The nominees for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction 2014 serve up a rare progressive rock band, a controversial folk legend, hip-hop gangsters, a bunch of rock 'n' misfits from Minneapolis and Seattle, and another chance for a pair of classic '70s bands.
The Paul Butterfield Blues Band
Hall and Oates
LL Cool J
Deep Purple: I've talked to a lot of musicians about this. Bottom line: If you wrote "Smoke on the Water," you belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Yes: The keepers of the Hall have been stingy with progressive rock bands, having allowed only Pink Floyd (1996) and Genesis (2010). Each of the prog-rock bands brought something a little different and were constantly innovating, for better or worse. Yes on Yes.
KISS: The New York City band took Alice Cooper and multiplied it by four to create a fiery spectacle unlike any we'd ever seen. Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons and the company then showed their longevity over four decades.
N.W.A.: The Rock Hall opened the door to hip-hop in 2007 with Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, and has since ushered in Run-DMC and Public Enemy. Time to go West Coast gangster with N.W.A., which not only recognizes the group but its heavyweight leaders Ice Cube and Dr. Dre.
The Replacements: Although The Replacements weren't half as popular as Nirvana, these brats from the Twin Cities came along (with R.E.M.) to help save guitar-rock from extinction in the early '80s. Nirvana did something similar a decade later. The Placemats should go first. It's worth noting that Black Flag and Sonic Youth were both snubbed once again in this realm.
Thoughts on some of the others:
Link Wray: The innovative guitar hero has a place in the hall as an early influence.
Peter Gabriel: Already in with Genesis, so, despite a stellar solo career, he can wait for solo entry.
Cat Stevens: Sublime folk-rocker in a crowded field of them. His conversion to Islam and controversial remarks about Salman Rushdie will make him a tough sell.
Linda Ronstadt: The mid-'70s hitmaker is borderline Hall of Fame material but a sentimental choice given her recent revelation that she is suffering from Parkinson's Disease. She's as good as in.
Hall and Oates: A couple great albums early on, and then a lot of bad '80s music. Worth another look at a later date.
The Meters: Vital part of New Orleans scene and also worth a later look.
Here is the fine print:
The inductees are chosen by a secret ballot of more than 600 individual voters consisting of all past inductees of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, musicians, historians, critics and members of the music industry.
The 29th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be held in April 2014 in New York City. Venue and public ticket sale information will be announced at a later date. The Induction Ceremony will be presented on HBO in May.
To be eligible for nomination, an individual artist or band must have released its first single or album at least 25 years prior to the year of nomination. The 2014 nominees had to release their first recording no later than 1988.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will again offer fans the opportunity to officially participate in the induction selection process. Beginning Oct. 16 and continuing through Dec. 10 at 5:00 p.m. (ET), the public can visit www.rockhall.com/vote, www.rollingstone.com and www.usatoday.com to cast votes for who they believe to be most deserving of induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The top five artists, as selected by the public, will constitute a "fans' ballot" that will be tallied along with the other ballots to choose the 2014 inductees.
All inductees are ultimately represented in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, the nonprofit organization that tells the story of rock and roll's global impact via special exhibits, educational programs and its library and archives.