Breaking Down the Walls of the Rock Hall: Class of 1998

1998 was a combination of the keeping up with the times while also playing catch-up of inducting any major bands during the late 1960s without having to wait ten years to do so. By just looking at who got inducted in 1998, it feels like a great concert lineup even though they have to perform in the Waldorf Astoria ballroom. And it also feels like a major year for California bands to get inducted into the Hall.

One of the California bands to get inducted that year were The Mamas & The Papas. Although their success was, surprisingly, short lived, the band were one of major Folk bands in the late 60s and one of major artists of the Flower movement that they changed of how Folk music sounded when musicians from Greenwich Village dominated that genre. Plus, recording the song “California Dreamin’” alone should be enough merits for the band to get inducted.

While not a lot of people know him, Lloyd Price definitely belongs in the Rock Hall. Even though he wasn’t as big of an artist like other 50s R&B artists from Chess or Atlantic Records, Price was very different than them. Combining Blues, R&B, Pop, and Rock, Price had much success during that time with hits like “Stagger Lee” and “Lawdy Miss Clawdy”.

Gene Vincent is probably one of the early Rock & Roll artists who is the only true “Rockabilly” artist (besides Wanda Jackson) in the Hall. His songs sound too country, but too rough to be country during that era (which is basically the definition of Rockabilly). with his most famous song “Be-Bop-A-Lula”, Gene Vincent really belongs in the Hall on that song and his Rockabilly influence alone.

One of the major inductees that made headlines that year was Santana. There’s no need to explain why Santana deserves to be in the Hall other than they were one of the biggest Rock bands to have their influence from Latin America (it would take another three years to get Ritchie Valens inducted). Plus, their performance of “Black Magic Woman” with fellow inductee Peter Green was really great. Also, their induction was one year before the juggernauts known as Supernatural and “Smooth” was released.

Speaking of Peter Green, I have a feeling that when someone on the Nominating Committee mentions Fleetwood Mac on the meeting, they were probably saying “Wait a minute, they were already eligible?!”. And they should be inducted that early because they are one of the biggest and successful acts in the world and their 1975 self titled album and Rumours alone should be merits for induction. And it’s great that they inducted the early members of the band with them. Also if you want to know why Bob Welch wasn’t inducted, there were some rumors (no pun intended) that Mick Fleetwood told the Hall not to include him because there might be a conflict between him and the band behind the scenes.

Couldn’t find a good performance of their induction, so I’ll stick with the acceptance speech.

Whether you you like them or not, there’s no denying that the Eagles belong in the Hall of Fame. Like Fleetwood Mac, the Eagles manage to retain big success because of one album (which in the Eagles case it’s Hotel California). Plus, their stylings Folk Rock, Country Rock, and Soft Rock were one of the major sounds of the 70s that didn’t try to sound like Zeppelin and is still being imitated by other artists to this day.

The inductees on other categories are also deserving as well. First there was Allen Toussaint on the non performers category. Even though he should be in the Performers category since he also has success as a recording artist, Toussaint should be in the Hall. Then there’s Jelly Roll Morton in the Early Influence. Even though he is primarily known as a Jazz artist (although some people could make case for previously inducted Louis Armstrong or even Frank Sinatra on why they should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame), his style of playing might be considered as one of Pop music, which Rock and Roll was during the 50s to 80s.

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

There were ten other artists who were on the ballot but didn’t get inducted in 1998. Besides Joe Tex, all of the nominees were future inductees. Since I would be doing analysis on them in their respective years, here were the nominees of 1998:

  • Billy Joel
  • Del Shannon
  • Dusty Springfield
  • Earth, Wind & Fire
  • Gene Pitney
  • The Moonglows
  • Solomon Burke
  • The Stooges

Final Thoughts

The problems about how the Hall picks it’s inductees weren’t that noticeable, but 1998 was a good enough year. Like I said above, it was perfect year of keeping up with the times. And they manage to play catch-up to a maximum of two artists a year (which the Hall should be doing today).

Artist Who I Would Vote If I Had a Real Ballot:

  • Dusty Springfield
  • Fleetwood Mac
  • Earth, Wind & Fire
  • Santana
  • The Stooges