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Monkees top banana in race for Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

The Monkees received plenty of support for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
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The Monkees should be on the next train to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

(No. 47 in a series on artists who should be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, but are not)

By Phill Marder

Just about one year ago, this column/blog made its Goldmine debut.

Most of the articles have been dedicated to profiling artists who should be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, but are not. And in each column I have tried to give the reasons why I support those profiled.

As promised, you haven't read "Big Star should be in the Hall of Fame because I like them" or "The Small Faces should be in the Hall of Fame before The Monkees because I think so." Not unless you read the comments, that is.

The list of those profiled is extensive:
Jack Scott; Burt Bacharach & Hal David; Chubby Checker; Donovan; Bon Jovi; Donna Summer; America; The Guess Who; Jeff Lynne; Neil Sedaka; Chicago; Cher; Kiss; Hall & Oates; Mary Wells; The Miracles; The Marvelettes; Todd Rundgren, Heart; Jan & Dean; Linda Ronstadt; The Moody Blues; Rush; Jay & The Americans; Jimmy Buffett; The Cars; Bob Crewe; Paul Revere & The Raiders; Deep Purple; The Smiths; Connie Francis; Johnny Rivers; Jethro Tull; Def Leppard; Cliff Richard; Tommy James & The Shondells; The E-Street Band; The Crickets; The Comets; The Pet Shop Boys; Freddy Cannon; Gary US Bonds; Yes; Glen Campbell; Duran Duran; The Cure; The Monkees; Paul Anka; Bobby Vee; Foreigner; Lionel Richie & The Commodores; Brook Benton; Bobby Day; Gerry & The Pacemakers; Herman's Hermits; Manfred Mann; The Searchers; The Troggs; The Zombies.

Quite a list and, believe it or not, there's still a few I haven't gotten to yet. In my mind, they all should have been in the Hall of Fame already. But which ones do Goldmine readers agree with - at least so far? It's time to sum up as the HOF nominating committee should be busy making its choices for the next class, if it hasn't already.

So just who has garnered the most support over the year and who do Goldmine readers think should be on this year's list of nominees? Clicking the "thumbs up" symbol at the close of each article, I assume means you agree with the piece. Either that or you confused it with another finger.

So we'll take the 10 profiled who received the most "thumbs up" and presume these would be Goldmine readers' choices.

But first, under my favorite rule - "it's my blog & I'll do what I want to" - we can induct Bob Crewe and the team of Hal David & Burt Bacharach as non-performers, since they were primarily writers and we can add Bon Jovi, Donovan and Donna Summer because they were nominated last year and didn't get in, though their credentials were much more substantial than almost all those who did. And don't start crying "Bon Jovi sucks" and "Donna Summer isn't Rock & Roll." A zillion fans have a different opinion of Bon Jovi and Donna Summer rocks a lot harder than many already in the Hall of Fame, disco beat or not.

The E-Street Band, with 544 recommendations, ranks second on the list of "thumbs up" from Goldmine readers, but should receive automatic induction to rectify the previous, unjustified slight which saw them passed over when Bruce went in. Likewise, The Miracles (with Smokey Robinson), The Comets (with Bill Haley) and The Crickets (with Buddy Holly).

Linda Ronstadt and The Moody Blues got their fair share of "thumbs up," but really connected with comments, most of which were positive. So they qualify for "Goldmine recommendations."

So there's seven new inductees (Bacharach & David counting as one) and four corrections. Then, toss in one shoo-in from the newly eligibles, Guns N' Roses, and that makes 12.

Now for our top 10. Yes, this would make a big induction class, but who cares? Twenty-two went in the second year, 16 the first. And what's fair is fair. The object is to get those who truly deserve to be inducted inducted.

For Goldmine readers, these 10 truly deserve, according to the number of "thumbs up" received:

(1) The Monkees (1149) - The pre-fab four easily outdistanced all competition, getting more than twice as many "thumbs up" as the runner-up E-Street far. If you don't like them, try to keep an open mind. They represent everything a Hall of Fame should be about...massive popularity, massive success, instant recognition.

(2) The E-Street Band (544) - Goldmine readers pretty much proved Bruce Springsteen's backup band was recording more than the required 25 years ago.

Loyal followers made Todd Rundgren No. 3 in this list of Rock Hall hopefuls

(3) Todd Rundgren (404) - Though Todd was one of the earliest selections and I certainly believe he belongs in the HOF, I must admit I was surprised at the strong support he received. No question, he's an obvious choice.

(4) Deep Purple (234) - The English veterans have piled up impressive stats over the years and their immense and faithful fan base pushed them near the top of the list.

(5) The Smiths (232) - Right behind Deep Purple - and this order could change at any minute - is Morrissey's cult favorites and critics' delight. But unlike most favorites of the critics, The Smiths demonstrated legitimate talent and, consequently, sold records.

(6) Duran Duran (201) - Speaking of selling records, few bands have sold more worldwide than the Fab Five. Proved long ago they're not just a bunch of pretty faces.

(7) The Cure (201) - Tied with Duran Duran because they're in the same article, The Cure's following no doubt contributed mightily to their strong showing on this list.

(8) Jethro Tull (176) - One doesn't think of Ian Anderson's various combinations as mainstream, but years after their peak they still command a lot of love, respect and admiration. And their accomplishments merit Hall of Fame recognition.

(9) Yes (157) - The story of Yes finished ninth in the "thumbs up" category but drew a large number of passionate comments - most positive. In fact, the Yes story was in the Top 5 most popular stories until just recently.

(10) Jimmy Buffett (152) - When I included Jimmy Buffett in the series, I wasn't sure what to expect. The response was heartening. Longevity and quality does count.

Just missing the top 10 - or "Bubbling Under" in musical jargon - was Heart which garnered 135 "thumbs up." I had the pleasure of seeing them this summer, and they remain an incredible band and should be inducted soon. Cliff Richard (94) and Jeff Lynne (79) also posted respectable numbers and should receive careful consideration.

Canadian supergroups The Guess Who & Rush have gained surprisingly little support

A friend who recently stopped by looked at the list of those profiled and his first response was, "The Guess Who's not in?" The Guess Who received support, but not what I expected, and Rush was a big disappointment, considering the fanaticism of their fan base. Maybe Goldmine doesn't reach Canada. But Kiss also limped in with a very low number, only about half of that received by The Cars.

Early selections, those whose careers peaked in the '50s or early '60s, are at a distinct disadvantage because there are fewer followers left alive and most are at the age where internet use isn't a priority. Of those, Connie Francis easily drew the strongest support and Jay & the Americans had their share of backing. Glen Campbell, Jan & Dean, Johnny Rivers and Jack Scott each hit double figures but were nowhere near the leaders.

Does your opinion mean anything? Maybe, maybe not. But I do know at least some members of the nominating committee have been reading "Great Blogs of Fire" the past year, which means they're also privy to your comments. While we've been critical of the Hall of Fame, I hope we've also been fair.

Some of you have given up on the Hall of Fame, but Rock & Roll is my music, thus the Hall of Fame is my Hall of Fame. So, in the words of the immortal Curtis Mayfield, I'm gonna keep on pushing.

Tadwashere left this comment on Facebook - "Just curious... What are you going to write about when you are done working through the list of people who aren't in the hall of fame?"

Well, there's still a few more HOF entries to go, and then a couple other topics I think Goldmine readers will enjoy. Stuff such as the "Goldmine's 20 Greatest Doo Wop Groups." It's not listed under "Great Blogs of Fire," but can still be found under "Articles" if you scroll down a few hundred times (not that many, really). That ranked in the Top 5 most popular list for quite some time.

I have had some requests...but I'm gonna keep writing, anyway (badaboom). If you'd like to add your requests or thoughts, feel free to submit your comments.