My pal Rich Manning has some serious concerns about who is–and isn’t–being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. After looking at this year’s list of honorees (George Harrison, ZZ Top, Prince, Jackson Browne, and Bob Seger), your humble host joins him in weeping for the future.
I hate to bring up the obvious, but shouldn’t there be a “freak factor” limit for inductees? For example, even if Michael Jackson were the undisputed hands-down greatest musician of all time, should he be inducted if he’s convicted of molesting 50 children?
What would happen to the list of eligible artists if some common sense were injected into the process of selecting inductees? Let’s take a look.
In Prince’s case, he would fall victim to the “your name must be pronounceable without using a complex series of clicks and whistles” requirement. Any artist whose name cannot be uttered without mastering the conjugation of verbs in Esperanto should not be in the Hall of Fame until they’ve bought the world a Coke–and a set of Hooked on Phonics tapes.
Both Prince and Jackson would be eliminated from consideration by virtue of the “cannot have tried to change your skin color from black to white” rule.
And can I get an “amen” on some limit to plastic surgery? The artist being inducted to the Hall of Fame should at least bear a slight resemblance to the person who recorded the music. If you’ve intentionally turned yourself into the Elephant Man or obliterated any clues as to your gender, you’re out. See ya, Jacko.
Of course, this sort of genuine-draft-cold-filtering process could get ugly. The Hall of Fame shouldn’t be burdened with such politically explosive decisions. Therefore, prudence dictates that they let me make the call. If I hate the artist in question, they’re out (see ya Jacko, redux). If I like them, they might have a chance (again sayeth the Lord: see ya, Jacko).
“It’s gold, Jerry. Gold!”
Seger, Browne, and certainly George Harrison are ok. But ZZ Top? Please. If it was my call, they’d be out on their banjo strumming butts. They belong in the Confederate Moonshine Drinkers Hall of Fame, not the Rock Hall. Anyone who hasn’t shaved since Nixon was in China doesn’t need to be in the Hall of Fame. What they need is to undergo a “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” makeover by the Fab 5.
Perhaps the real problem is that the Hall of Fame is like Movieland Wax Museum, only less relevant. And it doesn’t even have an integrated Starbucks coffee shop like Movieland. Let’s face it, wax gets a lot more interesting when you add coffee to the mix. If only it was that easy to fix the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame…