July 20th, 2024

The time has come for the Rock Hall of Fame to honour metal

By Lethbridge Herald on March 19, 2022.


Al Beeber
Lethbridge Herald

The 2022 nominees for induction into the Rock & Roll of Fame have been announced and they are, drum roll please!….

Beck, Pat Benatar, Devo, Duran Duran, Eurythmics, Judas Priest, MC5, New York Dolls, Lionel Ritchie, Dolly Parton, Carly Simon, Fela Kuti, Rage Against the Machine, Dionne Warwick and A Tribe Called Quest.

It’s an interesting field with a few repeats. And heavy metal fans will surely be adamant the time has come at last for Judas Priest to be finally let in the door.

The absence from Hall induction for the Priest is an absolute travesty. The ground-breaking band should have been inducted long ago but they’ve been inexcusably overlooked by voters.

Will this finally be the year? Probably not because for some reason the Rock Hall is not all that interested it seems in actually honouring rock bands anymore.

Heavy metal is a genre that doesn’t seem to have a place in the Hall but this year three heavier outfits are getting their chance.

MC5, or Motor City 5, also belongs in the Hall. I didn’t realize until writing this that metal guitarist John Sykes is in charge of the foundation that runs the Hall and I hope he has some influence on voters. If anyone understands the relevance of metal, it should be Sykes.

Sykes, as metalheads know, was frontman for the sensational band Blue Murder and also has worked with Whitesnake and Thin Lizzy.

To be eligible for nomination, this year’s class had to have released their first commercial album by 1996. As usual, fans can vote for their favourite artists online with those votes being included with those submitted by music industry members. But don’t expect the fan vote to have any sway given how much it has differed from the votes that actually count.

The class of 2022 will be announced in May.

Given the Hall’s recent history, I’m guessing of the bands nominated only Rage Against the Machine, one of the most well-known from the grunge era, will join the Hall this year. And it’s a pity because they and so many others owe much to the legacy of MC5 which were punk before punk was even a thing. 

Fred ‘Sonic’ Smith, Wayne Kramer, Michael Davis, Dennis Thompson and singer Rob Tyner blazed a trail in the late 1960s and early ‘70s that so many other influential artists followed. 

If you’re not familiar with the band, search YouTube for a live performance of “Kick Out the Jams” and in one song, you’ll see and hear everything you need to know to understand the brilliance of MC5. 

Judas Priest, which put on a killer show at the Enmax Centre a couple of years ago, also have earned their place in Hall for their contributions to rock. Maybe more so than MC5. Of all the interviews I’ve done over the years, the chat I had with bassist Ian Hill before their show here will always be one of my favourites.

Not only did Judas Priest play a role in the evolution of metal, but it also impacted music fashion with singer Rob Halford’s penchant for wearing leather and studs now a common look for artists.

Given her influence on female musicians, Pat Benatar also deserves to be inducted. She’s been a rock warrior for decades, and like the Go Gos who got welcomed into the Hall last year, she belongs.

Benatar is just one of three female rock acts to be nominated this year. Strong arguments can also be made for Kate Bush and Carly Simon getting their recognition. The music gods would probably be smiling – along with millions of humans – if all three were honoured this year.

Country and crossover legend Dolly Parton was also nominated but earlier this week she tried to decline it, not that she has any say because she’s already on the ballot. While Dolly’s roots are in country, she’s had plenty of success as a crossover artist and as a truly gifted songwriter, a strong case could be made for her because rock is not just music, it’s also an attitude. And Dolly’s been entertaining us on the radio from ‘9 to 5’ and well into the night for decades.

Punkers Devo and new wavers Duran Duran also played key parts in their own music scenes and I’m hoping both will get the nod. 

To this day, their music seems as fresh and inspired as when it first hit the airwaves. I will bet neither gets in this year, though.

 Instead, I figure voters will give a nod to the duo of Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart, otherwise known as The Eurythmics. And they definitely deserve a standing ovation when they step onto the stage in Cleveland which will be ‘Sweet Dreams’ for their legions of fans.

And what about the New York Dolls? They would definitely get my vote, too. Their Pandora station is one of my favourites and after a tough week, there is nothing like playing the Dolls to relieve a  little stress. 

Punkers, glam rockers, revolutionaries, whatever you call them,  the Dolls defy description and can’t be pegged into one genre. They’re just simply amazing.

Voters really have a dilemma on their hands this year with such a strong group of nominees to choose from. Strong arguments could be made for all of them but like many others, I’m really hoping the Hall gives metal a chance to get in the Hall’s spotlight. 

It’s time for metal to be shown the respect it so rightly deserves.

Follow @albeebHerald on Twitter.

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