Author: Dale Nickey
The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame carries a stink. Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner is also co-founder of the R&R Hall. And it is common knowledge that his personal musical taste dictates the nomination list. The list fails to include some of the more accomplished British and Canadian Bands or any artist he ‘don’t cotton to’. He seems to have a particular distaste for British artists in the progressive wing of rock music.
So there’s a Yankee/Limey divide now. In 1964, The Beatles and the Stones took our wimpy ass and kicked it around the block a few times. The Brits were harder, smarter, sexier, hipper, funnier and more talented than their American counterparts in the big bang year of 1964. The Beatles even made Elvis look doofussy and out of touch. They made our entire culture look flaccid and bland. We never forgave them. That’s why Bobby Darin is in the Hall Of Fame and T.Rex isn’t. When we couldn’t grow our own we had to build a factory prototype (The Monkees). Even then, we needed to import Brit (Davy Jones) to make the thing fly.
So here then are just a few of the artists who are inexplicably excluded from the Hall of Fame, but occupy our record collections, and rule our airwaves none the less.
50 million albums sold
I guess it’s not enough that they are the preeminent and most popular progressive rock band in the history of …well….progressive rock. Not to mention the 50 million albums they have sold worldwide. Their back story is compelling. They reigned supreme in the early to mid seventies. “Roundabout” and “Your Move/Seen All Good People” are classic rock staples right along with “Stairway To Heaven” and “Pinball Wizard”. They perfected the bloated, self-indulgent concept album with “Tales From Topographic Oceans”; cited by many journalists as their greatest folly (despite the fact it shot to #1 on both sides of the Atlantic upon release). They fell on hard times during the punk revolution only to re-invent themselves and conquer the world yet again in 1982 with a # 1 album and # 1 single “Owner Of A Lonely Heart”. However, Genesis gets the Hall instead because Phil Collins is cuddlier.
30 million albums sold
The greatest white bluesman to walk the planet. God himself, (Eric Clapton) runs a pale and distant second. Don’t believe me? Ask, the patron saint of cool, Slash (a Rory disciple). Need more proof? When the chairman of the board, Jimi Hendrix, was asked by a nerdy journalist what it was like to be the greatest guitar player in the world, he is quoted as responding, “I dunno, go ask Rory Gallagher” Still not convinced? Gallagher was approached by the Rolling Stones to fill their vacant guitar slot…..twice! He was at the top of the list when Brian Jones passed as well as when Mick Taylor quit. He was the first one called in after Taylor’s departure. However, he had a world tour to do and the Stones were in process of releasing the worst albums in their history. A successful solo artist who also recorded with Muddy Waters, Albert King and Jerry Lee Lewis; Gallagher respectfully recorded with the Stones a couple of days then went back to his day job. He also earns Rock and Roll points for refusing to release singles, dumping an entire unreleased album master in the trash bin on a whim, and dying of liver failure. Best live performance Rory Gallagher
The Moody Blues:
70 million albums sold
Hits, zillions of records sold, classic rock evergreens (Nights In White Satin, Ride My See-Saw, Tuesday Afternoon, Question). Not enough to elbow aside The Dells I guess. Another band that was body slammed by Punk and New Wave in the late 70’s, only to pick themselves up in 1981 and answer with more hits and an updated sound “Gemini Dream” and “The Voice”. Early purveyors of stoner rock, who issued very prescient and preemptive musical warnings about corporate rape and environmental disaster as early as 1970 “A Question Of Balance”. Traffic beats them in because Stevie Winwood had a slew of solo hits and swings a big dick in the American record industry.
12 million albums (est)
Like that “hands free” microphone that Michael Jackson and Madonna used? Write a thank you note to Kate Bush, she was the inventor. Kate pioneered the whole “multimedia rock concert” thing. Kate Bush is one of the original independent, idiosyncratic, songwriter, multimedia pioneers. Kate was plucked out of her parents home at the age of 16 by Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmore and signed to a contract by old money aristocracy EMI Records. When EMI tried to dictate what song to release as a single. She cried, argued and cajoled them into releasing “Wuthering Heights” instead. It shot to number one and stayed there. She was the first woman to ever release a self penned number one hit in Britain. The old boys at EMI have been kissing her ass ever since. She became an icon and the most famous female in Europe for the next decade. All this despite the fact she would only consent to one brief 1979 European tour and still refuses to remaster and reissue her back catalog on CD and DVD. She sounds like nobody else and is a role model for all young women who seek to call their own shots and be the CEO of their own lives. Ask Kate Bush tribute artist Tori Amos about her influence on the music industry.WatchKate
You hear his music every day of your life. Eno composed the six second startup sound for Microsoft.
Eno started out in the early 70’s as a glam peacock/keyboardist for Prog-Glam crossover band Roxy Music. He soon left to carve out his own unique and highly intellectual niche in the rock and roll firmament as a solo artist. He used idiot energy, random cut and paste methodology(before computers), unorthodox production, and the best musicians of the day (Robert Fripp, Phil Collins, John Cale, Robert Wyatt, Percy Jones, etc….). In the mid-seventies, Eno crafted four totally left-field, free-radical solo rock albums that were eons ahead of their time. Then he went cold turkey on rock music and singlehandedly brought the word “Ambient” into the rock vernacular by releasing a string of pioneering and successful albums embracing the virtues of quiet, space and environment (Music For Airports). New Age and “The Wave” radio format can be traced directly to Eno’s innovations in sound and compositional approach. Co-wrote (with David Bowie) the greatest Emo-rock anthem yet written “Heros”. Oh yeah, he introduced Devo to the world by producing their first album. Oh wait…..yeah… that’s right, he started producing U2 at the precise moment they crossed over from hockey arena rock gods to sociopolitical Mega-Stadium blowhards. Produced Talking Heads during their heyday. However, Brenda Lee gets in first because…ah…well,….I don’t know why the fuck Brenda Lee got in!