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Breaking Down the Walls of the Rock Hall: Class of 2003

Continuing off where 2002 started, the 2003 Induction Ceremony was also the “Punk Year” as the inductees were mostly from Punk. Just by looking at the list of inductees and you can tell that this is most deserving artists to be in the Hall.

First off, there’s really no explanation as to why The Clash belongs in the Hall. They were touted as “The only band that matters” during their time together. Their albums such as London Calling, Sandinista, and Combat Rock are still classics and the songs from those albums are still being played to this day.

Although there isn’t much in there resume that argues for induction, the name The Righteous Brothers should be enough to get them in the Hall. The Righteous Brothers’ blue-eyed soul music was one of the most successful in the early 60s and what defined American music during the British Invasion. Also, “You Lost That Loving Feeling” should be enough as to why The Righteous Brothers should be worthy for induction.

While their time together is short, The Police had changed soundscape of Pop music during those five years. Their Punk aesthetic mixed with Reggae has endured and has been imitated by any act who was influenced by them. Even though they were in the Punk scene since the very beginning, The Police took their influence on not just Reggae, but on more Pop as well.

Another inductee who had a Punk aesthetic that year was Elvis Costello & The Attractions. When you hear the name “Elvis Costello”, you know that he is Hall of Fame worthy. Costello and The Attractions have combined Punk attitude with a Power Pop sound in the same as Big Star did. And it was great that The Attractions were inducted alongside Costello because besides My Aim is True, most of Costello’s famous albums were credited alongside The Attractions.

The big act that was inducted in 2003 was AC/DC. Even though the Hall has some bias against Metal in general, AC/DC were able to get in very early because AC/DC might be seen as borderline Hard Rock, which the Hall might able to accept (and also the members said that their music is just “rock and roll”). And there’s really know denying that AC/DC are Hall of Fame material because they are one of the best selling acts of all time (a rare feat for a Hard Rock act). With hit albums as Back in Black and Highway to Hell, AC/DC are one of the bands that defined the Rock and Roll mythos.

There are three inductees in the other categories as well. These include Benny Benjamin (a drummer for Motown’s sessions band The Funk Brothers), Floyd Cramer (a piano player that defined the Nashville sound and worked with artists such as Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson) and Steve Douglas (a saxophonist who worked with artists such as The Beach Boys and Bob Dylan). And also Mo Ostin, a record executive on Warner Music, Verve, and Reprise whose sign acts such as Prince and Neil Young.

Artists Who Were Nominated But Didn’t Get Inducted That Year

Besides Steve Winwood’s solo career, most of the nominees were artists that I already (or will be) talked about. Here are the 2003 nominees:

  • ABBA
  • Black Sabbath
  • Chic*
  • The Dells
  • Kraftwerk*
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • MC5*
  • Patti Smith
  • The Sex Pistols

Final Thoughts

This class may not be perfect due to the Performer inductees are all white, the inductees are still Hall of Fame worthy. I would’ve added at least two or three more inductees to add more diversity, but at least they got in eventually. It might not be evident at first, but 2003 might be the last year of the Rock Hall’s golden age because the years after 2003 mostly have inductees that should’ve been inducted early and limited the number of inductees per year.

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

  • ABBA
  • Black Sabbath
  • The Clash
  • Kraftwerk
  • Patti Smith