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Ten Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees who could be bumped to make room for the Replacements

In what’s become an annual ritual since the Replacements first became eligible in 2006, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame declined to induct the seminal Minneapolis band. This year, for the first time, the ‘Mats were at least included on the ballot sent to voters by a Hall of Fame nominating committee—but when the votes were counted, the Let It Be band didn’t make the cut. It’s hard to argue with voters’ decision to induct Nirvana this year, but other inductees are more arguable…so let’s argue. If we could bump an act—either a present or past inductee—to make room for Paul and Tommy and Bob and Chris, here are some acts that might be considered.

Donovan (2012 inductee). It took the Hall a long time to finally decide to induct this top-ten troubadour, and there’s a reason for that. The most notorious of the would-be Dylans, Donovan suffered a public takedown by Dylan himself, who is seen in the documentary Don’t Look Back destroying the British singer-songwriter in an impromptu battle of the folkies at a U.K. house party. Donovan looks better when his trippy output is considered on its own merits, but still, he’s clearly a marginal choice for the Hall of Fame.

Billy Joel (1999 inductee). Like a lot of kids, I thought Billy Joel was awesome. Our super-cool aunt Betsy would come over and put An Innocent Man on the turntable, and my siblings and I would all jump around and dance. As I grew up and learned more about Joel’s musical influences, the Piano Man started to seem a little watered-down. I asked my aunt about it, since I still regarded her taste as unimpeachable. “Oh yeah,” she admitted. “I just played that stuff because you guys liked it. I think Billy Joel is a wimp.”

John Mellencamp (2008 inductee). Speaking of watered-down, this quintessential “heartland rocker” has a few indelible singles, but if the Hall is going to induct Bruce Springsteen and—in a separate induction, this year—the E Street Band, does Johnny Cougar really need to be in there too?

Andrew Loog Oldham (2014 inductee). Sure, he has a cool name…still, his main claim to (the Rock and Roll Hall of) fame was being the Rolling Stones’ manager. He produced the Stones’ early records, but as a production ingenue, his contributions were nowhere near on the level of, say, worthy inductee George Martin’s contributions to the Beatles’ records. Oldham’s relationship with the Stones didn’t last much beyond the Summer of Love, and while he’s remained active in various aspects of the music industry, Oldham hasn’t done anything especially notable since the 60s.

Red Hot Chili Peppers (2012 inductees). Sorry not sorry, but Blood Sugar Sex Magik is the musical equivalent of an hourlong wet willy. Of course, that’s just my opinion—but even if you’re into that sort of thing, there’s a certain LOL factor here.

Linda Ronstadt (2014 inductee). As an interpreter and collaborator, Ronstadt has been a standby of the pop and country music scenes for 35 years. Still, do her artistic contributions merit inclusion in the Hall over the Replacements—or the Meters, or Chic? Discuss.

Rush (2013 inductees). The Nick Andopolises of the world are going to howl at me for putting Rush on this list, but despite the Canadian crushers’ vast following, the section of the record store where Rush’s influence might be most clearly heard is in the hard rock cutout bin.

Cat Stevens (2014 inductee). If Stevens actually shows up at the induction ceremony, Ali Lozoff pointed out, he’d better give a shout-out to Wes Anderson.

Jann S. Wenner (2004 inductee). This just looks bad, given that the Rolling Stone publisher was a co-founder of the Hall of Fame and has endured persistent criticism of his role in the organization. Does Wenner’s ego really need this?

ZZ Top (2004 inductees). Listen, I love me some “Sleeping Bag” as much as the next guy, but…c’mon.

  • funoka

    The Replacements should be in — I have faith they will eventually make it. You know who else should be in — X (the band). I am with you on Donovan — and he’s not the only old-time rocker that’s in with questionable credentials. It’s like some of the old-timers in the baseball Hall of Fame — they wouldn’t get in now with the stats they compiled in their heyday.

    Wenner should be in. While r-o-c-k is in an extended downcycle on the popular charts — he’s keeping its flickering flame alive with at least a couple of articles in each issue of Rolling Stone. There’s a lot not to like in RS too — but nobody’s forcing me to read cover stories on Miley Cyrus.

    Linda Rondstadt deserves to be in — why have a Hall of Fame without rock’s superwoman of the 1970s? Ditto for Mellencamp — in addition to all the Cougar-era hits, starting in 1985, he helped plant the seeds for the Americana movement with Scarecrow, Lonesome Jubilee, and Big Daddy, while Bruce toiled away on Tunnel of Love. ZZ Top, Rush, and Cat Stevens are not my favorites, but they’ve got the chops to be in, and all were part of the era when rock ruled the music world.

  • Cody Baird

    The Replacements are great, but there’s no need to bump someone else to make room for them. With the exception of John Mellencamp (not a bad artist but rather derivative) and Oldham (not really that vital), all of these artists deserve to be here. Maybe the Hall of Fame just needs to admit more artists each year, as the number of important bands out there seems to increase steadily. But I suppose we should keep some degree of restriction, or else we’ll see Limp Bizkit inducted one day…

  • steinbeckian

    Sorry, but how long was The Replacements’ run vs. any number of these inductees you want to bump? Three factors dominate who gets picked, likely in this order: commercial success, musical influence, and longevity. On that front bands like ZZ Top and Rush rule all three. (The latter is still releasing relevant records and filling arenas on their own after four decades, for Chrissakes. Love ’em or hate ’em, that’s a pretty much unparalleled accomplishment in the rock world.) Nirvana gets the first two, Billy Joel gets at least 1 and 3. The Peppers get all three, and hey, Blood Sugar stands as possibly the only viable popular funk record of the 90s, dammit. Which says as much about the 90s as it does the band, but whatever. The Replacements, while darlings of this scene, do not resonate nationally the way Minneapolis fans seem to think they do, nor did they have an uber-successful quadzillion platinum moment a la Guns N Roses, nor did they last, sporadic reunions notwithstanding. This year massively classic bands like Deep Purple and Yes got passed over; the Replacements will likely need to wait awhile. Or hell, pull a Rush and release a badass career-twilight album and get everyone’s attention. Couldn’t hurt.

  • Roland

    What, no disdain for this year’s watered down pop inductees, haulin’ oats?