Rock and Roll Hall of Fame continues to overlook deserving inductees
Published: Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 22:10
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is expected to announce its nominees for the 2014 induction sometime within the next week. The back catalogue of bands that remain overlooked by the Hall is vast and eclectic, with some having been eligible for over 20 years. Select artists including Linda Ronstadt, Deep Purple and Chic are anticipated to finally earn recognition this year. Here are several artists who displayed musical excellence worthy at least of a nomination.
The Hall of Fame has always been marginal to the genre of progressive rock, which did receive some political scrutiny during its heyday in the 1970s, but since has gained a sizable following and is considered an important subsection of classic rock. For many years the only prog artists in the hall of fame were the undeniably legendary Pink Floyd, and strangely enough, Traffic. But in recent years the relationship between the hall and the genre has begun to thaw, with the recent inductions of Genesis and Rush and the nomination of Procol Harum last year. However prog rock’s core bands including Yes, Emerson, Lake and Palmer and King Crimson have been ignored. Perhaps the biggest snub of this is kind is The Moody Blues, whose 1967 album “Days of Future Passed” one of the most groundbreaking albums in not only progressive rock, but psychedelic rock. Their ability to fuse rock and classical styles is unmatched in the classic and contemporary rock scene.
Gram Parsons is an artist who has been snubbed on two levels. He was not included when The Byrds were inducted in 1991. Despite only being a member for one album, he pushed them towards the country-influenced direction persistent in their last seven albums. He is considered an influential figure in both rock and country, and is one of the first to merge the contrasting styles in an era where hatred between their fans high. The Byrds’ landmark performance at the Grand Ole Opry was met with extensive hecklers and jeering. He also worked with notable groups, The Flying Burrito Brothers and The International Submarine Band. In 2005, he was placed at 87 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 Greatest Artist of All Time. He was nominated for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame three times, but not since 2005, and he is by no means a figure that should fall out of consideration.
While the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has recognized a number of folk rock artists, including Leonard Cohen, Donovan and Joni Mitchell. But they have greatly overlooked the British folk scene. Four interconnected artists worthy of induction are Fairport Convention, Richard Thompson, Sandy Denny and Nick Drake.
Fairport Convention (of which Thompson and Denny were members of in its peak years) is perhaps the most important band in all of folk rock. Their 1969 album “Liege and Lief” jumpstarted the electric folk and was the first album to adapt traditional folk songs to rock arrangements and modern production styles. Thompson has had a number of acclaimed albums as a solo artist and with his wife Linda Thompson, two of which, “I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight” and “Shoot Out The Lights,” were included in the Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Denny was one of the most angelic and arresting vocalists in all of music, whose voice could suit any lyrical character. Her work includes stints with Strawbs, Fotheringay and a notable duet with Robert Plant on “Battle of Evermore.”
Nick Drake only recorded three studio albums before his death at the age of 26 in 1974, but all three have received near perfect critical reviews. While they received little attention at the time, Drake has accumulated remarkable posthumous popularity. His songs have been featured multiple feature films and even a Volkswagon commercial. His acoustic guitar ability has been cited as influential by Peter Buck of R.E.M. and Robert Smith of The Cure, which gets its name from Drake’s song “Time Has Told Me.” His songwriting is best described as the enigmatic poetry of a tortured but deeply passionate individual. His backing band, which appeared on his first two albums and deserves significant credit for the elegant beauty of the baroque “Bryter Layter,” was none other than Fairport Convention.