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The Rock and Roll Hall of Lame: 2020 Edition

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By Chris Manson

 

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2020 nominees were announced in November, and I’ve enjoyed watching the heavy and not-so-civil debate on Facebook. I’m lucky to have some of the great music journalists as friends.

 

Here are my thoughts on the nominees.

 

PAT BENATAR

Pro: Released some fine songs while I was attending high school— 1981‑1985, generally considered by me to be the Golden Age of Music.

Con: Has a tendency toward the half-assed. Was reportedly a trained opera singer.

 

DAVE MATTHEWS BAND

Pro: Made lots of money for their record label.

Con: I never “got” this band. Probably never will.

 

DEPECHE MODE

Pro: One of the seminal electronic pop bands. “People Are People” was a hit while I was attending high school.

Con: Nowhere near as good as New Order. Is New Order even in the Hall of Fame?!

 

THE DOOBIE BROTHERS

Pro: Minute by Minute is a flat-out great record. The band just announced a 50th anniversary tour with Michael McDonald, the man that truly elevated the Doobies.

Con: They’re not really brothers, not a single one of ‘em.

 

WHITNEY HOUSTON

Pro: Made lots of money for her record label.

Con: A great voice, but other than “How Will I Know,” “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You,” she fell way short on strong material. And she’s not really rock and roll, is she?

 

JUDAS PRIEST

Pro: Rockers for sure, and pretty heavy at that.

Con: Inspired Mark Wahlberg’s god-awful movie Rock Star.

 

KRAFTWERK

Pro: THE “Krautrock” band.

Con: The only “Krautrock” band.

 

MC5

Pro: Long overdue, their Kick Out the Jams and Back in the U.S.A. albums are tried and true classics.

Con: Nothing that I can think of.

 

MOTORHEAD

Pro: Along with AC/DC, one of the purest rock and roll bands of the late 20th century.

Con: Who the hell’s gonna fill Lemmy’s shoes at the induction ceremony performance?

 

NINE INCH NAILS

Pro: Trent Reznor is some kind of musical genius, though I prefer his David Fincher soundtracks to anything he did with NIN.

Con: Responsible for Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road.”

 

THE NOTORIOUS B.I.G.

Pro: Tupac Shakur was a great actor, but Biggie was the real deal.

Con: None. If attitude is everything, B.I.G. is true blue rock and roll.

 

RUFUS FEATURING CHAKA KHAN

Pro: Funky soul and rock and roll go hand in hand.

Con: I can name all of their “big” hits on one hand.

 

TODD RUNDGREN

Pro: Something/Anything is a flat-out masterpiece—“I Saw the Light” and “Hello, It’s Me” have stood the test of time.

Con: Produced that first Meat Loaf album. Also—The New Cars.

 

SOUNDGARDEN

Pro: Great heavy rock band. One of the high points of the so-called “grunge” era. Chris Cornell a superb vocalist, gone too soon—and when is Audioslave eligible?

Con: None.

 

T.REX

Pro: Sorry, I’ve drawn a blank.

Con: The Power Station’s version of the band’s “Bang a Gong (Get It On)” is superior, but maybe only because it came out while I was attending high school.

 

THIN LIZZY

Pro: “The Boys Are Back in Town” is a classic rock staple.

Con: What else did these cats do?

 

Discover more at rockhall.com or visit the museum in Cleveland. Fans can vote, and those ballots will be counted in a shady, underhanded way to determine the final 2020 inductees. The ceremony will be held in Cleveland on May 2, 2020.

 

As usual, I’ll be out in the parking lot protesting the continued omission of Warren Zevon, The J. Geils Band, etc. etc.

 

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