Welcome to the 4th edition of Innovators/Imitators in which I try to separate the wheat from the chaff and determine whom I think should be inducted into the Rock Hall in December.
The Innovators/Imitators idea came from My Morning Jackets’s “Wordless Chorus” so let’s kick this off with the theme song.
The Paul Butterfield Blues Band – IMITATORS Is the 3rd time the charm for this band This was my opinion the last two last years and it hasn’t changed. Great musicians that were a springboard for many more innovative acts
Chic-IMITATORS Again, as I said last year. They might get in this year because of Nile Rogers contributions to Daft Punk’s “Random Access Memories” which just proves what I said in the past. Nile Rogers “deserves to be in the Rock Hall for his production work alone”.
Green Day-INNOVATORS When Dookie first came out, I figured they would be one album wonders but they continued to create catchy punk pop songs. Then 20 years into their career they practically reinvented themselves with American Idiot and their subsequent Broadway musical of the album. Suddenly 50 and 60 year olds knew the band Green Day. You might not call it punk rock but they changed the idea that punk was for a limited audience.
Joan Jett & The Blackhearts- IMITATORS While she was one of the first female punk rockers with the Runaways (also not in the Rock Hall), her work with the Blackhearts is mostly known for the one album that contained “I Love Rock N’ Roll” and their cover of “Crimson & Clover”. They’re still a great live band but I don’t think that’s enough to get them in.
Kraftwerk- INNOVATORS I’m shocked they did not get in last year but I think their tour earlier this year reminded everyone of their relevancy. Let them in!
The Marvelettes IMITATORS They gave Motown records their first #1 hit with “Please Mr. Postman” and they influenced others enough that The Beatles and The Carpenters covered their songs but they only had two other top ten songs during their heyday (“Playboy” and “Don’t Mess With Bill”) and that’s not enough to get them in.
N.W.A. INNOVATORS Maybe the Rock Hall has some secret policy of only one rap group per year. They should have got in last year but I guess that was reserved for Public Enemy. I’m going to scream “Fuck The Rock Hall” if they don’t get in this year.
Nine Inch Nails INNOVATORS Trent Reznor took what Krafwerk, David Bowie and Lou Reed created and made it his own
Lou Reed INNOVATOR Just for his influence alone. Sure he’s already in with The Velvet Underground but I dare you to listen to his albums “Transformer” and “Coney Island Baby” and say he does not belong in the Rock Hall as a solo artist.
The Smiths INNOVATORS It’s a shame The Smiths won’t play together for this event and Morrissey will turn all the attention on him with some outrageous statement but you can’t hide the fact that they made four brilliant albums in four short years before self imploding
The Spinners – IMITATORS They were a hit making machine in the 70s with 7 top ten hits including the number 1 song “Then Came You”. But their records were shaped by the talents of Philadelphia producer-songwriter Thom Bell. Five fine singers but enough to get into the Hall
Sting – INNOVATOR I’m kind of on the fence with this one. He already has a well deserved entry in the Rock Hall with the Police but his solo work helped spawn the jazz/pop/rock hybrid that helped give credence to Kenny G and the era of Smooth Jazz. Still, there’s no denying the depth and experimentation in both the lyrics and playing of his songs while still maintaining a huge following.
Stevie Ray Vaughan – INNOVATOR No one played the guitar like Stevie Ray Vaughan. The brilliance is that you can recognize his playing in a lineup of 100 similar guitarists. Just like Hendrix, it’s a shame he was taken away from us so soon but the music lives on to this day.
War – INNOVATORS Just like Rock Hall inductees Santana they combined the roots of their city and their Latin heritage to create a unique sound that caught on with the masses
Bill Withers – INNOVATOR I think watching the movie “Still Bill” slightly influenced my decision but there’s no denying the beauty in his voice and songs. He should be in the Hall for “Lean On Me” alone.
You can vote for your favorite artist by clicking on the photo below.
Rock Hall 2015 Nominees Vote Now!