Another Fair and Balanced(TM) Review, brought to you by no sponsors.
So, the results are in… and here is your Class of 2019 Rock N’ Roll HOF list (provided in the alphabetical list in which the committee announced it):
- Def Leppard
- Janet Jackson
- John Prine
- LL Cool J
- Rage Against the Machine
- Roxy Music
- Stevie Nicks
- The Cure
- Todd Rundgren
- Rufus & Chaka Khan
- The Zombies
Well…there you have it. Before we get to my ever-important commentary, a quick review of the rules behind the voting. First, a band must be 25 years removed from the release of their first major label debut. Second, they must be rock and roll. Spoiler alert: I made up the second one (I see you, Janet). That’s pretty much it, folks. Those of you who are good at math will recognize that 1993 is the first year that one could have released a record and be eligible to be on this list, and that the closest to that year your first album was, the closer you were to instant recognition…
*****EVER-IMPORTANT COMMENTARY ALERT******
In that analysis, while being elected at any point is a privilege, here is double dap to the following groups who made it in their first or second years on the ballot: Radiohead and Rage Against the Machine. Folks, I am going to be honest witchu: those are two very, very, very special bands in my heart, and this post is basically dedicated to them.
First of all, let us start with five blokes from Britain who constitute the Greatest Band in the WorldTM, aka Radiohead. Holy cow, this is proof that while the RNR HOF can seem ridiculous at times, they can still get it right. Unanimous first-time on the ballot electees Radiohead were certainly deserving, but I wasn’t sure they would get in 25 years after Pablo Honey. If I’m being honest, and why wouldn’t I be, this is their weakest record to date – but it does feature the classic “Creep” and the underrated “Stop Whispering”. Everything they have accomplished in their subsequent eight studio albums has proven them to be beyond worthy of induction. Congrats to you Thom, Colin, Ed, Johnny, and Phil. (Please come to Boise sometime… I’m tired of going to Seattle to see you. Puh-leeeeze!)
Oh, playing a very, very strong second fiddle is only my favorite band from high school and college… Rage Against the Machine! These dudes had a killer combo of a genuine “damn the man” ethos and musicians that could make you move. As soon as you hear Timmy Commerford’s bassline mixed with Brad Wilk’s drumming, you knew what was next: some whammied-out agro yet smooth as silk guitar work from the one and only Tom Morello, all overlaid by some sick lefty rhymes from the master himself, Zack De la Rocha. To say that these gents were the voices of my high school and undergrad days would be selling them short: the Earth lived and breathed for me by their first three records, and to this day if one of their songs comes on, everybody stop what you are doing because I am transfixed for 3-5 minutes.
Here’s to a reunion appearance at the induction ceremony: please, guys – please! (For those unaware: Rage Against the Machine broke up in 2000 after their fourth album and the band (Tim Brad, and Tom) recruited Chris Cornell and formed Audioslave, while Zack did some – very little – solo work and also made a mighty fine record with members of the Mars Volta under the moniker One Day As A Lion).
Now, to the rest of the class, as inferior to these two as they may inherently be… this will be reminiscent of a Michael Scott roast. (“Boom. Roasted.”)
Everyone knows the tired old joke: What has 9 arms and sucks? Def Leppard. The cold hard truth is that these cats were among the best of the late 80s hair metal (BS) scene and did have several hits, all the while behind a one-armed drummer. God bless them getting in. Many of my old friends love this band, and I love them, so by the transitive property of questionable music, I love Def Leppard! FYI, I still don’t love DL at all.
Being born in 1983, I was a bit late to the Devo scene, but they always seemed to me to be too smart for MTV, and also perhaps too smart for themselves. So, it makes me happy that they whipped it good enough to get on the list for induction. Poor man’s Talking Heads? Not sure they deserve that, but that is the best I can do for them.
I know that this is going to sound ignorant, but all I really remember about Janet Jackson is what her right boob looks like. Having said that, it was a pretty solid teet so I’m sure she belongs here along the likes of Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, and Neil Young. Sure, why the Hell not? Yes, that was a sarcasm test… did you pass?
John Prine is the longevity award of this class, and sure, fine. I’ll allow it. Flash a tit and you would have been in here years ago, bro…
Ah, Kraftwek. Sure.
Ladies Love Cool James, according to everyone’s favorite rapper from the late 80s/early 90s. Yes, LL Cool J might be an actor(?) or whatever he is now, but, believe it or not kids, for awhile he was an MC of sorts. Welcome to the club, James. Go have a seat next to Bob Dylan and Robert Plant (ugh).
MC5 were pioneers of the punk rock movement, and belong here. Even if “Kick out the Jams” was their only song (and it wasn’t), that may well be enough (I mean, look at the folks above who made it in). They waited their turn, now they are in. Congrats, fellas.
Roxy Music – meh, sure, I guess. Ok, fine. Moving on…
Stevie Nicks may be hated on more than almost anyone, and I have had enough. She has (sort of) led one of the planet’s most beloved bands for decades, and for this she should be honored. “Little Lies” is my #1 go-to guilty pleasure, and I am pretty sure that she is singing on that track. To the HOF you go. Do not pass go, do not collect $200, just go. Now.
Robert Smith and his band (aka The Cure) shocked me by being on this list. How are they not already in the Hall? You’re telling me that Janet Jackson and The Cure were both eligible and they sneak in together?!?!??!?? Double ugh… Known music critic and South Park hero Kyle Broflowski once said “Disintegration is the greatest album of all time!” – enough said. It may only be Sunday, but I am in love with them being inducted. Not Friday, get it? OK… moving on…
I thought Todd Rundgren played tackle for the Jets in the 80s – I was mistaken. Moving on…
Rufus & Chaka Khan – well, when I Googled her just now, I see she once shared a stage with Prince. So, basis that information, I am not going to talk smack. I am also not going to go out of my way to listen to whatever that was. Enjoy being next to John Lennon and Elvis!
The Zombies were before my time, and also before society became obsessed with the notion of the living dead – what a prescient band name. Also, a solid band: see “Time of the Season” and “She’s Not There” (one of my favorite tracks). You get to round out the class, but don’t feel bad – you’re only after Janet because of the Z in front of your name. Yep, still hating on Janet MF Jackson being on this list!