KISS gets passed up for ABBA at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
By Rick Coates
Recently, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland announced its
2010 induction class. But with a major band being snubbed again this
year, many are now calling it the Rock and Roll Hall of Shame.
When the nominations were announced nearly two months ago, KISS was on
the list and everyone had them as a shoe in; everyone that is, but
those who select the members. The outcry is over the fact that Swedish
pop stars ABBA made it in and KISS didnt.
For fans of KISS (referred to as the KISS Army) this is an absolute
outrage. KISS, their music and culture defines everything that rock
and roll has ever been about.
Bottom line is ABBA does not belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
(HOF); they should be in the Bubble Gum Music Hall of Fame.
Okay, before you ABBA lovers start sending in letters accusing me of
being a hater, let me note that I love ABBA, I liked them when they
came out, bought their records, CD, and their music is on my IPod
today. I even went to the ABBA tribute band concert a few years back
I have been writing about music and rock and roll for 32 years since
having my first article published in the Lansing Star in 1977 at the
age of 14 (on Ritchie Blackmore and Rainbow) so I think I know rock
and roll when I hear it. KISS is rock and roll and ABBA isnt.
The problem is the process of being inducted into the HOF is flawed.
The primary decision makers are not musicians themselves. People like
Rolling Stone publisher and HOF co-founder Jann Wenner and rock critic
Dave Marsh are the driving decision makers. In fact, Wenner himself is
in the HOF for his contributions to the world of rock.
There have been reports from some connected to the inner circle that
at the end of the day Jann Wenner and a few of his close associates
are the final decision makers and the 700 or so music industry
insiders who cast ballots really do not count.
The HOF denies these allegations, but their actions speak otherwise.
Come on, how could 700 people who claim to know something about rock
vote for ABBA over KISS?
Defining rock and roll has always been difficult. The music has taken
many directions since it was popularized by a bunch of white guys in
the 50s who were inspired by the blues and jazz tunes of African
When you look at the list of HOF inductees over the years you wonder
when you see Grandmaster Flash, The Bee Gees and Bill Monroe. Come on,
the grandfather of bluegrass is in the HOF and Ted Nugent is not?
The argument is that Monroe inspired guys like Chuck Berry and Elvis.
I say if you want to find out if Bill Monroe is rock and roll, put him
on stage at a Ted Nugent concert and see how long he lasts. Of course
Bill Monroe has passed away and that is not possible; and dont get me
wrong -- I own Bill Monroe albums, but he is not rock and roll.
WHY NOT BEETHOVEN?
So if the argument is that people who inspired rock and roll music
should get in then where is Mozart, Beethoven and Bach?
And if ABBA is in, where is Neil Diamond? Diamonds hits and
influence on popular music are known all over. What about Jimmy
Buffett? His music remains popular and he sells out large venues every
time he performs.
Speaking of that list of those eligible but not in, here are some
major omissions: The Moody Blues have been eligible for 20 years and
are not in. Jethro Tull, Steppenwolf, Steve Miller, Yes, Alice Cooper,
Grand Funk and Rush all have been eligible for years and have been
A whole host of bands from the 70s and 80s that are eligible but
have been bypassed to date, such as STYX, REO, Bad Company, Doobie
Brothers, Peter Frampton, Judas Priest and the list goes on.
One notable rocker not in is the Motor City Madman Ted Nugent. Here
was his answer about not being inducted during an interview he gave on
the Omellete and Finster radio show two years ago when Madonna was
It gets down to politics and Jann Wenner does not like mine, said
Nugent. Now Madonna belongs in some sort of hall of fame but not the
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but I dont need no HOF fame, I have my
own. It is called my fans.
One criticism I agree with is that HOF lets in too many inductees each
year. The Baseball Hall of Fame has been around for 75 years, yet the
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 25 years has just as many members.
Not everyone thinks it is special to be in the HOF: The Sex Pistols
sent in a piss off letter when they were inducted. I am waiting for
the day that a band or a musician steps up and asks to be taken out of
KISS will eventually get in, probably next year. There will be an
outcry, though the committee has ignored petitions from other fans of
other deserving groups over the years. But they simply cant ignore
the contributions KISS has made to the world of rock.
Expect KISS to take the stage of the Waldorf in 2011 and dont put it
past them to perform Dancing Queen in tribute to ABBA, after all,
the Swedish posters 8-track was played on the KISS tour bus every
night they were on the road.