Headbangers’ Brawl is a weekly column where Metal Insider’s contributors take a moment to debate and analyze opposing sides of a topical issue occurring in the world of metal and/or the music industry.
Yesterday, it was revealed that Rush and Deep Purple are among the 15 finalists for induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame’s Class Of 2013. Both are bands that have been long snubbed by the Hall Of Fame despite their obvious influence in hard rock. But as we all know, getting nominated doesn’t guarantee induction (they still have to be voted in by 600 “music fans,” aka Rolling Stone cronies).
So what are the chances of Rush and Deep Purple actually getting inducted next year into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame? Will the new “fan’s ballot” vote actually better their chances? Well that’s what Bram, Kodi and Zach decided to ponder over in this week’s Headbangers’ Brawl.
Zach: I think Rush is a shoo-in for induction this year. Forget the fact that Rush are essentially the biggest cult band in rock history. The Hall Of Fame have been criticized by many fans for excluding Rush (well, among many other things as well). However, this exclusion has almost made Rush even cooler. In fact, Rush appears to have become one of Rolling Stone’s favorite bands (having done numerous stories and premieres more so than in the past). This has arguably made Rush one of the top contenders for induction.
Deep Purple, on the other hand, isn’t as sure of a thing. With that said, many have also criticized the Hall Of Fame for excluding Deep Purple (who often gets overlooked for their influence in metal). If I was a betting man, I would say that the five inductees will be the following: Rush, Donna Summers, Public Enemy, Randy Newman, and either Deep Purple or N.W.A.
Bram: I think that the Hall of Fame is pretty much tone-deaf to what the public thinks until there’s a tipping point. For a great example of this, look at Rolling Stone’s initial reviews of Led Zeppelin. They’ve generally written off metal until it was too big to, in which case, they cover it to death (Metallica, for example). But something’s happened recently. The HoF and Rolling Stone have stopped looking at Rush as a geeky cousin and Deep Purple as uncultured cretins and realized how important those two bands are. Rush have won over the public with their well-reviewed documentary Beyond the Lighted Stage, and now “Fly by Night” is in a VW commercial. And the death of Jon Lord (along with realizing that Deep Purple has written some amazing music) has forced them to re-evaluate genres and bands that they’d rather pretend didn’t exist.
I’m a cynical bastard, so it’s very easy for me to think that by nominating them, it’s just paying lip service to fans, and there’s no way they’ll make it in. I’d think Public Enemy and Donna Summer are locks, for their popularity in rap and disco, respectively, and also Summer for sentimental reasons (aka she died recently). Joan Jett will probably make it in, because her biggest song is called “I Love Rock and Roll.” Is there room for Rush, Deep Purple or both to make it in? Yes. Will I be surprised if even one of them makes it in? Yes as well.
Kodi: I like Deep Purple’s chances better than those of Rush, in part because of the sentimentality Jon Lord’s passing brings to the table. With that in mind, shame on the Hall for not inducting the band before his passing. Aside from Led Zeppelin and the mighty Black Sabbath, there are few bands that have had a bigger influence on the rock sounds of now.
With that said, I’m not underselling Rush’s chances. Rolling Stone has publicly scoffed at progressive rock for so many years that it’s become a blight on the Hall, and this is a chance to correct that with Clockwork Angels out and selling by the modern equivalent of truckloads. Both bands have had so much influence that it’s criminal they’ve stayed out this long, and if the Hall wants to have influence beyond its fading baby boomer audience, the first thing it’s got to do is recognize both lasting legacies. I don’t buy into the fan ballot though, and Public Enemy, Donna Summer and N.W.A all feel like locks to get in. My guess is either Rush or Deep Purple makes the cut, along with some oddball fifth choice that no one under the age of 60 gives one hot damn about and won’t be deserving of upstaging these legends.