Rock and Roll Hall of Fame debacle


By Alun Thomas




The debacle that is the rock and roll hall of fame (no capital letters necessary) is a subject IÕve intended to touch on for years but never have due to an overall lack of interest in this farcical club. My awareness has been heightened since the announcement that Black Sabbath are to be inducted during this yearÕs ceremony, after years of being left out and disregarded by members of this supposedly elite group.

So while artists as pathetic as The Police and The Pretenders have been inducted, others more qualified and influential go ignored — mainly hard rock and metal acts no doubt deemed inferior musically and culturally by the aging, stodgy members of the hall of fame.

Therefore SabbathÕs entry could be seen as a landmark, despite Ozzy Osboune asking not to be included, but what of the other equally influential bands of the same era? The Purples, Heeps, Kiss, Van Halen, UFO etc. Do they hold no credence? Is the hall of fame so warped they still see these bands as musically deficient? With The Sex Pistols and Blondie also making their way into the hall this year, the validity of this establishment is open to more scrutiny than ever. Simply put, itÕs a joke.

In their day, Sabbath were no doubt viewed as crass and indecent by the more snobbish members of the rock world. How is it these attitudes still exist nearly 40 years later? Take a band like Deep Purple. Thirty-eight years since they first appeared, they are still recording and touring, although the face of the band has changed numerous times. They remain one of the greatest pioneering hard rock bands of all time. Do the individuals voting in this not recognize Ritchie Blackmore as one the greatest guitar players in history, likewise Ian Gillan vocally? Is it because they were labeled heavy metal? Does ŅIn RockÓ still sound too heavy 36 years later? If anyone wants to argue that hall members Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers have added more significance to music than Deep Purple, then that person is a sick, pathetic human being.

The hall constantly seeks members that were hip and edgy once and the criticsÕ darlings. U2 were voted in on their first try. Meanwhile Kiss, one of the most successful bands of all time go ignored. IÕve read before that the supposed simplicity of their music and the whole image is their drawback. IsnÕt it called the rock and roll hall of fame? Kiss redefine rock and roll. Do Blondie? While not the worst band, Blondie stand up poorly in 2006, with the new wave image and dated keyboard sound. The Sex Pistols, on the other hand, qualify simply because of the cultural impact they made during the punk revolution of the late seventies. It doesnÕt matter they recorded one proper studio album, their social significance automatically enters them. Thankfully and predictably the Pistols slammed the hall in a press statement, rightfully attacking the vulgar event as a sham and simply a vehicle for industry high rollers.

Will Metallica ever be nominated? Their 25 year period goes into effect this year. How about Slayer? Of course not! Heavy Metal bands are talentless and not relevant. Same old story. I hope Sabbath donÕt show up, but seeing the media joke Ozzy is he will probably be there beaming and have an acceptance speech from Bono. Will the other 30 ex-members of Sabbath be invited? Will Dave ŌThe BeastÕ Spitz stand alongside Geezer Butler? How about Tony Martin who sang on five Sabbath albums? Of course they wont. Still that hasnÕt stopped the Hall allowing truly wretched bastards like Jackson Browne, Elvis Costello, Talking Heads, Velvet Underground, The OÕJays and The Lovin Spooful to take undue credit and join the hall.

The only way to approach this event yearly is by ignoring it is what IÕve done. When you see how desperate they are by the standard of members voted in every passing year they might as well shut it down. Of course there are so many unrecognized bands that could spice this fraud of a society up that it could almost be made a true indication of rockÕs history.

But Motorhead shouldnÕt get their hopes up. Or Saxon. Does it matter though? TheyÕre still around. Last time I looked Blondie and The Sex Pistols werenÕt. Why? They never had it from the start. All Blondie were was Blondie herself. 2006 inductees Lynyrd Skynyrd really do deserve the honor. Give me Michael Bolton in the limelight anyday however. End the madness now.