Growing up in Cleveland in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, we were well aware that our radio stations rocked! We also knew artists who were embraced here often went on to nationwide fame. It was a wonderful time and place to grow up- an amazing part of the rock music scene. All of this beautiful music was, and is, the background for our lives.
When discussions about where to put the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame started, the loud and public outcry over where it rightly belonged brought it home to its Lake Erie perch. When the decision was made to build the Hall in Cleveland, we were in full agreement. However, many of us disagree with the nominating committee and rock experts when it comes to the crazy omissions- performers who definitely belong in the Hall, yet remain overlooked. We read the eligibility requirements- 25 years since they put out their first record and unquestionable musical excellence- and we wonder who, exactly, these brain-dead cretins are that are voting? We argue about them at parties and wonder what the heck is going on that these acts could possibly be excluded.
Here is one Cleveland girl’s list of the top 10 acts that have been dissed by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame:
10. Michael Stanley
Michael is our hometown hero and his music rivals anybody in the Hall. Those who’ve heard him sing, get it. This man should have been more famous around the world than Mick Jagger, in my opinion. He’s a singer, and a songwriter, and his songs tell the story of growing up in Cleveland the way Springsteen’s glorify Jersey. Yes, he’s a local legend, but he is definitely eligible for nomination and inclusion based on unquestionable musical excellence.
9. Motley Crue
The Crue is a little edgy, and yes they are even quite grungy at times—in other words, these guys are the epitome of true rock stars. From all the hard partying days, scrapes with the law, through rehab and getting sober in the late eighties, they rocked! This band influenced scores of later bands, and deserves to be in the hall for that reason alone.
Yes, I have heard all the arguments about the commercial sound. In other words, this band played the music that people wanted to hear, and wanted to buy. I certainly don’t understand how that could be construed as something negative. Four consecutive albums certified multi-platinum, including The Grand Illusion through Paradise Theater.
7. Electric Light Orchestra
One of the biggest selling bands in the 1970’s and early 1980’s, ELO was an English band that had much more success in the United States. After a career selling more than 50 million albums worldwide, including 12 different studio albums and more than four dozen singles, is there really any doubt that they belong in the Hall of Fame? And what about that crazy spaceship?
6. Judas Priest
I was tempted to say “WTH?” about this band. They have been nicknamed “Metal Gods” based on their song of that name, have sold over 35 million albums around the world, and are widely noted as having influenced many metal bands and musicians. In fact, MTV named them the number two most influential heavy metal band, behind only Black Sabbath. Through a number of Platinum albums- Hell Bent for Leather, British Steel, and Screaming for Vengeance- the band showed their musical power on song after song. Rob Halford’s leather biker look was picked up by most of the band, and lots of other rock stars as well.
Journey’s music is so uber-popular, it is hard to believe that they keep getting overlooked. Just one song, Don’t Stop Believin’, is the largest-selling downloaded tune on iTunes, and has been used in the Sopranos, Family Guy, and Glee, as well as helped the Chicago White Sox focus on their World Championship in 2005. Frontman Steve Perry is also eligible for induction into the Hall of Fame as an individual, and most fans of the band would be satisfied with that, as Steve Perry IS Journey. (Though they continue to tour with some less-talented singer at the helm, it is not the same band without Steve.)
4. Joan Jett
Often called the Queen of Rock, Joan Jett is best known for belting out I Love Rock ‘n Roll, her number one smash hit for two months in 1982. With three albums certified platinum or gold, and a score of other hits, including I Hate Myself for Loving You, Light of Day, and Bad Reputation, Joan is a hard-driving, guitar-playing rocker that just happens to be a beautiful woman. She has made appearances on TV shows, starred in the movie Light of Day with Michael J. Fox, and played in Broadway musicals, in addition to touring with the USO for the past twenty years.
3. Peter Frampton
Astounding that voters seem to have forgotten his little double live album that sold more than six million copies just in the United States, and led to sold out arenas and stadiums around the country in the late 1970’s. Frampton Comes Alive! made Peter an instant superstar and spawned hits that are still played regularly on every classic rock station around the country.
2. Def Leppard
The last time I saw Def Leppard in concert they played for three hours, and still did not have enough time to perform all of their hits. Hysteria, released in 1987, had seven top 100 hits- one of the only albums ever to do so. Def Leppard sold more records in the United States in the 1980s than any other band. They also won American Music Awards for best heavy metal artist and best heavy metal album (Hysteria, 1989). The band is well known for standing by drummer Rick Allen when he lost an arm in a car accident in 1984. They continue to tour and perform today, and are expected to release a new live album in 2011.
Yes, they are goofy with their crazy platform boots and makeup…but the music speaks for itself. Kiss is one of the highest-selling bands ever, having sold over 100 million albums around the world, with 24 gold albums in the United States alone. They are well known for their makeup, fire breathing, smoking guitars, blood spitting, and pyrotechnics during live shows, believing that when people pay to be entertained, they should give it their all.