By Brian Ives
Now that the 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony is behind us (but you can watch an edited version of the show on HBO on April 29 at 8:00 pm ET), it’s time to look forward to next year; who will be in the Rock Hall’s class of 2018?
There are only a few inductees each year, and there’s so many artists that deserve the honor, so we broke it down to different subgenres, and who we felt should be inducted from each. Starting with post-punk, which is the single most neglected subgenre, by the Hall, which has jumped from the CBGBs era to U2 and R.E.M. to the Lollapalooza era of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana, Green Day and Pearl Jam, and skipping many crucially important bands in between.
Likewise, the Hall of Fame is pretty weak on metal (as opposed to hard rock, which is well represented with AC/DC, KISS, Aerosmith and Van Halen). To hear the Rock Hall tell it, metal goes straight from Black Sabbath to Metallica. They’ve missed a lot.
So, consider this a public service to the Hall’s nominating committee and voting body: here’s who should get in next year.
The Post-Punk Band: The Cure – There are a lot of bands from this era that deserve to be in the Hall of Fame, including Depeche Mode, the Smiths and Joy Division, as well as American bands like the Pixies, the Replacements and Sonic Youth. But the Cure, who debuted in 1978 with their “Killing An Arab” single, has been around the longest, and are still a huge touring act (they sold out a three-night stand at New York’s Madison Square Garden last summer). And they continue to influence new bands. Classic Material: 1980’s Boys Don’t Cry, 1981’s Faith, 1982’s Pornography, 1985’s The Head on the Door, 1987’s Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me, 1989’s Disintegration, 1992’s Wish
The Alt-Rock Icon: Jane’s Addiction – We’ve discussed this before, but Jane’s should have been inducted before any of the bands that they paved the way for: Nirvana, Green Day and Pearl Jam. As Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello said at Jane’s Addiction’s Rock Walk dedication ceremony, “Nirvana often gets credit for being the first ‘alternative’ band to break through, the band that changed music and led rock out of the hair metal wilderness of the ‘80s. That’s just not true. It was Jane’s Addiction. Inspiring, intelligent, furiously rocking and artistically deep as f—.” It was also Jane’s who spearheaded the first Lollapalooza tour, making the point that American fans enjoyed all kinds of music — hard rock, industrial and hip-hop, to name a few. Soon, touring festivals would be all the rage, which led to all of the “destination festivals” that dominate the summer schedules of rock, hip-hop, pop and EDM acts. Classic Material: 1987’s Jane’s Addiction, 1988’s Nothing’s Shocking, 1990’s Ritual de lo Habitual
The Hip-Hop Legend: Ice-T – A lot has been made about the fact that LL Cool J — hip-hop’s first solo superstar — has yet to be inducted, and we agree that LL should be a Hall of Famer at some point. But LL didn’t have the connection to rock music that Ice-T did. “Rhyme Pays,” the opening track off Ice’s 1987 debut features Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs,” while “Shut Up, Be Happy,” the opening track of 1989’s The Iceberg/Freedom of Speech… Just Watch What You Say!, featured vocals by punk icon Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys and a sample of Black Sabbath’s “Black Sabbath.” He used “Black Sabbath” again, along with Led Zeppelin’s “When the Levee Breaks” on “Midnight” from 1991’s O.G. Original Gangster. Sure, lots of hip-hop artists sampled rock songs, but Ice was actually a fan of the music he was sampling. Ice was the the sole hip-hop act on the first Lollapalooza tour, which is where he debuted his metal band, Body Count (who just released their latest album, Bloodlust). Classic Material: 1987’s Rhyme Pays, 1988’s Power, 1989’s The Iceberg/Freedom of Speech… Just Watch What You Say!, 1991’s O.G. Original Gangster
The Radio Favorites: The Cars – It’s truly mystifying that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame hasn’t inducted the Cars already: they have tons of hits, they were loved by radio and MTV and critics, and as popular as they got, they were always edgy enough to be cooler than most of their peers. Classic Material: 1978’s The Cars, 1979’s Candy-O, 1980’s Panorama, 1981’s Shake It Up, 1984’s Heartbeat City
The Singer-Songwriter: Carole King – She’s already in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, actually: she was inducted in the “Non-Performer” category in 1990 as half of the Gerry Goffin/Carole King songwriting team, and that was appropriate, as they are one of the greatest songwriting teams that popular music has ever known. However, that honor doesn’t cover the fact she’s also one of the greatest singer-songwriters ever, not to mention one of the best-selling ones: her 1971 album, Tapestry, has been certified diamond for selling over 10 million copies in the U.S. alone. Classic Material: 1971’s Tapestry; the list can start and end there.
The First Time Nominee: Rage Against the Machine – The Rock Hall usually likes to induct a first-time eligible artist, and next year, both Rage and Radiohead hit their big 25 year anniversaries. But in this politically charged era, Rage seems timelier than ever, and a good reminder to younger artists that having a political stance doesn’t keep you from the top of the charts or from the stages of arenas. (But we do think Radiohead deserves to be voted in at some point, too.) Classic Material: 1992’a Rage Against the Machine, 1996’s Evil Empire, 1999’s The Battle of Los Angeles
The Metal God: Randy Rhoads – As mentioned above, there are lots of metal bands who need to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, and soon. Among those, and at a bare minimum, this shortlist would include Motorhead, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden (and maybe Slayer). But first, we’d love to see one of the genre’s most influential guitarists get his due. He’s not eligible as an artist, as he never released anything under his own name, but he should certainly get the Award for Musical Excellence, which has recently gone to Nile Rodgers, Ringo Starr, and the E Street Band. Randy Rhoads tragically died in a plane crash in 1982 at the way-too-young age of 25, but in his short lifetime changed the game for metal guitarists, adding a fleet-fingered classical style to the lexicon. After a few years in Quiet Riot (before their success), he joined a newly-solo Ozzy Osbourne, and the two albums that they made together are among the greatest in metal history (and gave one of its icons a great second act, after leaving Black Sabbath). Classic Material: Ozzy Osbourne’s 1980 Blizzard of Ozz and Ozzy Osbourne’s 1981 Diary of a Madman