should all be there as well.

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