By Tony Sauro
Record Staff Writer
Surprise, surprise. After the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s nominating committee gets reconfigured, four long-deserving acts finally are admitted.
Steve Miller and Deep Purple get in, 22 years after becoming eligible. It took 21 years for Chicago to make it. Cheap Trick waited “only” 13. N.W.A, gangsta-rap originators from Compton, are Hall of Fame members on their first try.
Dr. Dre (Andre Romelle Young), Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson) & Co. fit the hipness quotient traditionally required by Rolling Stone magazine publisher Jann Wenner and his fellow artistic snobs.
Too often, musicians who sell lots of records over long periods of time — with fan clubs, even — have been considered déclassé.
This time, real-people Internet input — equaling one final vote — reflected a non-New York reality:
Chicago, which helped bring big-band horns to rock in 1968, led with 37,666,987 votes (23.4 percent). Deep Purple, heavy-metal men from Hertford, England, received 25,540,432 (15.87 percent).
Miller, a Milwaukee native who started playing blues-rock in San Francisco and became a top-40 hit-maker in the 1970s, totaled 25,507,102 (15.8 percent). Cheap Trick, a pop-metal band from Rockford, Illinois, finished seventh with 2,336,606 (1.8 percent). N.W.A, not a rock group, got 673,866, 12th among 15 nominations.
They included, in order of popular vote, Yes (second behind Chicago); the Cars; Janet Jackson; the Spinners; Chaka Khan; Chic, not a rock group, it’s been nominated 10 times; the J.B.’s, James Brown’s band; Nine Inch Nails; the Smiths; and East L.A.’s Los Lobos. “Non-performer” additions haven’t been announced.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame concept lacks fundamental harmony with the music’s anti-establishment foundations. If there is one, though, the selection process should be transparent and equitable. After that one collective Internet vote, 600 music-biz and journalist types made the choices.
There are 312 acts (749 individuals, 21 of them multiple times) recognized at the Cleveland museum. Five new ones each year. Obviously, exclusivity is required. Often, when asked about their protracted exclusion, musicians dismiss the institution’s relevance. Then, they launch into intense expressions of dismay.
Listing the should-be’s is nearly pointless. However, four of this year’s additions never had been nominated. England’s Moody Blues (eligible for 25 years) and San Jose’s Doobie Brothers (22 years) are near the top now. “Inductions” are April 8 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.