For better or worse, the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame has announced their newest members who will be inducted April 14, 2012. And yet again there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth from fans of Rush, Kiss, The Moody Blues, Deep Purple, and a number of other artists who should have been honored long ago. But take heart, The Lovin’ Spoonful is still safely ensconced in the Hall Of Fame.
The Hall went for something new, something old, and some hoped for star power on stage at their induction ceremony. Guns N’ Roses, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Small Faces/The Faces, Donovan, The Beastie Boys, and Laura Nyro will all be honored at the Cleveland ceremony. While I could probably make a better argument for some of the bands excluded, the new additions are okay, but I’m not really excited. Still, it will be an eclectic group that will take the stage together. I regret that Laura Nyro passed away in 1997, as she is the inductee I am most emotionally tied too.
Guns N’ Roses and The Beastie Boys are bands of my daughter’s generation, (what can I say I’m old). I do know that one of the Beastie Boys appeared on Top Chef: Just Desserts recently, so times do change. I have listened to the Red Hot Chili Peppers down through the years but not as much as Deep Purple, The Moody Blues, and the like. I preferred Donovan’s early gentle folk material but recognize that his psychedelic/folk creations of “Mellow Yellow” and “Sunshine Superman” were creative and unique. Likewise, the psychedelic rock of the Small Faces “Itchycoo Park” and “Tin Soldier” stood above the norm. Tying the band to Faces was probably a wise choice, but I found that incarnation of the band a little less interesting.
I’m actually more enthused about the three inductees in the Award For Musical Excellence category, which has replaced the Sidemen category. Cosimo Matassa, legendary New Orleans studio owner and recording engineer, who worked with such artists as Little Richard, Fats Domino, Ray Charles, and more, plus Glyn Johns who has worked with such artists as Bob Dylan, The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Band, Fairport Convention, and a virtual roster of Hall of Fame artists were long overdue.
The best addition, also in the Musical Excellence category, was Tom Dowd. He is best remembered as a producer for Eric Clapton/Derek and The Dominos and The Allman Brothers, but it was as an engineer that he made his early mark. While he engineered dozens and dozens of hit records, it was his invention of the multi-track recording method that directly influenced the future of recorded sound. Dowd also missed being honored in his time as he died in 2005.
Rock concert impresario Don Kirshner will be honored in the non performing category, and Freddie King will enter as an Early Influence. King died in 1976 at the age of 42, but his “Have You Ever Loved A Woman” is an essential listening experience.
My overall feeling is that any of the performing inductees could have waited another year or two without a problem. This latest announcement, unfortunately, turns my attention, (again), to who is not listed. Again, an acceptable, if not overwhelming group of inductees.