The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced their inductees for the 2008 ceremony a few days ago. Leading the list are Madonna and John Mellencamp. Is that really the best they can do?
Jethro Tull, Chicago, Rush, The Moody Blues and Kiss to name a few all passed the 25 year eligibility requirement years ago. Yet all of these acts have never even been on the ballot. Every one of them, had a huge hand in shaping some piece of the rock landscape over the last (roughly) 40 years.
Jethro Tull and Chicago were incredible musical innovators bringing horns or flutes to rock music while creating complex canvases with their albums. The Moody Blues also created intricate soundscapes and employed orchestras when they needed to for their vision. Rush are perhaps the best 3 musicians in any one band. No one has done more to push the envelope in progressive rock than they have, all the while making the music approachable as well. They have been doing it well for over 35 years. Kiss spearheaded an entire style of music. They revolutionized the way music is marketed and sold. You can hate that idea or you can like it. But what you can't do is ignore them and simultaneously embrace Madonna. Anything negative that can be thrown at Kiss from the perspective of image or marketing applies to Madonna as well. Hell it was Kiss in the 70's who constantly reinvented themselves musically and eventually image wise. It's not only plausible but likely that she took the idea to reinvent herself for every album and tour directly from Kiss.
All of the acts I mention have also been commercially viable for long periods of time if not their entire careers. Rush for example, has been playing arenas for 30 years. Commercial success isn't everything by any means. But when it's coupled with the impact these acts have had on rock 'n' roll it's apparent that they should have been elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of fame years ago. These 5 artists are by no means an exhaustive list. There are many great artists the Rock Hall has ignored. In my opinion these are the most shocking and egregious omissions.
Most Hall of Fame's mean something. But if the Rock Hall keeps inducting the likes of Madonna while ignoring so many true innovative rockers they will continue to be a sham. I don't even think Madonna is in the category of rock. But if they want to elect her so be it. But by all means make sure the eligible, great acts are in first.