Rocking in the “Bleh” World
Time for Hall to Tell Pat Benatar and Neal Giraldo “They Belong”
This week nominations for the 2013 inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum were announced. Artists are eligible for induction 25 years after the release of their first recording, which now puts us squarely in the 1980s for potential new nominees (and thus involve the bands that I listened to in my youth). In terms of prominent 1980’s performing acts, the Hall of Fame has so far inducted the Beastie Boys, Guns N’ Roses, Michael Jackson, Madonna, The Police, Prince, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bruce Springsteen and Van Halen to name a few. The 2013 nominees are
The Paul Butterfield Blues Band; Chic; Deep Purple; Heart; Joan Jett and the Blackhearts; Albert King; Kraftwerk; The Marvelettes; The Meters; Randy Newman; N.W.A; Procol Harum; Public Enemy; Rush and Donna Summer.
What About Pat Benatar?
Then there is PAT BENATAR, who was one of the most successful recording artists from that era, including:2 multi-platinum albums
- 5 platinum albums
- 3 gold albums and
- 19 Top 40 singles
- 4 Top 10 singles (Hit Me With Your Best Shot, Love Is a Battlefield, We Belong and Invincible)
Commercial and Critical Success
Of the ten Grammy Award ceremonies in the 1980s, Benatar was nominated for Best Female Rock Performance eight times, winning the category an unprecedented four years in a row from 1980 to 1983.
You’ve Got to Be Kidding Me?
Yet despite being eligible since 2004, the Hall of Fame has snubbed Benatar (whose husband/guitarist is from Cleveland where the museum stands) every single year! Not even a single nomination.
Such a snub makes nominations such as Randy Newman (his second) or Chic (their 5th) astounding. I don’t think either were what Neil Young was referring to when he sang Keep on Rocking in the Free World. Even Procol Harum’s inclusion is puzzling (if inducted they must be required to sing A Whiter Shade of Are You Freakin’ Kidding Me?).
As the Houston Press notes,
For the Rock Hall to honestly not infuriate you, reality has to be suspended. Rationality has to be thrown under the bus.
Making the Case:
The Test of Time
The website NotInTheHall.com (“NITH”) which covers Hall prospects in all categories (i.e., Rock, Sports etc.) puts her at #67 on the list of those waiting to get in. The site notes that
Pat Benatar oozed a brand of tough sexuality. Benatar did not even sing Rock music until her early twenties; but when she did, she brought to Rock a classically trained voice and a uniquely sexy look. Everything about her screamed “Rock Star”. Anyone around in the early 80’s certainly remembers the legions of imitators who copied her appearance. Although her series of hits dried up by the end of the 80’s she was still able to inspire legions of women to enter the world of Rock and Roll.
It is precisely because she was such a major influence and the fact that most her music, unlike some of her contemporaries such as Hall and Oates, has survived the test of time (witness the number of tracks she has in Guitar Hero or other video games) that she belongs. She belongs in the Hall with Blondie and her other contemporaries.
Rock’s Other 80’s Ladies
The Go-Go’s (NITH Futures Rank – #107) were a breakthrough band for its time that made history as the first all-female band that both wrote their own songs and played their own instruments to top the Billboard album charts. NITH notes that while some dismiss the band as fluff,
[B]y showing the world that an all woman outfit could be successful and breaking down the gender barrier in music they are far more influential than one would realize.
Sinead O’Connor (NITH Futures Rank – #272) Even after her initial rise and flame-out (including the Pope incident on SNL), NITH points out that
O’Connor remained a prolific songstress who may have turned off the mainstream but remained a respected member of the musical community.
Recent years even included a reggae album that was well received.
Cyndi Lauper (NITH Futures Rank – #201) has been nominated for 14 Grammy Awards and won for Best New Artist in 1985. She is having somewhat of a career resurgence that may help her chances since
[i]n the early 80’s it is forgotten just how big Cyndi Lauper was. She rivaled Madonna for the title of the biggest female star in the world.
The 90’s Superstars
Unfortunately, time is running out for all of the 80’s Ladies of Rock since the 90’s crop of Superstars such as Sarah McLachlan, Alanis Morissette and the Cranberries will be eligible in 2014, 2015 and 2016 respectively. It would be a shame for any one of these ladies to win their admission as Donna Summer likely will this year – after she is no longer here.