I gotta be honest, the 2016 induction class isn’t my favorite of all time in the history of the Rock Hall. Not because the inductees is undeserving (although I’m borderline on one inductee), but because it represents what’s wrong with the Hall. While a lot of people criticize the Hall for not inducting a lot of deserving acts sooner, not a lot of people are criticizing the Hall for not inducting more women. The 2016 class is such a sausage fest that not only all of the artists from 2016 are male, but also their music represented the type that you’ll hear at jock jams.
Although Deep Purple really deserve to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, them being inducted this year just feels really meh to me. If they were inducted in 2013 first nominated, I will be very excited, but them inducted in 2016 the excitement waned off. Deep Purple really deserves to be in the Hall of Fame because they are known as one of the three creators of the Metal genre. But I get that the reason why they have to wait that long because outside of the Metal community, most people only know them just for “Smoke On the Water” (and maybe some tracks on Machine Head) and nothing else. Still, better late than never.
And oh boy I get why the Hall aren’t enthuse about inducting Chicago until this year. Like Neil Diamond, Chicago were kept out for so long because they are more well known for their Adult Contemporary stuff. But unlike Neil Diamond, Chicago’s music doesn’t have the charm as Diamond’s songs are. Even their stuff from the 80s outweigh most of their good years that it’s becoming to see the band as a great Jazz-Rock band who did “25 or 6 to 4”.
One of the two inductees that I actually like from this year was N.W.A. And let’s be real, the Rock Hall voters wouldn’t have inducted them if it wasn’t for how a cultural juggernaut the Straight Outta Compton film was at the time. Which I get because N.W.A. represents, and somehow created, most of the negative aspects of the Hip Hop genre. But the induction of N.W.A. was a breath of fresh compared to the other inductees that represents Classic Rock. Plus, Ice Cube made a good argument in his acceptance speech that Rock and Roll is not just about playing the electric guitar, but it’s also about the rebellious spirit.
Although there’s a case to be made for why Steve Miller deserves to be inducted, I’m just not that big fan of him. Like fellow inductees Chicago, Miller’s output might be considered as “lame” by most people, but unlike Chicago at least there’s some likability for them. And it’s not the “Steve Miller Band” that’s getting inducted, it’s just only “Steve Miller” himself. Which seems like the wrong way to do because most of his albums are credited as “The Steve Miller Band”. Although the only good thing about Steve Miller’s induction is him calling out on the Hall’s poorly induction process and calls for a need to induct more women into the Hall.
Another 2016 inductee that I like was Cheap Trick. The reason why I appreciated Cheap Trick more than any of the classic rock acts in this year is because they were more than just a guitar driven band, they are a good times. And really, it’s hard to hate Cheap Trick. Their personas are so lovable and really fits with their music as well.
Only one person was inducted outside of the main Performers category and that is Bert Berns in the non-performer category. Bert Berns is a songwriter who had written a lot of great and classic songs such as “Twist and Shout”, “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love” and “Piece of My Heart”.
Artists Who Were Nominated But Weren’t Inducted That Year
There ten other artists who were nominated for the 2016 ceremony and they would’ve made better inductees than two of the actual inductees. I already talked about The Cars and Nine Inch Nails on their respective years, and I will talk about Yes when I do my retrospective article on 2017, and I already mentioned Chaka Khan on the years she was nominated with Rufus, and I already explained so many times on why Chic isn’t on the Hall of Fame that it’s becoming tiring and self-defeating for me.
One of the artists that got nominated, but eventually got inducted that I will talk at length in here is Janet Jackson. There was hype around Janet Jackson when she was announced that she got nominated and many people thought that she will get inducted for this year. But sadly she didn’t get inducted, and she has to wait for another three years to finally get her in. It’s a damn shame that the Super Bowl fiasco was still fresh in people’s mind that it may be a reason why she didn’t get inducted in 2016.
This was the second nominations The Smiths, but I get why they didn’t want to vote for them given how big of a jerk Morrissey is. Los Lobos also seemed like the type of band that Hall voters would be interesting in inducting, but they just didn’t have enough votes to make it to the final list. To most people, they don’t know who The J.B.’s are, but they are better off in the sidemen category because, even though they have hits of their own, they are more well known as James Brown’s backing band. Heck, even the name of the band is literally James Brown’s initials. And it’s still a disappointment that The Spinners are still not in the Hall of Fame yet. They’re one of the major R&B acts of the 1970s and their songs still play today. That alone should get them into the Hall automatically.
Like I said before, this class is so male dominant that it sets everything that is wrong about the Rock Hall for the next two years. Not only does the Hall had to play catch up on inducting acts that should’ve been inducted years ago, but it also blocks really deserving acts that should be in right away. The only thing I will say about this class is that unlike 2018, at least some of the inductees were interesting.
Artists Who I would’ve Voted If I Had a Real Ballot:
- Janet Jackson
- Nine Inch Nails
- The Spinners