Prog rock gets ignored by the selection committee every year
by Tony Sclafani
updated 6:50 p.m. ET, Mon., March. 30, 2009
When the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame holds its annual induction ceremony April 4, there once again won’t be any progressive rock artists amongst its five honorees. The Rock Hall’s snubbing of the once-popular genre hasn’t gone unnoticed by its supporters.
In the past few years, fans of Yes and the Moody Blues have started online petitions to get those groups a nod. Blogs and Web sites question the Hall’s choices, as did Stephen Colbert when he interviewed Rush (who also have a campaign petition).
Decades ago, these groups packed thousands into stadiums and sold tons of vinyl by pushing the boundaries of rock. But evidence suggests their elaborate concept albums, impeccable musicianship and oblique lyrics might have pushed things too far for the Hall’s tastemakers.
The Hall began honoring performers in 1986, starting with pioneers like Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Elvis Presley. More recently, pop acts like Billy Joel, the Bee Gees and Madonna have made the cut, but Rush, Yes, the Moody Blues, Jethro Tull, the Electric Light Orchestra, Genesis, Emerson, Lake and Palmer and Soft Machine have not. Beyond Pink Floyd, the closest the Hall gets to prog is Queen (who flirted with the genre) and Police drummer Stuart Copeland, who played in Curved Air.
Prog rock (as it’s colloquially known) will especially be conspicuous in its absence at this year’s induction. Jeff Beck was already inducted with the Yardbirds (the Rock Hall has honored over a dozen musicians twice), while Little Anthony and Bobby Womack are artists with limited influence. Metallica and Run-DMC have leapfrogged over the classic prog bands with their nominations, since members of both groups were still in school when progressive rock ruled.
So who picked Run-DMC over Rush? Well, it’s a secret. Sort of.
According to Joel Peresman, president and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, Inc., the initial selections are made by a committee of 30 to 35 music business people — who Peresman won’t name.
READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE, detailing the woeful nomination process here:
Why the Rock Hall says: No Rush for you!