Tonawanda News

October 27, 2013

MUSIC NOTES: Nirvana, Yes, Ronstadt are good bets for Hall of Fame induction

The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame released its latest group of nominees for induction. It includes Linda Ronstadt, Peter Gabriel, Nirvana, Cat Stevens, Yes, LL Cool J, The Replacements, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Chic, Deep Purple, Hall and Oates, KISS, N.W.A., the Meters, Link Wray, and The Zombies.

It has become an annual tradition that I attempt to pick the eventual inductees, I fared well last year, this class seems a little trickier.

First, my vote for the fan ballot of five would include Yes, Cat Stevens, Peter Gabriel, Hall and Oates and Deep Purple. The chances of all five of them getting inducted in this round is slim since they are all from a similar era, plus the slam dunk inductee this year is Nirvana.

Of my list, I think Yes has the best chance. They are undeniably one of the groundbreaking progressive rock bands, if not the definitive progressive rock band. They were one of my first favorite bands, along with Styx, Triumph and Rush. I named one of my sons after former Yes guitarist Trevor Rabin.

The band has had an astronomical number of lineup changes, thus most progressive rock bands family trees all seem to lead back to Yes. I can name most of the 19 musicians who have played in Yes, and have had the good fortune to interview three of the principal members — Jon Anderson, Chris Squire and Trevor Rabin, and met five others. It would be interesting to see which members would be inducted.

Cat Stevens is an interesting choice, I have always liked him because we share birthdays, but I would be surprised if he gets in.

Peter Gabriel is already in as a member of Genesis. I am a huge fan of his solo work, but I think he did his most influential work in Genesis and his solo career was a further exploration of his work with Genesis, not necessarily something groundbreaking. He is a long shot.

Hall and Oates has a good chance, and they should. The duo took Philly soul to the masses and was able to recreate themselves in the 1980s to become a top pop group. Daryl Hall continues to bring great music to the masses with his show “Live from Daryl’s House.” I think they would be a great addition.

Deep Purple is another band that has undergone a ton of lineup changes for a total of 14 members. As far as an influence on rock music, “Smoke on the Water” alone warrants induction, it contains the ultimate guitar riff and no guitar player has avoided learning it.

As for Linda Ronstadt, well if you read this column on a regular basis, you will know that Linda holds a very dear place in my heart. It would be a very bittersweet moment for me, but I think she is almost certain to be inducted because of the renewed appreciation of her as an artist since her autobiography has been published.

Bands that I think will make it include The Replacements and Nirvana; they are clearly deserving because they were major influences in their respective genres.

N.W.A were trailblazers in hip-hop and gangsta rap. I am not a fan of the genre but appreciate some of the social commentary in its time. I think if a rap artist is to be inducted this year it should be L.L Cool J.

As for The Zombies, a British invasion group, I honestly don’t understand why they are on the list.

On the other hand, Link Wray is an artist who should have been inducted years ago. He virtually invented the guitar power chord and his sound was years ahead of its time. He died in 2005 after years of playing dive bars and never getting the recognition he deserved.

I get why Paul Butterfield is on the list, he was a highly influential blues harmonica player. I don’t know if he was influential enough to get the votes needed to get in.

Chic has been nominated eight times and for some reason has yet to make it in. Even though they are deserving, I don’t think they will make it in. If a funk band gets in it will likely be The Meters.

Nirvana will be inducted. The hall understands the importance of generating buzz and Nirvana has already been getting headlines for being nominated.

Finally, I think Kiss fans will be disappointed again. All I have to say to Kiss fans is welcome to my world. Every year I hope Todd Rundgren will be nominated and am heartbroken — at least your band is on the list.

Thom Jennings writes a weekly column on the music scene for Sunday Lifestyle. Email him at