Thirteen years after they first became eligible (and their fans started a yearly call-to-arms on their behalf, followed by an equally predictable round of hand-wringing and disappointment) Rush will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of its Class of 2013.
By now, the arguments of Rush Nation are familiar: the band has more gold records than any band save The Rolling Stones and The Beatles, and somewhat unique among “classic rock” artists, their new releases all debut at or near the top of the album charts, despite almost no radio airplay. Why? Because the rock cognoscenti (most notably Hall co-founder and Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner) disdain hard rock and progressive music, and as such have excluded bands like Rush, Jethro Tull and Iron Maiden.
But the writing has been on the wall of late. Genesis was inducted in 2010 and popped the Hall’s prog-rock cherry, so to speak. And this year, for the first time, fans were allowed to weigh in online. Unsurprisingly given their fans’ fervor, Rush ran away with that prize, taking 24% of votes, eight percentage points above No. 2 vote-getter Deep Purple.
Speaking to Rolling Stone, frontman Geddy Lee said, “It’s a terrific honor and we’ll show up smiling…It made my mom happy, so that’s worth it. … It was a cause [Rush fans] championed. I’m very relieved for them and we share this honor with them, for sure.”
In addition to Rush and non-performers Lou Adler and Quincy Jones, five other inductees were named. They are:
- Heart: One can dismiss the Wilson sisters and their Seattle brethren as classic rock leftovers (and one can surely dismiss their Aqua Netted 80s pop period), but it’s easy to forget how excellent their first two albums, Dreamboat Annie and Little Queen, were, and how they held the torch for women in the male-dominated era of arena rock.
- Randy Newman: Forget his recent period of composing scores for animated films. Long before that, Newman stood along with Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen as one of the greatest songwriters of his generation. Apart from his own recordings, his work was covered by Harry Nilsson, Judy Collins, Three Dog Night and Dusty Springfield.
- Public Enemy: If you’re going to allow rap acts into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, then Public Enemy surely deserves to be at the head of that list.
- Donna Summer: Come to think of it, why not just call it the Pop Hall of Fame? Anyhow, like rap, disco has also made inroads in the Hall of late, and with The Bee Gees getting their due 15 years ago, Summer is a logical follow-up.
- Albert King: Twenty years dead, King continues a long line of blues greats finally getting their due from the Hall, although it’s been curious which of them have been inducted as “Early Influencers” and which got in as full-fledged performers. King’s recording of “Born Under a Bad Sign,” as well as his huge influence on Stevie Ray Vaughn, certainly makes him worthy for the former, though the latter is debatable.
Among those eligible acts NOT getting in this time around included Kraftwerk, Deep Purple, KISS, Joan Jett, George Michael, N.W.A., Los Lobos and The Smiths.