This morning the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame announced its 2012 inductees, and topping the list is the snarling chroniclers of Sunset Strip decadence Guns N’ Roses. (Will they get back together for the induction dinner? Is Axl Rose only going to call up Izzy for the big night? How does Tracii Guns feel about this? So many questions!) Also making it in: the psych-folk troubadour Donovan; local Carvel aficionados the Beastie Boys; the late singer-songwriter Laura Nyro; the collected British bands the Small Faces and the Faces; blues guitarist Freddie King; and, sigh, the Red Hot Chili Peppers. There are some disappointing things about these choices—Eric B. and Rakim were also on the ballot, and while I certainly enjoy the Beastie Boys’ music I’d argue that as far as quote-unquote importance goes I’d give it to the duo over the trio. (Although the Beasties were on the ballot last year, as were the Chili Peppers and Nyro and Donovan.) Of course my saying this will probably incite a bunch of chattering about how It’s The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, Man, and to that I say that the term “rock and roll” is a red herring, one that effectively trips people up into thinking that only guitar-based bands (hey, remember, the Beastie Boys started out as a hardcore outfit!) are worthy of induction. Certainly the body of artists on the museum’s roster represents pop—yes, it’s a certain idea of pop, one with a stamp of Importance that’s defined by values rooted in privileging rock’s ethos over others, but it’s pop nonetheless. And yes I can sigh and complain about this because I voted! My ballot’s below.
Of the people I voted for, Heart, Rufus and Chaka, and Eric B. and Rakim were the first-time nominees who didn’t get in. (Donna Summer has been on the ballot before; the “disco sucks” sentiment is still holding over from the ’70s, apparently. It’s kept seven-time nominee Chic out, too, which, sigh.) Given that so many of this year’s inductees were return trippers to the ballot, maybe it’s a wait ’til next year sort of thing?
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 7, 2011