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Rolling Into the Rock Hall?

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Last March, in conjunction with the Rock Hall Induction ceremonies, Cleveland.com conducted a readers poll: Who should get into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? The results are here.

Cleveland.com Managing Producer Johanna Hoadley and I did a special episode of the Cool Tunes radio show to play music by some of the winners, which is archived here. Below is a run-down of some of the winners and why they deserve to be in the Rock Hall (when eligible):

Donovan
Scottish folky turned psychedelic rocker, Donovan had 12 Top 40 hits in the U.S., was a brilliant songwriter and charismatic singer. “Catch the Wind,” “Sunshine Superman,” “Mellow Yellow,” “There is a Mountain,” “Wear Your Love Like Heaven,” “Hurdy Gurdy Man,” “Atlantis”: how can you keep him out?

The Cure
Most important and enduring English modern rock band – began as minimalist punkish trio before defining and transcending goth, mutating into psychedelic jam band, before returning to bright alt-rock. Robert Smith is iconic singer/songwriter.

Roxy Music
The single most important band of the ’70s. Huge in Europe and Britain but never as big here. Bryan Ferry and Brian Eno presented duality of feverish romanticism and icy avant-art. Great songs, great albums, great musicianship, complete worldview. Must get in.

Depeche Mode
Most important, popular and enduring techno-pop band. Style evolved from bright dance pop of early-’80s Vince Clarke era, to darker sounds and images as Martin Gore took over. Started playing guitars in the ’90s. Seem to have survived drugs, fame, etc. and still going.

New Order
Enigmatic ’80s evolution out of brilliant bleakness of Joy Division, New Order developed odd hybrid of dense Yes-like guitar and lead-bass sound coupled with electronic dance discipline. Remixes ruled electronic modern-rock dancefloor in ’80s. Actually has made best complete albums in ’90s (Republic) and ’00s (Get Ready).

Madonna
Never a great musical talent, nevertheless the most important woman in music over last 20 years. Has redefined herself continually – usually around some form of dance music – from disco through new wave, house, hip hop, urban balladry, and electronica. Surrounded herself with best producers, but always at least co-written most of her songs, and ALWAYS has defined her own style. Ironically for a boundary-pusher, her greatest asset has always been taste.

Public Enemy
THE classic rap band, developed hard-edged, jagged, buzzing sound based upon rhythm, samples and urban outrage. Helped break rap to rock audience, made the most consistent rap albums.

Beastie Boys
Caught music world eye as obnoxious opening act for Madonna. More eclectic, and much more white rap act than Public Enemy, the Beasties have covered some of the same terrain, blending rap and metal, then finding a more organic, soulful sound, before returning to hard hip hop, raw R&B and even punkish roots. Have proved that “white hip hop” is not an oxymoron.

Tool
Johanna loves the band, and more so singer Maynard, who also fronts Perfect Circle. Dark, hard textures meeting somewhere between prog-rock and Nine Inch Nails. Excellent musicianship and live show.

Red Hot Chili Peppers
Founders of funk-punk in early-’80s, developed rabid L.A. following based upon amazing energy of live show and tubesocks on weiners. Flea is the funkiest white bassist around, Anthony K. great singer-frontman. Became superstars in early-’90s before fading when Dave Navarro replaced John Frusciante on guitar and continued drug problems. Huge return to form in late-’90s, now an institution.

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