PopMatters defends Rush’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

From Popmatters:

You can ague until you are blue in the face (because most music fans/critics do) about the legitimacy of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as an institution, noting, for instance, how it’s ridiculous to include members of the hip-hop community, or how it’s all just one big vanity project for Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner. You can cite how the absence of some artists utterly devalues the concept as a whole because, let’s say, acts like Kiss aren’t included and they had such an enormous impact on the rock ‘n’ roll culture. You can even question the voting process, personal agendas, $10 hamburgers at the museum’s cafeteria, or the nerve of a group of people claiming that such a creation should be the single go-to source for what’s great in popular music history. You can do all of that, and you’d be justified and supported by a throng of aficionados who probably agree with most everything you say.

But let’s remove ourselves from all that for a minute and focus solely on the argument that this particular band should be void of all Hall of Fame recognition based on what Roberts and Lews—who are admittedly two successful and respected voices in music critic circles, and who, it should also be noted, are far more celebrated than silly, stupid me, who couldn’t ever even dream of a gig at something like the Los Angeles Times—had to say. Both argue that Rush took music from where it should be located on one’s anatomic structure—they say the heart and soul—and brought it to the head. This, apparently, is a sin of monumental consequence.

“Along the way there had been petitions, one of which laid out a convincing argument: We believe that Rush has been sorely overlooked in the United States for far too long by the popular media and the critics,” Roberts wrote. “The Hall of Fame was founded to recognize outstanding achievements and contributions to the world of rock music. Inducting Rush will legitimize that claim by recognizing one band in particular that has contributed dramatically to the rock genre while continually preserving its integrity.

“Among the reasons Rush deserved inclusion, according to the petition: Rush has 22 consecutive gold records, and is fourth behind the Beatles, Stones, and Kiss in all-time gold records for a band. Fourteen of those albums have gone platinum. Rush has inspired such bands as Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, The Tragically Hip, Smashing Pumpkins, Primus, Queensryche, and many more. Rush’s lineup has remained unchanged since their first major tour in 1974. Rush has consistently put out records that reflect their own artistic growth and change, without compromising the band’s integrity for the sake of sales.” (“Rush vindicated: A Rock Hall of Fame berth for Canadian rock band”, by Randall Roberts, Los Angeles Times, 4 October 2012)

It doesn’t stop there. NPR’s Mark Memmott weighed in, too, when he noted the results of an NPR poll asking if the band should be in the Hall of Fame: 21,647 voters clicked yes. 587 said no. (“Rush Fans, It’s Time to Rock: Band’s Been Nominated to the Hall of Fame”, by Mark Memmott, NPR, 4 October 2012) The Globe And Mail‘s Brad Wheeler counted himself among the many who think the group deserves to be recognized as well. “Rush is the serious goods; no time for the dainty. And it’s called progressive rock for a reason, so, rubes, move on,” he wrote. “If for the concept album 2112 alone, this audacious nerd trio belongs in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, that messed-up place of Madonna, backbeats and and ersatz priests from The Temples of Syrinx. … Pretentious lyrics and outrageous time signatures from Neil Peart? Bring it on. … Listen to Rush’s music and hear what it can do, Rock and Hall of Fame in Cleveland. There’s something there as strong as life—it’s about time it reached you.” (“Does Rush deserve its Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nomination?”, by James Adams and Brad Wheeler, The Globe And Mail, 5 October 2012)

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