The recent news that Guns ‘n’ Roses and the Beastie Boys, along with Donovan and several other artists, will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012 — full story here — has everybody who cares about rock music and its history slightly befuddled and maybe even furious about just who decides who gets in and who doesn’t. It’s been happening for years, and probably shouldn’t surprise us anymore that the thing has become a bit of a joke. If the induction is about influence, then clearly Kiss should be in there. If it’s about influence+record sales, then clearly Rush should be in there. And Kiss, too, I guess. But who knows. Guns ‘n Roses clearly altered the course of popular rock there, bringing in a whole new wave of West Coast grittiness. There’s no denying the impact of Appetite for Destruction. It’s a pretty damn great record. But after that, not so much. And Donovan? Yeah, some nice songs, and a big star in the UK, but otherwise, he’s kind of a minor figure in rock history. The Beastie Boys? I think they’re pretty influential. And Paul’s Boutique is a near masterpiece of modern rock and hip-hop. Much is owed to them.
But there I go, getting into the debate. Which isn’t my point. Let’s forget for a moment who is eligibile to be in the Hall and who is and isn’t in there, and instead focus on who’s not eligible yet, but will probably get in, and maybe who they should go ahead and put in now. For two reasons. One, I feel bad for these artists, because over the last ten years, or twenty years for some, they maybe dreamed of getting in. And now the thing is a joke and they probably don’t care anymore. Two, none of them have done anything egregious yet, at least in my opinion. So I propose a new category at the Induction ceremonies: Artists That Aren’t Eligible Yet But We’re Going to Put Them in Now Before the Whole Thing Becomes a Joke. It’s off the top of my head. Feel free to add your own.