It’s hard to believe it but we’re only roughly 4-6 weeks until the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announces the 2015 induction nominees. As I mentioned in my review of last month’s Tesla concert (read it here), they’ve been around for 27+ years. They, and pretty much all of the hair bands, are now eligible for induction. Given that none have gone in yet (I don’t consider Guns and Roses to be a hair metal band) and that they put in Nirvana last year, I hope they don’t plan on skipping this group of bands. Although, given how long they made Alice Cooper, Kiss and Rush wait, it may be a while before we see them rightly inducted.
Love them or hate them, they are significant in rock history. Beyond some great music and creating the fashion of the day, they were plastered all over MTV in their heyday when they actually focused on music. It was these screaming electric guitar bands that made Unplugged cool (given the idea was born through a Bon Jovi VMA performance and Tesla’s Five Man Acoustical Jam – if you believe the legends) before epic artists like Eric Clapton and Paul McCartney performed on the show.
Like any era in rock, there are the great bands and the horrible ones. Here are my thoughts on who should and shouldn’t make it into the Rock Hall.
Should already be in:
Bon Jovi – They were hands down the biggest band during the hair metal era. The fact that they’ve gone on to be even bigger now than they were then only solidifies the fact that they should be inducted. They led the charge and when they needed to adapt, they did successfully.
Def Leppard – This band has never given up. Even through personnel changes, their guitarist passing away and their drummer losing an arm, Def Leppard has continued to rock on. Through the strength of Pyromania and the hugeness that is Hysteria, their status is cemented in rock history. Their longevity is a testament to the staying power of their hits. One side note: do you induct Mutt Lange with the band? I would.
Motley Crue – I’ll be honest. Based solely on music, I don’t think I put Motley Crue in. Don’t get me wrong, they’ve got some good songs, but it’s been a long time since there was a Motley Crue conversation that focused only on their music. That’s not a knock on them and, luckily, the Rock Hall loves the drama and showmanship that Motley Crue delivers constantly. More style than substance, it suits them well and catapulted them to the status that they enjoy today.
Tesla – There aren’t enough people arguing for Tesla to be inducted yet. So, I’m going to start it because they may just be the best true band to come out of the era. Their timing may hurt them a bit because other than their long hair, they’re not really a hair metal band. They’re simply a kick ass, down and dirty rock band that continues to put out incredible music and constantly tour. It’s time they start to get the recognition they deserve.
Whitesnake – A gritty rock and blues band that is wrongly more remembered for Tawny Kitaen sprawled out on a car than for their music. It doesn’t help that David Coverdale changes the band with almost every CD. He’s played with some great guitarists including John Sykes, Adrian Vandenburg, Steve Vai, Reb Beach and Doug Aldrich. They continue to tour and make music. In fact, their last couple of releases have been easily their strongest since 1987’s self titled CD.
Poison – Maybe the best example of the hair metal era. They combined everything that people love about the hair bands with the excesses that signaled the focus was more on their image than their music. They did have some good songs…actually improving ten fold when they replaced CC Deville with Richie Kotzen and Blues Saraceno. They’ve since reunited with CC and have carried on the full embodiment of all that is hair metal.
Borderline, but probably not:
Skid Row – With Sebastian Bach, they were one of the best bands to come out during the era. Without Sebastian Bach, they somehow continue to make music that no one pays any attention to…including me. It’s been said for years that a reunion tour could be the biggest tour anywhere…with the exception of a true Guns and Roses reunion. Unfortunately, it’ll likely never happen and Skid Row will continue to crush any chances they have of being relevant.
Ratt – Granted with the success of “Round and Round” and Out of the Cellar, they helped lead the hair metal charge. However, while I like their songs, they don’t seem to have the depth of the better bands of their day. Good for nostalgia, but I don’t see them getting in.
Cinderella – Another band that was just a great hard rock/blues band. See them live and you’ll see past their hair metal image. Unfortunately, Tom Keifer had very serious issues with his voice that took years to recover from. They continue to tour on and off now, but I don’t know if they’ll be taken seriously enough to make it in.
Not Gonna Happen:
Warrant – Even with Jani Lane being from Cleveland, they’re not getting the support. It’s a shame because he was a very good songwriter. It also doesn’t help that while the original band had big hits, the musicality actually got better after replacing both original guitarists. Eventually, a full blown reunion was cut short when Lane’s substance abuse got him thrown out of the band. Similar to Skid Row, they continue to tour with a new singer…and few care.
Winger – Beavis and Butthead ruined any chance of Winger being taken seriously for just about anything…enough said.
Well, there you have it. My thoughts on the hair metal chances for the Rock Hall. I know, I know. There are a ton of bands I didn’t message…Extreme, Kix, Wasp, LA Guns…we can go on and on. I’ve got to cut it off somewhere though. The only other band I’ll mention is The Scorpions. They saw huge success in the ’80’s, but they actually started out in the ’70’s, so I don’t consider them a hair band. But, they should definitely be in there already.
What do you think? Am I right on? Full of crap? Tell me who you want to see in. That’s the fun of these discussions! I look forward to hearing from you.