Breaking Down the Walls of the Rock Hall: Class of 1995

If there is one of the few years where most of the the general public knows all the inductees in the performer category, it will be 1995. The 1995 induction class is one of the masterclass of diverse megastars. With the inductees ranging from Heavy Metal, Southern Rock, Soul, Motown, Blues Rock and the Avant Garde.

Speaking of the Avant Garde, there’s no denying that Frank Zappa belongs in the Hall of Fame. Even though his music isn’t the Hall of Fame’s cup of tea, Zappa is too big to be excluded for induction. Frank Zappa is one of the most innovative musicians of the 20th Century that he bought Rock into artful and (mostly) weird heights whose work can never be replicated.

One of the first time eligibles that got inducted in 1995 was Janis Joplin. Joplin has become the poster child of female rockstars that has influenced a lot of artists and has influenced a lot of female artists today. Her distinct Blues style voice is considered one of the best in modern music and, like Hendrix, perfectly represents the psychedelic era of the 1960s.

Besides The Supremes, Martha & The Vandellas are probably the second most successful girl groups in Motown. You can’t induct all the famous Motown acts without inducting Martha Reeves. Their songs, which include “(Love Is Like a) Heat Wave”, “Nowhere to Run”, and most importantly “Dancing in the Street”, bought them great success and are still played to this day. Plus it’s fun to say B-52’s members Kate Pierson and Fred Schneider dancing along as Martha & The Vandellas played at the ceremony.

No matter on where you stand on Southern Rock in general, there’s no point in denying that The Allman Brothers Band are one of the most important bands of all time due basically them creating a new subgenre. Even though his life was cut short, Duane Allman is still one of the most influential guitarists of all time and is probably the most influential American guitarists besides Hendrix. And also Gregg Allman’s soulful voice and great keyboard playing has made The Allman Brothers not just a regular old bar band.

Another first-time eligible inductee that year is Neil Young. With a decade that spans 5 decades, Neil Young has done everything from Folk, Blues, Country, and even Electronic music. His heavy style of playing has been often consider the “Godfather of Grunge”, which coincidentally his induction year happened during the decade when Grunge blew up. Plus with him having been a fixture at Rock Hall ceremonies, there’s no way the Hall doesn’t enshrine him.

On the Soul side, there is also induction of Al Green. Green was, and still is, one of the most influential Soul artists in modern times that his Southern style of Soul music has became the standard sound of the 1970s. With songs like “Let’s Stay Together”, “I’m So Tired of Being Alone” and “Take Me to the River”, there’s no way to deny that he doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame.

And last, and certainly not least, there’s no denying that Led Zeppelin are shoo-ins once they became inducted. Zeppelin was one of the biggest bands during the 1970s that may as well be perceived as “The Beatles of 70s”. Controversy aside regarding the plagiarism of old American Blues standards, Zeppelin as an instrumentalist is so influential that many are still trying to imitate their style of playing.

The two inductees outside the main Performer categories were a very influential group of people. On the non-performer category there was the induction of journalist Paul Ackerman, who is considered as one of the first journalists to take Rock and Roll seriously and see it as an art form. In the Early Performers category saw the induction of The Orioles, a vocal group from the 1940s and early 50s who laid the blueprint for modern R&B groups.

Artists Who Were Nominated But Weren’t Inducted That Year

There were eight other artists on the 1995 ballot that didn’t get inducted, but were eventually got inducted later on after 1995. Since I already some of them or I’ll be doing them on later articles, here are the other nominees:

  • The Jackson Five
  • Jefferson Airplane
  • Joni Mitchell
  • Little Willie John
  • The Shirelles
  • The Velvet Underground

Final Thoughts

This is probably the only year everyone on the ballot is perfect for induction that the Hall couldn’t come up with a boring year. 1995 is the perfect year where it represents that Rock and Roll isn’t just played by white men playing guitars, but also female and POC that represents Rock and Roll.

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

  • Frank Zappa
  • Joni Mitchell
  • Neil Young
  • The Shirelles
  • The Velvet Underground

Neil Young and Led Zeppelin were my final cuts