By Steve Newton
So the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame did it again. Today the poorly-named musical dumping ground in Cleveland inducted six acts into its fold, including folkie Joan Baez and rapper Tupac Shakur. Sure, they’re both great at what they do, but are they rock ‘n’ roll?
Kinda doubt it.
The other four acts admitted were Electric Light Orchestra, Journey, Yes, and Pearl Jam. I’ve loved all four of those bands at certain times in my life–the first three in the ’70s (Eldorado, Infinity, Yessongs), and Pearl Jam in the ’90s, especially when they hooked up with Neil Young in ’95–but ELO and Journey are questionable choices considering what other artists are in line way ahead of them: I’m talking Rory Gallagher, Johnny Winter, and Link Wray.
As you may know, those three guitar legends were admitted into my own personal rock and roll institution, Newt’s Rock Hall, in the class of 2015, along with Deep Purple and Iron Maiden. Newt’s Rock Hall can only include acts that haven’t yet made it into that better-known one in Ohio, so when the official RRHOF finally came to its senses and inducted Purple last year, I had to yank them from mine. No problem, though. That spot was ably filled by Thin Lizzy.
Today, to keep pace with Jan Wenner and his bozo buddies, I’m inducting six more acts into Newt’s Rock Hall, all of them totally deserving in my books. My class of 2017 includes underrated singer-songwriter Warren Zevon, blues great Albert Collins, prog legends Jethro Tull, and guitar heroes Ronnie Montrose, Rick Derringer, and Gary Moore. I’ve been fortunate enough to have interviewed all of them over the years, but that’s not why I picked them.
It has more to do with sheer talent, I reckon. And the spirit of rock and roll.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will announce its nominees for the class of 2018 in October, and I’ll do the same. Please send in your suggestions because, hey, I don’t know everything.
Newt’s Rock Hall inductees to date: Rory Gallagher, Johnny Winter, Link Wray, Iron Maiden, and Thin Lizzy (Class of 2015); Blue Oyster Cult, Mott the Hoople, Iron Maiden, UFO, Ten Years After, and Robin Trower (Class of 2016); and Warren Zevon, Albert Collins, Jethro Tull, Ronnie Montrose, Rick Derringer, and Gary Moore (Class of 2017). Can you believe that none of these are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame yet? Shameful, I’d say.