For many years now I’ve had a personal boycott of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I am sure that neither Jann Wenner, founding editor and publisher of Rolling Stone Magazine nor the Hall missed me. Nevertheless, my boycott was about the Hall inducting musicians that although deserving of praise, I felt did not represent Rock and Roll. More so, it was about bands like Kiss, Rush, Yes and others that were not even nominated; maybe because of the well documented displeasure Jann Wenner has for them. If he did not want you in it, you were out of luck. How can you justify bands like Kiss and Rush which have inspired so many that came after them, not being in the Hall, but acts such as ABBA, Leon Russell, The Ronettes, The ventures, The Dave Clark Five, not even rock bands, are in. Even bands such as Lynyrd Skynyrd, Patti Smith and John Mellencamp are in and have not been more influential than many of the bands that are yet to even get nominated. Oh yeah, Jann Wenner is in.
Fast forward to 2013 and on April 18, Rush is finally being honored with an induction into the Hall, along with the group Heart, and Public Enemy. When I heard that Rush had been nominated, I was elated as a fan but immediately wondered if they would go the Sex Pistols route and tell the Hall to shove it. The classy fellas they are, they’ve decided to show up and received their better late than never induction.
Rush has been eligible for induction 25 years after their self-titled first album, Rush, however bypassed time and time again. In the meantime they continued to garner accolades from fans and critics (some) alike for their past and present body of work. Neil Peart, the band’s drummer and lyricist has gained “cult” status for his incredible drumming chops, earning the name of “The Professor” and is regarded as one of the most influential drummers in history. The band can be considered a collection of music virtuosos and the inspiration to countless young musicians. They have amazed 17 Platinum albums; four Grammy nominations and eight Juno awards; as well as selling over 40 million copies of their 36 albums and compilations.
Considerably not mainstream, Rush has reached millions around the world, and has a fan base that can arguably rival that of the Grateful Dead in their heyday. Many of their fans too will travel from city to city, following their tour, stop after stop. To be a Rush fan is to be dedicated. You will not see any of their videos on MTV, although one could argue that no one’s videos are shown on MTV. Nevertheless, thanks to the advent of DVDs, Social Media and YouTube, one can still catch live performances since after 45 years, they are still rocking arenas and large venues around the world.
One could argue that the Hall, like many others, never understood progressive rock; the orchestral arrangements and the other-worldly lyrics. Nevertheless, they should at least have been appreciated for their influence on aspiring musicians and the evolution of rock music. Sadly, they did not get their due respect for a very long time. On that “note”, they are not alone. Bands such as Deep Purple, Yes, King Crimson, Emerson, Lake and Palmer have also been dismissed.
Suddenly, at least in my mind, the Hall has gained some respectability; we’ll see what next year brings, maybe a Kiss induction…