EditorialFor the love of music


For when you’re feeling social


Ben Birchard

October 06, 2017

While most of focus on Cleveland currently revolves around the ALDS series in this year’s edition of the MLB Playoffs, another institution from the Mistake on the Lake has reared it’s annual head again today. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has announced this year’s nominees.

Full disclosure – I’ve never been to the RRHOF, and while it is on the list, I can’t say I always agree with their conclusions. I know, no one is particularly comparing Bon Jovi to Sister Rosetta Sharp, but any list that has them both up for the same consideration immediately raises questions of credibility – at least in my books. Granted, not many people are reading my books.

That said – these kinds of things; “Best Of” Lists, Awards, and the general ranking of what are clearly subjective subjects do lead to some interesting conversations. The class of ’08 included Madonna and Leonard Cohen. There could not be two more opposite artists, and it says here that neither of them ever played Rock and Roll, but I suppose the argument is they embodied the ‘Spirit’ of Rock. Either way, the RRHOF seems to look at “Like a Prayer” and “Hallelujah” in some kind of similar light. There are too many debates to get into (paging Motorhead…) so let’s just stick to this years nominees. They are:

Bon Jovi
Kate Bush
The Cars
Depeche Mode
Dire Straits
The J. Geils Band
Judas Priest
LL Cool J
The Meters
The Moody Blues
Rage Against The Machine
Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan
Nina Simone
Sister Rosetta Tharpe
Link Wray
The Zombies

Bon Jovi is an immediate “no” for me. I risk the wrath of Bros everywhere who yearn for “Livin’ On A Prayer” as soon as they’ve had the beer they didn’t really need, but…I just can’t. Sorry, Jon…I just can’t.

LL Cool J the Hip-Hop artist would be a yes for me, however LL Cool J the actor has unfortunately disqualified him.

So – here’s who would make the cut if I were making the call:

1. Radiohead – If you need someone to justify why this band should be here, then I can’t help you.

2. Depeche Mode – Honestly not my cup of tea, but you can’t deny the impact or the longevity. How many other New Wave bands are still touring arenas? These guys are pioneers of Electronic Music and with over 100 Million albums sold, their influence has been huge.

3. Dire Straits – Front man Mark Knophler has been a guitar hero for years, and this performance of their hit “Sultans of Swing” alone qualifies them.

4. Sister Rosetta Tharpe – This legendary Gospel/Blues/ had mastered the guitar at age 6, and has been eligible for the RRHOF since 1963. What are we even talking about?

5. Link Wray – Rumble basically created the template for Classic Rock guitar. ‘Nuff said.

The Zombies get an honorable mention for me, as one of my faves, but I can’t quite elevate them to the same status as my Top 5. Everyone else will have to wait another year. Who would you vote for?