Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson calls the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame “a popularity contest”



By Steve Newton

If you’re a Rush fan, you’ve no doubt heard that the Canuck power trio has finally been nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The group has been eligible for induction since 1999–25 years after the release of its self-titled debut album (featuring drummer John Rutsey!)–and one of the main complaints about the Hall of Fame since then has been the consistent dismissal of Geddy Lee and Co. as not worthy.

Not that being barred from the Hall has bothered Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson that much.

“Personally it never really mattered to me,” Lifeson told in a story posted Thursday, in advance of tonight’s Rush show at Newark’s Prudential Center. “I’m really happy for the Rush fans who feel that it is really important, and I hope we’re inducted for their sake.”

Of course, to make the grade this year Rush will have to beat out such legendary rockers as Chic, the Marvellettes, Donna Summer, and Randy Newman. Let’s see: Rush or Randy Newman? “2112” or “Short People”? Tough decision.

Then there’s the question of whether Rush would even have room for a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame statuette on its mantlepiece, which is already overflowing with gold and platinum albums and such prestigious Canadian accolades as the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement, which it scored last March.

“The acknowledgement we got from the Canadian government, and by extension Canadians, is very dear to us,” Lifeson said of the latter prize. “The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is more a popularity contest.”

To its credit, the Hall of Fame also made up for its godawful record somewhat by finally nominating Deep Purple–which has been eligible for induction even longer than Rush, since 1993. Purple should have been a shoo-in in ’93 on the strength of it’s 1972 album Machine Head alone.

We here at Ear of Newt also cheer the long-overdue nomination of blues great Albert King. Now maybe those wankers on the nomination committee will start thinking about giving King’s favourite guitarist, Stevie Ray Vaughan, a shot.

And here’s a few other well-known acts they should consider if they ever want to be taken seriously by the likes of us:  Blue Oyster Cult, Dick Dale, Dire Straits, Free, Gary Moore, Humble Pie, Iron Maiden, J. Geils Band, Jethro Tull, Johnny Winter, Link Wray, Motorhead, Mott the Hoople, the New York DollsPeter Green, Rick Derringer, Robin Trower, Ronnie MontroseRory Gallagher, Ten Years After, T. Rex, Thin LizzyUFO, Warren Zevon, Wishbone Ash, and Yes.

Randy Newman my ass.

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