After years of being snubbed from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Stooges and the Hollies are finally being inducted into the hall this year. The Stooges have been eligible since 1994, while the Hollies have been eligible for 21 years.
This is perhaps a hallmark year for the hall for the variety of rock genre being represented in this year’s inductees, yet also shows that some of the criticism of the hall regarding the voting committees is fairly apt. In addition to the Stooges and the Hollies, the Class of 2010 includes the likes of Genesis, Abba, and reggae singer Jimmy Cliff. On one hand, it’s showing the ties rock and roll has to other genres and forms, whether they are influential to these genres (or vice versa). On the other, aside from the Stooges and the Hollies, the voting committee is desperate for relevance, and have been extremely arbitrary and partial in the process since the hall’s opening. Abba is about as far from rock and roll as it gets. Jimmy Cliff would be the first reggae star to make it into the hall since Bob Marley’s induction back in 1994, and he’s been eligible since 1992. Genesis is boring and deserve nothing, other than some kind of non-existant award for bands that have notable electronic drum-kit players who are not Rick Allen.
The Hollies, while being a good rock band, were not the kind of mind-expanding great. Of all the bands of the original British Invasion, they barely shared the same popularity that the Beatles and Rolling Stones enjoyed. Yet, for giving us the career start of Graham Nash and one of the coolest intro-fake outs of all time (“Long Cool Woman”), did they deserve a 21 year lock out? The Stooges suffered the same sort of high-influence, low-popularity limbo coming out of the Detroit rock scene that would also give the world the MC5, Alice Cooper, Bob Seger, and the ‘Nuge.
Comparatively, Metallica waited one year before they were inducted.
I will not debate the merits of influence and popularity, which should be considered more when it comes to potential inductees, nor if record sales should be considered. What I will say, however, is that when a band is inducted long before one of their early influences, it’s a disgrace upon the hall and its mysterious voting committee. If your organization, designed to celebrate an art form, its performers and influences, takes the time to award non-performers like DJs, producers, and promoters, then one would think that it’s priorities should be a little more focused to celebrate the real pioneers of the music, and not just the artists who are most popular — regardless of active duty, and if they still maintain that popularity.
On the other hand, KISS was snubbed. So the committee must have SOME kind of intelligence to its process.