Nothing gets rock fans arguing like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Musical taste is so subjective that pleasing everyone is impossible. Hard rock fans are livid that acts like Deep Purple and Iron Maiden aren't in, rap fans think it's insane that N.W.A and De La Soul are still waiting and prog fans can't believe that Yes and King Crimson continue to be excluded. Meanwhile, 1980s groups like the Smiths, the Cure, Pixies and Sonic Youth await their nods. Now that this year's ceremony is behind us, we asked our readers to select who they'd like to see enter the Hall of Fame in 2016. Here are your picks.
Even people that don't really like the Smiths should hope they eventually get into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame so they can see the chaos that will erupt. Morrissey will write a 10,000-word public letter denouncing the entire institution and explaining, once again, why he'd rather eat his own testicles than reunite with the Smiths. Mike Joyce and Andy Rourke will probably show up, and perhaps even play "How Soon Is Now" with Johnny Marr if he decides to come. Then Morrissey will write a 20,000-word public letter denouncing the performance and ripping into Mike Joyce. The whole thing will make the Kiss and Guns N' Roses inductions seem like love fests.
The Moody Blues have been touring and recording for over 50 years. Songs like "Nights in White Satin," "Tuesday Afternoon" and "Go Now" have been in rotation on classic rock radio for decades, and nobody questions the crucial contributions they made to progressive rock back in the 1960s. These guys were at it years before even King Crimson. Somehow or another, they just never won a ton of critical respect. In 2000, they called a live album Hall of Fame, perhaps thinking hoping they'd soon enter the actual one. It's 15 years later and they're still waiting, but if they hold out long enough they'll probably make it.
There aren't a ton of casual Iron Maiden fans. You're either barely aware they're that metal band with the skeleton onstage, or you've got a Number of the Beast tattoo down your entire back and quoted "Fear of the Dark" in your high school yearbook. They have virtually no mainstream hits, but they've cultivated such a loyal fan base that they continue to pack stadiums and arenas all over the globe, even when they explicitly tell everyone to not expect many old songs on certain tours. They've always focused 100 percent on pleasing their fans with little regard for critics and the rock establishment, which might explain why they aren't in the Hall of Fame yet. There's also not a ton of metal bands in the Rock Hall, a fact that has nearly driven VH1 Classic's Eddie Trunk to the brink of madness. Keep pushing, Eddie. Iron Maiden's day will come.
When Phish fans walked into Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall on Halloween in 2010 and found out they were going to play Little Feat's 1978 LP Waiting for Columbus, many of them had a single question: "Who the fuck are Little Feat?" The answer, of course, is a wildly talented 1970s California-based band that fused blues rock with R&B, soul and funk. They split in 1979 when frontman Lowell George passed away, but reformed in 1987 and continue to tour. They were more of an album band than a singles band, so most people not into their world don't know the music. That probably explains their exclusion.
Warren Zevon is so much more than that guy who sang "Werewolves of London." Anyone that doesn't know his catalog should put on Excitable Boy, Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School and Stand in the Fire and prepare to be amazed. He was one of the great songwriters of his era and tunes like "Mohammed's Radio," "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner" and "Accidentally Like a Martyr" only improve with age. He battled all sorts of addictions and never got the acclaim he deserved until shortly before he died of lung cancer in 2003. It may take a few more years, but he'll make it into the Hall of Fame one day.
People forget just how popular Chicago were throughout most of the 1970s. They played stadiums and songs like "Saturday in the Park," "25 or 6 to 4" and "Call on Me" were all over the radio. They shared the bill with the Beach Boys and even had Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band open up for them. The problem may be their most famous material is far from their best, and they've been slogging it out on the casino- and state-fair circuit for so long without original singer Peter Cetera that they seem like a pretty diminished force. Also, even at their peak, they never got a lot of critical acclaim. They may be one of those bands that just never gets in, but it's impossible to say for sure.
Cheap Trick's time at the top was pretty brief. There was that brief flash of Cheap Trick mania in 1979 after Live at Budokan finally showed the world how amazing they were live, but just two years later, MTV arrived and they failed to get much traction until "The Flame" gave them a much-needed comeback hit in 1988. Since then, they've continued to tour like maniacs, releasing the occasional new album. Drummer Bun E. Carlos is out of the picture, but the three other originals are still out there grinding out "Surrender" and "Dream Police" night after night. Anyone who sees them live will have a hard time arguing they don't belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
There aren't a lot of prog-rock bands in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Sure, there's Genesis, Pink Floyd and Queen, but all those groups had more than a few pop moments. Yes, at least in the 1970s, were like pure-grade prog heroin. They were cut with nothing. By 1978 even Genesis was releasing radio-friendly stuff like "Follow You Follow Me," but Yes were busying themselves with "On the Silent Wings of Freedom" and "Don't Kill the Whale." They broke up in 1980, and when they reformed four years later they were almost a completely different band. New guitarist Trevor Rabin crafted their comeback hit "Owner of a Lonely Heart," which (very briefly) revived the Yes brand. They've parted ways with frontman Jon Anderson in recent years and are hitting the road with Toto this summer. Yes deserve to get into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for their 1970 to 1974 work alone, but maybe the fact that they just kept going and going started to work against them. It's too bad. "Close to the Edge" and "Siberian Khatru" represent prog rock at its absolute finest.
Earlier this month, Electric Light Orchestra frontman Jeff Lynne got his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Heavyweights like Tom Petty and Joe Walsh were on hand to pay their respects to the musician, who recently put together a new lineup of ELO and has hinted at future tour dates in America. They'll play to enormous crowds, but for whatever reason Lynne remains the sole Traveling Wilbury without his own Hall of Fame award. Maybe ELO were a little poppy and eclectic for the tastemakers of their day, but we have a feeling they'll make it into the Hall of Fame in the next few years.
You can't blame the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominating committee for not bringing Deep Purple in. They've put them on the ballot several times over the past few years, but for whatever reason the voters just don't seem to be going for them. It probably has something to do with the fact that the vast, vast majority of voters are American. If the people of Europe had the chance to vote, Deep Purple would have been in years ago. Sadly, many people in America see them as merely the "Smoke on the Water" band. Throughout the rest of the world, Deep Purple are seen on the same level as 1970s giants Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. They continue to play huge shows even though guitarist Ritchie Blackmore bolted over 20 years ago. If they ever got into the Hall of Fame, there's a sliver of a chance he'd reunite with them.