Who should get into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's next class? Make your picks
October 8, 2015 1:46 PM
Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times
The group Chicago arrives for the 56th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles in January 2014.
The Cars, Chic, Chicago, Cheap Trick, Deep Purple, Janet Jackson, The J.B.’s, Chaka Khan, Los Lobos, Steve Miller, Nine Inch Nails, N.W.A, The Smiths, The Spinners and Yes were announced as nominees for the next Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class.
Post-Gazette pop music critic Scott Mervis make his picks for the next Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class. Agree? Disagree? Vote in the poll below.
■ ■ ■
Deep Purple: DP should be in on the “Smoke on the Water” riff alone, and at the induction ceremony, the surviving members should keep playing it over and over and over just so it sinks in. Let’s put an end once and for all to the induction speeches from rockers embarrassed that they’re going in before Deep Purple.
Chicago: You remember that line from “Sultans of Swing” about trumpet-playing bands, right? “It ain’t what they call rock ’n’ roll.” Chicago brought horns and hints of jazz to the party, and certainly lacked the swagger of bands we call rock ’n’ roll. But ... there are A LOT of good, beloved songs there that have held up over time, executed with A-level musicianship. Furthermore, they had their own Hall of Fame-worthy riff on “25 or 6 to 4.”
Steve Miller: Yes, he had some of the worst songwriting grammar ever and even made up words like “pompatus,” but that was no reason to snub him all these years. His songs dominate the classic-rock radio, and if you play “The Joker” for anyone from 2 to 92, that person will be singing it the rest of the day.
Yes: Show me a prog-rock fan, and I’ll show you someone who has been griping about the Rock and Roll Hall of Shame for 30 years. Pink Floyd went in in ’96 and the next prog band didn’t make it till Genesis in 2010, followed by Rush in ’13. That’s it. Three of them. Love ’em or hate ’em, there’s no denying Yes as a band that was innovative and could play their butts off.
Nine Inch Nails: So far, two bands that made their biggest impact in the ’90s are in the Hall, Nirvana and Green Day. As a headliner at the first Lollapalooza and the band that brought industrial metal to the masses, thereby setting the tone for the decade, it’s time for NIN to darken the door.
The Smiths: The Hall has been erratic about inducting bands from certain scenes, no more so than the glorious ’80s punk/post-punk acts. The last one to get in was R.E.M. back in 2007 (unless you count the Red Hot Chili Peppers). A slew of these bands belong, including Sonic Youth, X, The Cure and Black Flag. The Smiths is a reasonable way to revisit this era.
A few notes: The JB’s (James Brown’s backing band) will likely go in as an early influence, and that’s a possibility for the Spinners as well (as they formed in 1954). The Cars, Cheap Trick, Los Lobos and N.W.A. are good future considerations. As for Janet Jackson, Chic and Chaka Khan, they’re all good, but disco and dance-pop shouldn’t get priority in a hall of fame for rock ’n’ roll.
Scott Mervis: email@example.com; 412-263-2576. Twitter: @scottmervis_pg.
To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to
firstname.lastname@example.org and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner.