Breaking Down the Walls of the Rock Hall: Class of 2005

2005 was the year when the Rock Hall started to become what it is today. It may not seem apparent at first, but the template has been set for future inductions after this year. 15 artists on the ballot, but only 5 can be officially inducted. This class, in my opinion, is mixed at best.

If you’re gonna have a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, or a Music Hall of Fame in general, then you cannot leave out Buddy Guy for induction. Like I mentioned with Leonard Cohan on my 2008 class article, Buddy Guy seems like the type of artist who will get in right away as soon as he appears on the ballot. Besides B.B. King, who gave a speech about Buddy in the ceremony, Buddy is probably one of the most influential modern Blues guitarists in history. He’s also still playing and making new music to this day.

Also, you can’t go wrong with inducting The O’Jays as well. The band are the textbook definition of the Philly Soul sub-genre and their songs are still being played to this day (even though a certain “politician” used one of their songs as a theme to his reality show).

For most Rock Hall analysts, many seem to agree that Percy Sledge is the least deserving inductee of all time because he is a one-hit wonder. Technically, Sledge has three other top 20 singles but I can see their point. No radio stations hasn’t played any Percy Sledge song besides “When a Man Loves a Woman”. But in my opinion, I don’t find Sledge to be unworthy, although he would’ve been great if he was inducted on weak ballot.

When I first knew more about the Hall, I was actually surprised that The Pretenders were inducted on their first year when they became eligible. Although they have good to great songs in their catalogue, I don’t find them as “first year inductees” like the other first year eligible that got inducted the same year as them. Although it’s nice that The Pretenders one of the few inductees where a woman got inducted on her first try (and it’s not a lie that I might’ve vote for them if I had a real ballot).

And last, and certainly not least, it’s really a no-brainer that U2 got inducted on the year when they finally became eligible for induction. No matter how much you think of Bono, you can’t deny that they were still one of the biggest acts in the world at that point. Very few inductees have made music that are still worthwhile after their induction, and U2 is one of them.

The inductees on the non-performer inductees are unknown to most people if they aren’t that big into music, but they make sense. Frank Barsalona was a major concert promotor and he is the second most influential promoter right behind Bill Graham. Barsalona even got a mention on the film Almost Famous. Seymour Stein is a record executive who signed major artists like Talking Heads, Ramones, Madonna, The Cure and many others into his label Sire Records. While he may seem like your your run of the mill executive, he was something that many artists can respect. Ice-T, one of the artists Stein has signed, said about Stein in his autobiography that he was unlike other stuffy music executives and he wouldn’t made any edits to his artists’ songs, but would sometimes voice some concerns.

Artists Who Were Nominated, But Didn’t Get Inducted on This Year

The other ten artists on the ballot features seven artists who got inducted later after 2005. So stay tuned for my future analysis on Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Patti Smith, Sex Pistols, The Stooges, and Wanda Jackson on their respective ceremonies.

One artist who got inducted after 2005 that I will comment on is Randy Newman. Now, unless if you were a major music head or a critic at that time, you would only know Randy Newman as the guy who did Pixar songs. 2005 was also the year when YouTube launched, but it wouldn’t became what it is today, which makes it harder for people to know Newman’s non-Pixar films.

Now it’s no secret that the Rock Hall is doesn’t induct a lot of Country artists besides a few like Johnny Cash, but it’s still a mystery of why Conway Twitty was nominated over other Country artists like Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton. Yes Conway Twitty started out as a teen idol during his first years of his and Elvis also did Country in the same vein as Conway’s music, but people know Conway Twitty more as a Country artist the same way as people know Elvis as the “King of Rock & Roll” than a Country artist.

Speaking of Country, this was the third nomination for Country Rock pioneer Gram Parsons. Parsons is one of the most influential artists who still not in the Hall and he has many friends and admirers who are voters. But I read from many people that Parsons might’ve been the type of person who would’ve been hard to be around.

2005 was also the year for the first of five appearances of The J. Geils Band. The J. Geils Band might be one of those artists that the Hall voters would find a hard time to find a reason to vote for them. Many people say they are a good live local band, but most of the praises are from the New England area, which most voters are not from there. The only way they would be inducted is if a ballot is scarce with guitar-driven acts.

Final Thoughts

2005 was the year where the Hall is starting to have it’s problems. Having the performer inductees be set to just five instead of at least seven or eight inductees just a lot more backlogs of artists waiting to be inducted. And it’ll make future induction ceremonies sometimes boring. I can think of at least two or three artists who were nominated that year that were deserving to be inducted from the other five.

Artists Who I Would’ve Voted If I Had a Real Ballot:

  • The O’Jays
  • The Pretenders
  • Patti Smith
  • The Stooges
  • U2

(Buddy Guy and Gram Parsons would’ve made my final cut)