ROCK HALL: Who's Worthy and Who's Not


Vulture.com writer Bill Wyman -- no relation to the former Rolling Stones bassist -- has compiled a list of "All 214 Artists in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Ranked From Best to Worst."

Before he gets to his choices, Wyman writes, "There shouldn’t be a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The idea of a bunch of self-satisfied music-industry fat cats in tuxedos having rock stars assemble for a command performance...once a year is precisely the sort of thing rock was created to be the antidote to. There is nothing less rock and roll than a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame."

Wyman adds that the rankings are "made on the basis of the appropriateness of each artist’s induction, not their baseline quality or my personal fondness for the artists in question."

And with that, here are his Top 10, along with number-214, who happen to be a member of this year's class:

1) Chuck Berry (inducted in 1986): "He is one of the three or four people who laid out one of the original pieces of the rock puzzle... One of the most consequential American cultural figures of the 20th century."

2) The Beatles (1988): "A joyous sound that turned ever inward, leading the way for just about everyone who followed -- and, with Elvis [Presley], the epitome of pop stardom."

3) Bob Dylan (1988): "Dylan took rock lyrics to places they hadn’t been before and haven’t been since."

4) Elvis Presley (1986): "He is rock’s greatest presence, shaking a country with a single-handed nuclear reaction of country, gospel and the blues."

5) James Brown (1986): "A coiled figure of impenetrable gravity. He invented funk, and performed with a blistering focus that had never been seen before and never would again."

6) Prince (2004): "Prince has to come after Brown, but it should be noticed that he could do virtually everything Brown did -- and also wrote cosmic songs, and also played guitar just about as well as anyone on this list, and also sang like both an angel and devil, and also was a venturesome and sure-footed rock, pop and soul producer and songwriter."

7) Ramones (2002): "Among other things, these guys were rock critics -- meaning that they thought the rock of the day sucked. They thought a good song should be fast, ironic, witty, ideally evocative of the girl-group sound, and have the vocals mixed way up high. And one more thing: You didn’t know have to know how to play your instrument to be in a rock-and-roll band."

8) Nirvana (2014): "The psychological honesty of Cobain’s songs was groundbreaking; sonically, they blew a hole in the radio and wrenched the entire recording industry sideways, roiling radio playlists, MTV and, as a consequence, the sales charts, making the 1990s a colorful and unexpected musical decade indeed."

9) Buddy Holly (1986): "His lyrics were nowhere near Berry’s, but there was a power and logic under-girding his songs that everyone from the Beatles to Springsteen recognized and would build on."

10) Muddy Waters (1987): "His authorship of a song called 'Rollin’ Stone,' stinging guitar work and molten presence looms over all of rock."

214) Bon Jovi (2018): "The guys in Bon Jovi aren’t in a rock band. Bon Jovi are the guys in the movie about the rock band. All the members are good at their job; but however effectively they have postured toothless outlawry ('Wanted Dead or Alive,' as if), pouty naughtiness and dangerous hairstyles, they have produced only one passable chorus in a 30-year-plus history, and that’s with songwriting help from Desmond Child... The outside songwriting help frees up the band to concentrate on things like hairdos, and marketing."

The complete list can be found at Vulture.com. You can watch number-214 be inducted when highlights from this year's ceremony air Saturday on HBO.

Wyman also included his list of artists he feels deserve to be inducted. Here they are, in no particular order:

  • Radiohead
  • Todd Rundgren
  • Roxy Music
  • Warren Zevon
  • The Go-Go’s
  • Lonnie Donegan
  • KC & the Sunshine Band
  • Joy Division/New Order
  • Ian Hunter/Mott the Hoople
  • Kraftwerk
  • War
  • Jonathan Richman
  • Willie Nelson
  • The New York Dolls
  • The Doobie Brothers
  • X
  • George Michael
  • The Jam
  • Graham Parker
  • Los Lobos                                   Kevin in the Morning!

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