(ORIGINALLY PRINTED IN MARCH 2017 EDITION)
By Christian A. Browne Campus Press Staﬀ Music Columnist
Getting into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is one of the hardest things to ever be a part of for musicians. To get in, artists have to wait 25 years after their first Ep or album is released. If you get in you must have influenced fans and artists around the world and also be voted in by the by your fellow peers, Rock and Rock Hall of Fame inductees, and others in the music industry. There are many artists like The Cure, Depeche Mode and Janet Jackson who are still not in the hall of fame. Sadly, Whitney Houston has never even been nominated for the honors and many would argue that she was one of the best singers of all time. The point is that the seven artists who got in the Hall of Fame earned their places. Let’s look at who got in.
Tupac Shakur: If you want to fully know why I believe he deserves to be in the Hall then please read my January/February 2017 column on why 2Pac deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. But to put it simply, he was one of the two best rappers of all time, (with others arguing for Biggie Smalls). The man influenced a generation of people and helped to define a genre of music that many back in that time thought would be dead. Hip-hop and Rap wouldn’t be what it is today without 2Pac, which thankfully earned him a place in the Hall of Fame.
ELO or Electric Light Orchestra: When I saw them on the ballot, I hoped that they would get in the Hall, but I didn’t expect to see them getting inducted. But I am both surprised and happy to see them get their due. ELO is a rock and roll band from England who started playing in the 1970s. While their band lineup has changed a lot throughout the years, the one constant in the band has been Jeff Lynne who has been there since the beginning. The band had major success in both England and the USA, selling million of records during the band’s lifetime and breaking numerous records on USA and UK music scene. ELO’s best and most recognizable album is “Out of the Blue”. This long and interesting album features many hits like “Turn to Stone”, “It’s Over”, “Sweet Talkin’ Woman” and “Mr. Blue Sky”. The band’s ability to stay around for so long and the impact they’ve had in the US and UK music scenes is what earns them a place in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame this year.
Yes: Yes is another progressive rock band from London. They have been around since 1968 and had major success during the ‘70s with their albums appearing in the top five of both the UK and US music charts. They also had success in the 1980s with their song “Owner of a Lonely Heart” appearing number one in the US charts in January (We Are Yes). While the band’s lineup has changed a lot during its lifetime, the band is still touring today and have had other major hits like “Roundabout”, “Close To the Edge”, and “And You And I”. Their most recognizable album is, “Fragile” which made a big impact on the music scene. Yes is a band that has lasted the test of time and influenced countless artists. Yes taking their place in the hall is the right thing for a band that his played a major role in Rock and Roll.
Joan Baez: While I think that she deserved being selected, Joan Baez being inducted into the Hall of Fame this year completely surprised me with all of the other artists in the running. But Baez, who was the only woman inducted this year, has had a remarkable career that has lasted over six decades. Joan is a folk singer who was an activist who supported and fought for civils rights, LGBT rights, the environment and countless other noble causes. Many of the songs that she sung were about the injustices that happened in the history of our world. Joan Baez
worked with many other well-known artists such as The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Steve Wonder, The Rolling Stones, Paul Simon and others. She also performed in the very well-known concert in the 60s, “Woodstock”. She has many hit sounds like “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” & “Diamonds and Rust”. The impact that she made on the lives of many people and communities earns her a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and a place among the best in music history.
Journey: Please put your hands up if you’ve ever heard or sung “Don’t Stop Believin’”. Now please put your hands down. Journey was more than just one song; the band has had a career that’s lasted over 4 decades and impacted the rock scene during the 70s and 80s. This band from the San Francisco area has 19 Top 40 singles to its credit and has 25 Gold and Platinum albums so far (bio, n.d.). The band has numerous hit songs like “Faithfully’ and “Separate Ways”. Their most recognizable albums are “Escape” and “Frontier”. The band has toured in front of sold out crowds around the world and is still making an impact in the music scene. This year was the best chance that Journey of getting in.
Nile Rodgers: Before we get to Nile, let’s start with the obvious. If Nile Rodgers was going to get in this year, then it should’ve been with the band that he made his name with, Chic. While others deserved to get it and I wouldn’t have inducted them this year either, you can’t deny that Chic had a big impact during the disco era of the 70s. This would’ve been the year to put them in and especially if you are inducting Nile in himself. But this is the Hall of Fame and you can’t win them all. So back to Nile Rodgers the guitar legend. The man has worked with the likes of David Bowie, Diana Ross, Daft Punk and countless other artists throughout his long career. He is best known for his success with his band Chic who had major success during the ‘70s. Nile Rodgers is getting inducted this year as an award for Musical Excellence. This honor is something that Mr. Rodgers definitely earned throughout his remarkable career.
Pearl Jam: Last, but certainly not least is our final inductees in the Class of 2017, Pearl Jam. Pearl Jam is a band from Seattle, Washington and was a part of the grunge music scene in the ’90s with Nirvana and Soundgarden. Pearl Jam has been around for 26 years with their 25th anniversary of the band occurring last year. While the band has had many hit albums, their biggest album was their debut, “Ten”. The album featured many hits like “Jeremy”, “Even Flow”, “Alive”, and “Garden”. The band has sold millions of records and are still touring today. The impact that this band had in the music industry, especially in the ’90s is what earns this band the nod and a place in the Hall.
Each of these artists deserved their place in this year’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. So what do you think about this year’s class and who would you like to see make it in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the future?