Geddy Lee of Rush
For once, Rush fans have nothing to complain about. Geddy Lee and the boys got into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame off their first year on the ballot, joining an eclectic list of inductees announced today that also includes Public Enemy (another first-timer), Heart, Donna Summer, Randy Newman and Albert King. Label executive Lou Adler and famed producer/composer Quincy Jones are also headed to the Hall as non-performer honorees. The ceremony will take place at Los Angeles’ Nokia Theater on April 18 and is scheduled to be broadcast May 18 on HBO.
Rush fans had been lobbying for the inclusion on the ballot for years, and their lobbying may have helped convince HOF voters to vote them in. However, the Canadian trio’s inclusion will hardly do much to win over heavy-metal/hard-rock fans, who will be disappointed to learn that another first-time ballot-maker, Deep Purple, did not make this year, and Kiss was even left out of the vote this time after a decade of being dissed by voters. Come on: Rush before Kiss?! Still, considering the trio's longevity, arty leanings and famously virtuosic musicianship, it's actually kind of a cool one for the ceremony.
Among the other acts on the ballot this year that did not get voted in were the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Chic, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Kraftwerk, the Marvelletes, Procul Harum, N.W.A and the Meters. Per a previous post, those latter two pioneering acts deserved inclusion even though they’re not household names. However, the gatekeepers did show some deeper knowledge by voting in King this time. Go pick up some of the Memphis blues legend's electrifying Stax albums, and you’ll probably agree.
Summer had been on the ballot several times before, but her death this year added sentimental value to her induction. Heart was also on past ballots and should make for a nice display of women-in-rock solidarity come ceremony time. Imagine if Jett and Heart had gone in together, though. As for Public Enemy, last week's Hip-Hop Gods tour stop at First Avenue and the extracurricular activities around it served as solid reminders of their lasting importance.
Now, for the really shocking news: Among the acts eligible for the first time on next year’s ballot are Nirvana, Soundgarden and Phish. Those AARP cards are just around the corner, Gen-Xers.