Kiss in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? We’ll second that emotion. And while we’re at it, we can make a case for at least a dozen other eligible acts (alphabetically) that are eminently worthy of a place in the pantheon:
OK, so they didn’t technically rawk. The Rock Hall is really a shrine to popular music, however, and when it comes to pop, this Swedish foursome set the gold standard. Ear candy doesn’t get any exquisitely sweeter than “Dancing Queen” or the rest of ABBA’s world-conquering hit parade.
To this day, the new-wave songs of the Cars — Boston-based, but members Ric Ocasek and the late Ben Orr had Cleveland ties — still get great mileage, cruising along ad infinitum with aerodynamic hooks and quirky lyrics about lust and lonliness. They’ve inspired a lot of newer-model bands, too, from Weezer to Fountains of Wayne.
He staged his own executions. He pioneered the use of a boa constrictor as a fashion accessory. He also displayed remarkable versatility, proving adept at subversive teenage anthems as well as tender ballads. What more does this shock rocker (aka Detroit native Vincent Furnier) have to do to earn the Rock Hall’s respect? Then again, the grandfather of shock rock, Cleveland’s own Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, hasn’t been inducted either.
While on the subject of noteworthy dudes who wear makeup, let’s not overlook Cure frontman Robert Smith, a man who seemingly smears his lipstick on in the dark. His British band is famous for its trend-setting mope rock, although “Friday I’m in Love” is as upbeat a ditty as you’ll ever hear. For proof of the seminal group’s ongoing influence, listen no further than the first Killers CD.
Chrissie Hynde made the grade. Now how about another indisputably cool Akron act with international appeal? Devo’s subversive electro rock — culminating with the smash “Whip It” — was matched by groundbreaking experiments in the video medium. No band ever looked better in flowerpot hats, either.
We have no qualms about endorsing “the Jewish Elvis,” especially after two-time Rock Hall honoree Paul Simon recently told us he thinks Diamond is conspicuous by his absence in the hall. True, this New York City singer-songwriter is no stranger to easy-listening schmaltz. Nonetheless, his early hits rocked (check out “Cherry, Cherry”), and his tunes have found favor with everyone from the Monkees to Urge Overkill.
The Electric Light Orchestra
Mr. Blue Sky, please tell us why this British band hasn’t received its due. In the annals of post-Beatles rock ‘n’ roll, you won’t find many other artists who can match the strangely magical, meticulously catchy pop concoctions ELO created on a grand scale. Plus, bandleader Jeff Lynne has collaborated with numerous Hall of Famers, ranging from the Beatles to Tom Petty.
The Rock Hall has yet to roll out the red carpet for any prog-rock artists. To right this wrong, start by putting in Genesis. The British group’s epic songs and thematic early albums helped define the oft-maligned yet historically valid genre, at least before the band streamlined its sound and Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins became solo superstars.
Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five
For credibility’s sake, the Rock Hall no longer can afford to ignore hip-hop artists, including these old-school pioneers from New York City, best known for their socially conscious hit “The Message.” Props also are overdue for trailblazing DJs such as Kool Herc and Afrika Bambaataa.
Achtung, baby! Kraftwerk isn’t a household name, although the German group cast a long shadow. These purveyors of precision-engineered electronic music rubbed off not only on scores of synth-pop and techno artists, but on the DJs who lifted early hip-hop break beats from the Kraftwerk classic “Trans-Europe Express.”
In excess of 56 million hard- rocking albums sold. More than a dozen Top 40 singles, including the chart-topping “Jump.” And in Eddie Van Halen, one of the greatest guitarists of his generation. What’s not to induct?
His tunes have been covered by the likes of Bruce Springsteen and the Eagles. If the work of this offbeat singer-songwriter from Pomona, Calif., is good enough for those Hall of Fame-caliber talents, surely Waits himself is worthy. Who cares if he doesn’t have a conventionally pretty voice? Lou Reed got in, right?
Potential nominees for this year’s ballot
Artists become eligible for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction 25 years after the release of their first recording. This means the next ballot (which goes to voters this year) could feature acts that made their debuts in 1981, including the following potential nominees:
R.E.M. Stevie Nicks (solo) Motley Crue Eurythmics Duran Duran Depeche Mode Phil Collins (solo)