R.E.M., Van Halen Headed to Hall?

R.E.M., Van Halen, Patti Smith, Stooges, Grandmaster Flash on ballot for 2007 induction; KISS, Billy Idol, Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, Eurythmics, Mötley Crüe get dissed

By Joal Ryan Oct 30, 2006 7:55 PMTags

R.E.M., but not the Replacements. The Stooges, but not MC5. Van Halen, but not Mötley Crüe, Billy Idol or KISS. 

Nominations were announced Monday for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's Class of 2007. And as happens, some eligible acts made the ballot; most didn't. 

The nominees are:  

  • producers Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards' funk group Chic ("Good Times");
  • British Invasion band the Dave Clark Five ("Glad All Over");
  • "White Lines" hip-hop pioneer Grandmaster Flash and his outfit, the Furious Five;
  • college/indie-rock icons R.E.M.;
  • 1960s girl-group/Phil Spector project The Ronettes ("Be My Baby");
  • punk poet Patti Smith (Horses);
  • Iggy Pop's breakthrough act, the Stooges ("I Wanna Be Your Dog");
  • the late soul singer/rap innovator Joe Tex ("Hold What You've Got"); and
  • arena-rock gods Van Halen.

Of the nine, R.E.M., The Ronettes and Van Halen are the only first-time nominees. And of the nine, only a maximum of five will end up in the Cleveland museum next year.

The inductees will be announced in January. The hall's typically jam-packed induction ceremony is scheduled for Mar. 12 in New York City.

An act becomes eligible for the Rock Hall of Fame 25 years after the release of its first single or album. On that basis, R.E.M., which hit college radio in 1981 with "Radio Free Europe," is the only band from this year's nominee crop to make the ballot in its first year of eligibility.

Artists and acts who, like R.E.M., debuted in 1981 but didn't score a Hall of Fame nomination on Monday included, per FutureRockHall.com: Billy Idol; Depeche Mode; Duran Duran; Eurythmics; Mötley Crüe; Phil Collins, the solo act (i.e., not the Genesis drummer); the Replacements; and the Stray Cats.

Veteran snubbed acts who got snubbed again included: KISS; Rush; Alice Cooper; and, much to the presumed dismay of the 258 signatories of the "Osmonds Rock & Roll Hall of Fame" online petition, the Osmonds.

Like the Osmonds' faithful, KISS' fans did their part to try to get their heroes on the ballot. In August, more than 500 members of the so-called "KISS Army" assembled outside the Rock Hall's headquarters to demand the band's induction. KISS, which released its first album in 1974, has been eligible for at least seven years.

One of this year's more curious snubees was MC5. The seminal Detroit rock band, a former nominee, was noted in the official nomination announcement as having helped shepherd the Stooges. And yet in the end, it was the Stooges that were nominated, and not MC5.

If record sales are any judge—and, frankly, they don't appear to be—then R.E.M. and Van Halen would have the inside track to the Hall. The highest-profile nominees, both groups have sold millions of albums, specializing in songs that helped score the post-boomer's life.

R.E.M., the jangly Atlanta outfit originally consisting of singer Michael Stipe, Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Bill Berry, was the preeminent band of 1980s college radio. Its hits include "Losing My Religion," "Stand" and "Man on the Moon."

Van Halen, the California hard-rock band distinguished by the guitar prowess of Eddie Van Halen and the lead vocals of David Lee Roth...and then Sammy Hagar...and then Gary Cherone...and then Sammy Hagar again, briefly, sold 10 million copies with its 1978 self-titled debut. 1984's 1984 sold another 10 million. Its hits include: "Jump," "Panama" and  "Right Now."