A small group of veteran performers will be inducted into the Rock 'N" Roll Hall of Fame on March 13, but are they the best choices?
Black Sabbath, Blondie, Miles Davis, Sex Pistols and Lynyrd Skynyrd certainly have their fans. It's about time for Ozzy Osbourne's Black Sabbath to be inducted. They defined heavy metal and have persevered since the late sixties. And, Ozzy's still alive. Blondie had four No. 1 hits and her induction eases the male domination of the class of 2006. Southern rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd, headliners at an outdoor show at the Island Resort and Casino last summer, have an enviable list of hits and have influenced a generation of bands.
Miles Davis, meanwhile, was an incredibly accomplished musician. But he was a jazz guy. And, the Sex Pistols had a brief raunchy career, producing just a single significant recording. Besides, anything the Pistols did, the MC5 did better a decade earlier.
So, who is more deserving to be in the Hall of Fame? Try these ten: Chicago, Neil Diamond, Heart, John Mellencamp, Steve Miller, Ringo Starr, Three Dog Night, Van Halen, Ventures and Yes.
To be eligible, the artist's first record must have appeared at least 25 years ago. "Criteria include the influence and significance of the artist's contributions to the development and perpetuation of rock and roll," according to the Hall of Fame Foundation. Each year, a nominating committee selects candidates. Then, ballots are sent to about 1,000 rock experts. Candidates receiving the most votes-- and more than half those cast-- are inducted.
Dozens of important rock acts have been inducted into the hall since 1986, including Elvis, the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry, B. B. King, Beach Boys, Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, U2 and Bob Dylan.
While it was easy for voters to pick the earliest inductees, the choices now are a bit more subjective.
Still, these candidates appear worthy:
CHICAGO- Still performing and recording, this long-lived group from Chi-town first appeared in 1969. They had 50 hit singles, mostly in the seventies and eighties, including "If You Leave Me Now" and "Hard to Say I'm Sorry."
NEIL DIAMOND- He has enjoyed a lengthy career as a singer- songwriter, hitting the pop charts 56 times, beginning in 1966. His top singles include "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" and "Cracklin' Rosie." A new album, "12 Songs," has been acclaimed by critics.
HEART- Sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson struck gold with "Magic Man" in 1977 and charted more than 30 more times through the mid-nineties. Yes, these women can rock.
JOHN MELLENCAMP- Mellencamp wowed crowds last year with a tour that highlighted many of his dozens of hits, including "Jack & Diane," "Hurts So Good," and "R. O. C. K. in the U. S. A."
STEVE MILLER- An FM staple, Miller had a career with Boz Scaggs before "The Joker" appeared in 1973. After his seventies and eighties heyday, he switched to the blues. Besides his '73 hit, Miller reached No. 1 with "Rock'n Me" and "Abracadabra."
RINGO STARR- His fellow Beatles have been inducted as solo artists, but Starr hasn't. He had a remarkable string of seven consecutive top ten hits, which even his ex-bandmates couldn't match. His solo hits include "Photograph" and "You're Sixteen." He still tours and released a new album last year.
THREE DOG NIGHT- This vocal trio dominated the airwaves from the late sixties till 1975. Their 21 hits include "Joy to the World" and "Mama Told Me Not to Come."
VAN HALEN- Certainly Eddie and the boys deserve to be inducted. Their guitar sound reinvigorated rock when they burst onto the scene in the late seventies. "Jump" was the biggest of their hits.
VENTURES- The Ventures premiered the sand and surf sound with guitars, drums and snappy instrumentals. They're best known for "Walk, Don't Run" and Hawaii Five-0."
YES- This British progressive rock group has pleased fans for 35 years. Including ten members with recognizable names, Yes peaked in 1983 with "Owner of a Lonely Heart."
Unfortunately, these ten noteworthy performers won't be accorded rock's most prestigious honor this March.
But, there's always next year.