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Rock Hall Nominees

Trent mentioned that Prince was nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame after becoming eligible for the first time. I would say there is virtually zero doubt that Prince will get in on the first ballot, fulfilling as he does every possible criteria for inclusion: artistic and commercial success, longevity, distinctiveness, innovation – what else is there?

The other nominees are:

    He’s back on the ballot for his solo achievements, including topping the charts with “My Sweet Lord” and spearheading a 1971 benefit concert for famine-stricken Bangladesh.

    Harrison died in 2001 after a long battle with cancer.

    Mellencamp is no stranger to Top 40 success, to the tune of “Jack & Diane,” “Pink Houses,” “R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.” and other singles. The heartland rocker from Seymour, Ind., co-headlined last Sunday’s Farm Aid concert in Columbus with Willie Nelson, Neil Young and Dave Matthews.

    Minneapolis native Prince (real name: Prince Rogers Nelson) released his debut album, “For You,” in 1978. Embracing rock, pop and funk, the prolific superstar has a long list of hits to his name, including “When Doves Cry,” “Let’s Go Crazy” and “Kiss.”

    Fronted by singer-keyboardist Steve Winwood, the British classic-rock band Traffic issued six studio albums between 1967 and 1974, including “John Barleycorn Must Die” and “The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys.”

    Singer-guitarist Billy Gibbons, bassist Dusty Hill and drummer Frank Beard of the Texas trio ZZ Top have been a popular concert draw since the mid- ’70s, thanks to “Legs” and other enduring blues-rock favorites.

    This is the seventh nomination for Black Sabbath. In the past, lead singer Ozzy Osbourne has asked to have his British heavy-metal group removed from the ballot.

    Browne epitomizes the sensitive singer-songwriter. The Los Angeles scenester had a string of hits in the ’70s and ’80s, including “Running on Empty.” Doo-wop favorites the Dells and the “5” Royales had their heyday in the ’50s and ’60s. Chicago’s Dells cracked the Top 10 with “Oh, What a Night.” The misleadingly named “5” Royales – a sextet, actually, from North Carolina – topped the R&B charts with “Baby Don’t Do It.”

    Lynyrd Skynyrd, the hard-rocking pride of Jacksonville, Fla., is best known for the Southern-rock standard “Free Bird.” Band members Ronnie Van Zant (vocals) and Steve Gaines (guitar) were killed in a 1977 plane crash. Bassist Leon Wilkeson died of natural causes in 2001.

    Country-rock pioneer Parsons blazed a trail out of Los Angeles as a solo artist and as a member of the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers. He died of an overdose of morphine and tequila in 1973.

    Seger, a piano-pounding rocker from Detroit, made his mark in the ’70s and ’80s with more than a dozen Top 40 singles, including “Night Moves.”

    The Sex Pistols led the punk charge in England in the mid- ’70s. The group originally featured Johnny Rotten (vocals), Steve Jones (guitar), Glen Matlock (bass) and Paul Cook (drums). Matlock was replaced by Sid Vicious, who died of a heroin overdose in 1979.

    New York City’s Smith and Detroit’s Stooges, led by Iggy Pop, paved the way for punk in the late ’60s and early ’70s by taking a no-frills approach to rock ‘n’ roll. [Cleveland.com]

My vote:

George Harrison: Sure, why not? Great singer and guitarist, very good songwriter, former Beatle, dead guy. All Things Must Pass is classic

John Mellencamp: Sure, why not? Steady, rootsy rocking singer-songwriter, the Midwestern Springsteen minus the mythic quality, has explored many interesting variations on basic rock ‘n’ roll, longevity, integrity.

Bob Seger: Around 1980 Seger would have seemed a shoe-in, with his force-of-nature voice and equal ease with rockers and ballads. He went the way of overproduction and bombast later in his career, but a body of indispensible work (“Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man” “Get Out of Denver” “Hollywood Nights” “Night Moves” “Katmandu” “Mainstreet” “Rock and Roll Never Forgets” “Beautiful Loser” and yes, “Old Time Rock & Roll”) should assure his entrance.

Traffic: Yes – no question, pioneering jazz-folk-rock-pop jam band greats with Winwood on vocals and guitars – one of my favorite greatest hits collections of all time.

Black Sabbath: Yes, the most important, pioneering, influential real metal band of all time, absolutely no question they should be in and the fact they are still not shows an incredible blind spot on the part of the voters. It is an obscenity they haven’t been welcomed with open arms.

Patti Smith: Yes, a cornerstone of the NYC punk-art scene, made some great music and was life-changing live. For a time she represented all that was possible with rock ‘n’ roll.

The Stooges: Maybe – I wouldn’t have gone for the Stooges, but for Iggy himself, who WAS the essence of the Stooges, and went on to make periodically great solo music to this day – how can you not have the Godfather of Punk in the rock hall? Iggy has arguably had a better solo career than Lou Reed.

Jackson Browne: I have grown weary of Browne, but he wrote a lot of excellent songs in the ’70s, had a great band, and deserves it as much as James Taylor or Billy Joel among semi-rocking singer-songwriters.

ZZ Top: fun, fine and rootsy Texas blues-boogie-rock, really never had anything to say, but said it over and over again anyway – some great songs, but not yet.

Dells and 5 Royales: Both very fine but not strong enough.

Lynyrd Skynyrd: No way. I was a huge fan of the first two albums, parts of which I still like, but I now see them in general as trite and vastly overrated. Southern rock in general has not aged well.

Graham Parsons: no, not around long enough, didn’t accomplish enough. Very influential, but the material just isn’t there.

Sex Pistols: changed my mind on them – one album isn’t enough, and the fact that they have reformed to tour but not record anything new does not help.

About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014.Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: [email protected], Facebook.com/amhaunted, Pinterest America's Most Haunted.Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.

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