CLEVELAND, Ohio – Looking back at each year of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, you can usually find at least one Inductee fans and voters can agree is a consensus Hall of Famer.
But in 2011, the Rock Hall opened the Induction process up to the most criticism it has ever received. We’re not saying the Rock Hall’s Class of 2011 was the worst ever…Okay, maybe we are.
Our “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Remixed” series looks back on every year of Inductions, fixing mistakes and re-evaluating resumes.
[See previous remixed classes: 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010]
We’ve been waiting to redo 2011, a year where five of our six picks are all longtime Rock Hall snubs:
- Iron Maiden
- Peter Gabriel
- Sonic Youth
- Joy Division/New Order
- Captain Beefheart*
Fiction vs. Reality: The Rock Hall’s actual Class of 2011 featured Alice Cooper, Neil Diamond, Dr. John, Darlene Love and Tom Waits.
You could make a case that none of those acts belong in the Rock Hall. We’ve already inducted Alice Cooper and Tom Waits. So clearly, the class wasn’t an entire loss.
But we opted not to induct Darlene Love, Dr. John or Neil Diamond. At least, not as “Performers.” If it were up to us, Love and Dr. John would be inducted in the “Award for Music Excellence” category, while Diamond could join nab the Ahmet Ertegun Award a la Carole King.
Those choices won’t be ideal for some people. But we just didn’t have those three ranked high as “Performers” as other artists on our list (Not including Diamond is sure to get us some nasty emails).
Thus, our Class of 2011 honors Peter Gabriel (inducted in real life as a solo artist in 2014), Iron Maiden, the next logical no-brainer metal act and Sonic Youth, one of the most influential rock bands of the past 30 years that has somehow never been nominated.
And we finally put Chic in. While some may ignorantly consider Chic a “disco band,” Nile Rodgers and company’s influence on dance music and hip-hop is essential to the post-1970s musical landscape.
Biggest debate: Combining Joy Division and New Order as one inductee might seem like cheating. But the Rock Hall has done it before with inductees like Parliament-Funkadelic and the Faces/Small Faces.
Separating Joy Division and New Order was impossible, as their legacies are tied together. Formed out of the ashes of Joy Division, New Order became one of the great alternative acts in UK history.
That was no easy task after Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis’ death. Combine both bands and you have music that influenced acts like Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails, The Killers, U2, Depeche Mode, Smashing Pumpkins and Jane’s Addiction.
*Legends Committee: We’ve already touched on acts that didn’t experience commercial success but whose influence was so tremendous they belong in the Rock Hall. Captain Beefheart is the definition of that.
Had Don Van Vliet debut in the 21st Century, he’d be a savior to music fans who visit website like Pitchfork and Paste. Captain Beefheart’s brilliant catalog features stunning avant-garde and experimental music that was far ahead of its time.
More importantly, he’s influenced more than a dozen bands – From Talking Heads and Blondie to Tom Waits and Nirvana – you would consider Rock Hall worthy. That’s something our Legends Committee couldn’t pass up.
What’s next: Guns N’ Roses leads the Class of 2012.