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?
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.