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2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominations

| Monday, October 13, 2014

Rock and Roll NomsMARY McGRAW
Late last week the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced the nominees for the 2015 induction, which will take place April 18. First time balloters include Sting, Bill Withers, The Smiths, Nine Inch Nails, Green Day and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Moreover, Nine Inch Nails and Green Day earned nominations in their first year of eligibility, having just met the requirement of publishing their first releases 25 years ago. The remaining nominees are Lou Reed, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Kraftwerk, Chic, N.W.A., Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, the Marvelettes, the Spinners, Stevie Ray Vaughan and War. As in the previous two years, the public has some say in the inductions with the ability to vote for their top five picks on Rolling Stone’s website.  Here I’ll offer up my own personal ballot and a brief explanation for my choices — I will refrain from the arguments for non-nominees or whether it’s actually Rock ‘n’ Roll enough to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and just praise the acts that have been nominated.

Lou Reed

This year’s nominations dropped nearly on the one-year anniversary of Lou Reed’s death. What better way to honor one of the most badass, unapologetic, cool visionaries in rock music than to induct him into the Hall of Fame? Not that Reed’s influence and memory needs to rely on this bit to be voted in; the singer-guitarist is already in with his co-founded band The Velvet Underground, but should be in through his solo work, as well. The man could tell a seedy story like no one else, and matched his lyrical prowess with an unflappable voice and slick guitar work, besides the nerve and disposition to do whatever the hell he wanted.

Bill Withers

Bill Withers, one of the smoothest men in Soul music, absolutely deserves to get inducted on his first ballot. Withers wrote and performed a number of the most popular R&B standards including “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Lean on Me,” “Lovely Day” and “Just the Two of Us.” Moreover, his vocal performances on his songs “Use Me” and “Hope She’ll Be Happier” speak volumes to the singer’s strength and deep rooted connection to his material, on par with the ranks of peers and Hall of Famers Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding and Same Cooke.


Kraftwerk invented and pioneered synthesized electronic music. Electronically fueled music now dominates popular forms of most mainstream genres, in one way or another.  Thank and/or blame Kraftwerk for your synthpop, all other pop, synthesizer-produced hip-hop, new wave, post punk, emo, post punk revival, dance, art rock, ambient, trip hop and experimental music, and wave high to them as they are inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

Joan Jett is Rock ‘n’ Roll incarnate.  She’s commonly known as the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll.  She’s a rock role model and was hugely influential in the riot grrrl movement, not to mention greater rock and roll genre in general. Her most popular segment in her illustrious career has been her time with her backing band the Blackhearts and — like in recent reparative actions from the Hall of Fame regarding backing bands — she and her bandmates should get inducted together.


Having already been nominated on the ballot two previous times, in 2012 and 2013, I would not want to stand in between N.W.A. and their induction into the Rock and Hall of Fame.  One of the seminal hip-hop and rap groups in the culture and genre’s history boasts legendary members who could and should be included individually, and if the group does it quickly enough, it could provide the lamest Hollywood ending to the collective’s upcoming biopic.

Other Thoughts:

  • Green Day debuted with strong material and slowly, then consistently, got convoluted and delusional to their grandeur as they aged as a band. They are a shoe-in.
  • I would not be against seeing War and Nine Inch Nails inducted, as well.
  • Still, many snubs, oversights and strange decisions plague the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, greatly discrediting its merits
  • None of this matters at all and in ten years time, music will be so diffuse and personal it will be impossible to please any two people.
  • Except Lou Reed and Bill Withers are bosses that deserve all the acclaim and attention.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Matt McMahon

Notre Dame Class of 2016 student studying Finance and English. From Mercer County, New Jersey. Interests include music, television, film, and writing. Also food.My Mom didn't like what else I had to say here so I took it down.

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  • Liz DeMarco

    Stevie spent most of his life perfecting his music when the odds were
    against him from the start. It is our loss that he died in the
    helicopter accident – it is more than “too bad”. His rendition of Voodoo
    Chile is equal to, and surpasses the Hendrix version which is also a
    masterpiece. He never stopped working on new techniques, and was
    overlooked by Mick Jagger, Janis Joplin, and David Bowie – all of whom
    could have helped his rise in fame; none did. Those of us from Texas still stop by
    Stevie’s burial site on August 27 or October 3. We hope you do the
    right thing this year since his induction is long overdue.

    • net-snmp

      My sentiments exactly ! Grew up in GP , weekend trips to Austin to watch SRV , and I still visit every every August.

      Rave On , Stevie

  • Jim Betty Kalfas

    Steve Perry greatest singer of all time 2nd Kevin C Reo speed wagon

  • Jeff Jones

    Cheap Trick are long overdue and far more worthy than these nominations.

  • Misko Hodil

    Why isn’t Def Leppard nominated? They’re one of only six rock acts who have two albums that have sold in excess of 10 million copies. (AC/DC, Eagles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Van Halen all of have been inducted.) They were one of, if not the biggest selling rock act of the 1980’s. They pretty much defined MTV which is crap today. Hysteria spawned 7 hit singles, 4 of them went Top 10, 3 of them top 3. They have 15 Top 40 Hits in total. They’ve been an influence on newer bands. Etc. Why is Cleveland being the typical idiots they are and holding them out?

  • Kevin McMahon

    Might be going out on limb here but how about Yusuf aka Cat Stevens. Wrote some of the best music in the 60’s and 70’s. forget the politics, its about the music.

    • Kim Elmore

      He was inducted this year

  • beer

    The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame should nominate Cheap Trick, Styx, Material Issue, The Squids, and REO Speedwagon. All bands from Illinois.

  • warqueen

    Jimi Hendrix, Eric Burdon, Bob Marley, Donna Summer, The Beastie Boys have all been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The one thing all these artists have in common is WAR. The original artists of WAR melded all genres of music, including rock & roll, to create their own unique sound. They were the last band to perform with Jimi Hendrix the night before he died. They created the hit song, ‘Spill the Wine’ with former Animals frontman, Eric Burdon, and many other great songs with Burdon. Bob Marley used the riff from WAR’s, ‘Slippin’ Into Darkness’, to create his song, ‘Get Up! Stand Up!’. The R&RHoF slighted WAR in 2011/12 by inducting the Beastie Boys instead of and ahead of WAR. The Beastie Boys sample WAR’s iconic song, ‘Lowrider’, in their rap, ‘Slow & Low’. WAR’s, ‘Why Can’t We Be Friends?’, I consider to be an anthem for the world. WAR music is used in many movies, commercials, video games, sampled and covered by many other artists and by comedians George Lopez and Cheech & Chong, and it’s way past time for the actual original artists of WAR to get their recognition and respect for all they created that everyone else uses. Please vote for WAR this third time around. Peace.