Grading the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's Class of 2014

Categories: Music Awards

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Artwork by Tatiana Craine

A few weeks have passed since we found out who will be officially inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April. Which means enough time has passed for the migraines and projectile vomiting to have subsided.

Here's a scorecard for the inductees of the Class of 2014. First to note, using the words "class" and "Kiss" in the same sentence should get you sent to an asylum for three days of observation. Ready? OK then. I've done them in order, from the ones who make sense to those who were seemingly picked by that mythic group of monkeys chained to typewriters.


1) NIRVANA - GRADE: A+

An obvious choice but the right one. Not only were these guys great, they sported one of the best songwriters of the past 25 years. And, without any hype, the band tapped into the psyches of millions of listeners, because its members felt you needed to know more about the details of real life than the merits of twerking. Only concern? The night the band performs for the ceremony, it will be fronted by Eddie Vedder -- which will require an onscreen interpreter, for the hearing impaired. And everybody else.

2) PETER GABRIEL - GRADE: A-

At his best, Gabriel took the dreaded term "art rock" and made it compact, tuneful and compelling. As opposed to, say, Yes, which made a three-record set I put on in 1973 and still haven't finished playing. Gabriel took the best elements of sophisticated music and straight-ahead rock, and, for a while, got them to coexist without trying to gouge each others' eyes out. Reservations? He puts an album out about every eleven years, and every one of them contains a version of "In Your Eyes." It's a good thing Gabriel's getting in now, because he's been running on fumes for years, and a Miley Cyrus duet gets closer every fucking day.

3) HALL AND OATES - GRADE: B+

A really good singles band, and I love the controversy its inclusion must be causing, considering there are rock critics out there who have more anger and skepticism about this band than conspiracy theorists do about the Warren Commission. If you don't like "Rich Girl," "You Make My Dreams Come True" and "She's Gone," I feel inestimably sorry for you. On the downside? The band never really made a great album that hangs together conceptually. But it is fun, and Daryl Hall has that one essential trait that every frontman must possess in order to achieve superstardom. That's right: great hair!

4) LINDA RONSTADT - GRADE: B

As Yogi Berra use to say so sagely, "I feel strongly both ways" about Ms. Ronstadt. On the plus side, when she sang ballads as gorgeous as "Prisoner in Disguise" or "Heart Like a Wheel," you cried so hard you used up your own sleeve and had to wipe your nose on the arms of total strangers. She sold a ton of records. She was as easy on the eyes as a lunar eclipse. On the downside? There's her musical eclecticism, which was often so self-destructive, it made Evel Knievel look like a CPA. Her singing on those standards albums was often stiffer than Keith Richards' after two bottles of gin. Speaking of Keef, one of my worst nightmares use to be that Ronstadt would cover (and crucify) "Tumblin' Dice." Then she did. And I've believed in nightmares ever since. Thanks a lot, Linda.

Continue to page two for more.

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47 comments
gamefire10
gamefire10

Yes we are going to burn crosses on your front lawn. KISS is a billion times better than Nirvana could ever hope to be.

spinaman
spinaman

Let's face it. It's really the Music HOF. Hall and Oates, Cat Stevens, Donna Summer. Great acts on their own but, rock n roll, I don't think so.

Todd Menard
Todd Menard

I respect Wil's opinion, and I agree that KISS has recorded songs that make me roll my eyes. However, getting in the HOF is NOT for being "good" in someone's eyes. I think it's more of a time in service thing, and influence. Nirvana changed music, and thus deserves to be in. KISS influenced a ton of folks, and changed the face of music branding. Both deserve the honor, equally.

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

there's always a blowhard that looks down their nose at Friday night camaro rock.

Rick Kohn
Rick Kohn

the whole R&R HOF is a joke, Kiss should consider themselves lucky they're not it!

Robin Nunn
Robin Nunn

Like them or not; KISS has performed live for 40 years, selling more concert tickets than several of the other acts combined. They were the first American band to fill arenas on a regular basis. Their business savvy and good management techniques helped write the guide book for concert touring that is still in use today.

Mike Perry
Mike Perry

I went to the Dylan show. It was my 1st time seeing him,which is cool considering I've seen him 11 or 12 times since. I also saw NIN there on the Pretty Hate Machine tour. That was a trip!

Homer K Blua
Homer K Blua

Don't understand kiss.. But whatever im surprised they weren't in it already

Mike Perry
Mike Perry

Later stuff* I understand bro. You either dig it or you don't. I was"Exposed"to them at a young age. HaHa! Get it? They were like comic book type figures to me in my young age.

Chris McDaniel
Chris McDaniel

I saw a few good shows at SIU Arena back in the day. Saw the Chili Peppers there when they were still good and got to see Bob Dylan there for free.

Mike Perry
Mike Perry

I love the early years with Ace and Peter.(as you can probably tell lol) I'm not real big on the later stufirf though. I had a KISS belt buckle in 1st grade.:) I got to see the original lineup in their full glory on the Psycho Circus tour at SIU Arena back in the late 90's I think. It was epic!

Keith Woods
Keith Woods

Until Todd Rundgren's in, I won't take the RRHOF seriously.

Chris McDaniel
Chris McDaniel

Nope Mike Perry I never liked their music. I tried at one point in my younger days to get into them, but just never got into them.

Mike Perry
Mike Perry

C'mon Chris McDaniel! Black Diamond! Deuce! God of Thunder! Strutter! I Stole Your Love! ;)

Chris McDaniel
Chris McDaniel

I've never liked Kiss' music, but they've definitely impacted rock-n-roll for so many years that I still think they deserve the recognition.

Wil Grundon
Wil Grundon

KISS suuuuuuuuuuuuucks! Worst band in history. They're like ICP, but instead of broke-ass dirtbag juggalos, they have fat, middle-aged lawyers with tons of disposable income for fans. There's a sucker born every minute and Chaim Witz will be there to take their money.

Todd Menard
Todd Menard

"I don't like KISS, personally, so they shouldn't be inducted". So elitist.

Mike Perry
Mike Perry

KISS should have been inducted years ago. I'm not even going to justify to this idiot why. That is all.

Rob Speer
Rob Speer

KISS has written a song about anal sex . BFD ! Like every other rock band in recorded history hasn't at one time or another . KISS belongs there , you know it , & it , apparently , pisses you off that a band you don't like did not get in . Whoever penned this piece should write for National Enquirer .

David Scott King
David Scott King

Nirvana was not nearly the "iconic band of a generation" most hipster music critics make them out to be. Truth is, if Cobain hadn't offed himself at their peak, they would've faded away like Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and the rest of the "grunge" bands did.

Mike O'Neil
Mike O'Neil

Michael Murphy, what do you think of them dogging KISS? Some truth right?

Roger Ellis Estill
Roger Ellis Estill

You are so totally wrong. The only group I disagree about is Nirvanna. Way too soon for them but that's ok. KISS has been around a very long time and has had a lot of impact whether you think so or not. Yes they deserve to be in there.

David Scott King
David Scott King

Rip on KISS all you want, the simple fact remains that 95% of "big production live shows" started with them. Deal with it.

Paul Hollis
Paul Hollis

Finally something that we can agree on

nellyb
nellyb

Couldn't disagree more about your opinion of Cat Stevens.  I would put him at the top of the list... Not sure about the swastika thing, but if you followed his life, it's pretty clear that he is indeed a peace-loving human being and has given much love to the world not only through his awesome music, but with his life. 

Steve Van Booven
Steve Van Booven

Sorry but glam-rockers(KISS), hairbands(Poison) or any other gimmicky image based group (Gwar/Marylin Manson) just make me laugh. To each his own though.

Kirsten Mazzanti
Kirsten Mazzanti

Who writes this shit? This is just as bad as the "punk bands that suck" article. Whoever writes this is a flaming idiot.

Andrew Eldridge
Andrew Eldridge

Soundgarden should have went in before Nirvana in my opinion....Hall and Oates and still no Boston travesty

TommyFumiko Hartzel
TommyFumiko Hartzel

typical music snob, critic elitism, Rolling Stone wannabe garbage. the rock and roll hall of fame should be about what the fans want.. and the fans wanted KISS.

Jen Moore
Jen Moore

KISS totally deserves to be there

Bridget Aholt Blair
Bridget Aholt Blair

It's obvious that the writer & Mr. VanBoo have never seen KISS in concert. Seriously, uneducated remarks! Cat Stevens? Wow!

Jim Swink
Jim Swink

This isn't a music column,it's an opinion column. Thanks from KISS ARMY and KISS ARMY MISSOURI for the marks. Ugh,awful column.

Kevin Walker
Kevin Walker

KISS deserves an A+. Said song of anal sex was lyrical ingenuity. Bravo, KISS!

Darrell Ford
Darrell Ford

You nailed it 100%...except for Linda Ronstadt, I would have given her an A just because she was so cute back then and she was a vital piece of that Jackson Browne/Eagles/Linda Ronstadt triumvirate.

Christine Cook Carlson
Christine Cook Carlson

Agree except for Linda. I think she deserves a bit more credit. And Cat Stevens? Well, how soon we all forgive and forget. Aside from acting like a jerk and a weirdo, his contributions to music have been microscopic in my opinion.

Steve Van Booven
Steve Van Booven

KISS is in just based pretty much on their success and not their music so that's kind of bull and then we have Cat Stevens... really?

David Ames
David Ames

I guess the writer of this hasn't listened to a Pearl Jam album since Ten? Or has really poor hearing?

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