Mitch Ryder, Chicago, Doobies, ELO, Cheap Trick: Still Ignored By The Rock Hall
With tomorrow night’s Rock and Roll hall of Fame induction ceremonies taking place in Cleveland, I can’t help but reminded of those deserving artists who have yet to make the cut. Among them Detroit’s own Mitch Ryder and so many others.
The induction tomorrow of Ringo Starr, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Green Day, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Lou Reed (for his solo work), Stevie Ray Vaughn & Double Trouble, The “5” Royales and Bill Withers into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame bring important recognition to those artists.
But a surprising number of standout names from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s have yet to receive one of rock’s highest honors. Some very significant artists still waiting for the call from the Hall include:
- Chicago, with 20 Top 10 hits, may be the most glaring omission. Perhaps the snub is due to their concentration on pop ballads during the late ’70s and ’80s.
- The Doobie Brothers turned away from country rock and embraced a more soulful and commercially successful sound once Michael McDonald became their front-man — then swung back to their original style after his departure.
- Cheap Trick, who have been going strong for nearly 40 years, are still acclaimed in many corners, have widespread recognition and certainly rank as a touring act with Hall inclusions like KISS and Aerosmith.
- Some critics consider Tommy James and the Shondells too “bubblegum,” yet “Mony, Mony” (which he co-wrote) ranks with “Louie, Louie” and “Shout” among the most enduringly popular party songs. “Crystal Blue Persuasion” and “Crimson and Clover” were certainly closer to the cutting edge than the mainstream in their time.
- Though they don’t have as big a following as Chicago or the Doobies, The Guess Who were the first important Canadian act to break big in the U.S. and Europe. “American Woman,” their biggest U.S. single, has been covered by several important artists the last two decades.
- A good case can be made for The Monkees — and their innovative use of video and comedy to back their music.
- Paul Anka and Connie Francis, icons of rock’s first decade, have also been left behind. Has their impact been minimized by the distance of time, and in Anka’s case, by his onetime “teen idol” status and later embrace of a Rat Pack-style image? Of course, that never held back his friendly rival, 1990 inductee Bobby Darin.
- Chubby Checker‘s “The Twist” remains the most important and successful dance record of all time. And in the years between Buddy Holly‘s death and The Beatles‘ arrival, there was no more popular singles artist.
- America is one of few self-contained folk-influenced harmony bands of the ’70s not to be honored.
- Tom Jones‘ baritone remains strong after five decades of stardom, and he remains both a concert mainstay and a popular recording artist in Britain, where he refuses to be labeled a “nostalgia act.”
- Sonny and Cher have long been overlooked. Forget his clownish image — Sonny Bonowas one of rock’s brightest behind-the-scenes figures. He’s the writer-producer who penned their material and carefully crafted their image. She is simply the most enduring female vocalist of the rock era.
- Carly Simon rivaled 2014 inductee Linda Ronstadt as the first lady of rock during the ’70s. But unlike Linda, Carly wrote much of her own material, especially the iconic “You’re So Vain.”
- The Zombies, who made their mark in the ’60s with “She’s Not There,” “Tell Her No” and “Time of the Season,” have resumed their place among the most respected tour bands from that era. 2014 brought their first nomination — perhaps that call from the Hall is just a year or two away.
- The Cars were the most commercially successful of the late-1970s new wave bands.
- Neil Sedaka enjoyed separate and successful chart runs in the ’60s and ’70s, while also penning big hits for other artists.
- Glen Campbell‘s hits such as “Galveston” and “Wichita Lineman” speak for themselves. And he went out on top, with an acclaimed final album and tour in 2012 after disclosing his Alzheimer’s.
- The Commodores became Motown’s most important group following the departure of The Jackson Five. Their combination of family-friendly funk and sentimental ballads gave them nearly a decade of non-stop hits.
- Cases can also be made for such long-lasting and radio-friendly artists as Journey, Bad Company, Foreigner, The Steve Miller Band, Kool and the Gang and Pat Benatar.
- With most of the prominent Brill Building writing teams — such as Carole King andGerry Goffin, Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, and Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil — having being inducted, the absence of the prolific and innovative Burt Bacharach and Hal David becomes more glaring.
- The Electric Light Orchestra, and its longtime leader Jeff Lynne, seem like a tailor-made combination of innovation, influence and success.
- Likewise, The Moody Blues infused rock with classical influences and changed the sound of music in the ’70s.