Depeche Mode. The Doobie Brothers. Whitney Houston. Nine Inch Nails. The Notorious B.I.G. T-Rex. The list ends there, but it shouldn’t.
Every year, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame finds new and exciting ways to confuse and alienate music fans like me. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to who gets in from year to year, and this year is no exception. On the surface, I like this year’s class just fine: diversity all around, even with regards to eras and styles of music represented. It’s when I look at who didn’t make the cut that things start to fall apart.
The fact that Pat Benatar, after two decades of not even being nominated, wasn’t a first-ballot choice is shameful. She’s the biggest female rock voice of the 80s and–get this–SHE’S STILL ALIVE. I love the Whitney Houston induction; the suits in charge to fix the fact that only 8% of the Hall is female. But Whitney isn’t with us anymore. Maybe they could’ve held off a year or two and given Pat her due.
And that’s the bigger issue: dead inductees. Does Biggie belong? Sure. But maybe prioritize the acts that are still with us (or at least partially with us). Judas Priest, the MC5, Soundgarden, and Thin Lizzy are all on the outside looking in. And I’d argue that they all belong.
So kudos to Nine Inch Nails and Depeche Mode, two personal favorites of mine. I’d like to say I’m more excited for them, but I still feel confused, which is always the problem with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They’re Lucy and I’m Charlie Brown: I wanna kick that ball through the rock & roll uprights, and they always pull it away at the last moment.