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"Weird Al used music videos brilliantly. His parodies of both Michael Jackson and Madonna were even more memorable than the original videos themselves."
--Peter Fornatale,
Who Can It Be Now

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Entry for September 23, 2008

Well, it's that vague time of year again, as the 2009 Rock Hall induction nominees have been announced. Unfortunately, Al isn't the only eligible major artist whose fans are no doubt disappointed.

Or, as certain other unofficial Rock Hall-themed web sites may phrase it, we successfully predicted one-fourth of the very obvious names out of the pool of the nine to fifteen artists that may potentially appear on this year's ballot.

But we kid. The big news is that this year's first-time nominees include Metallica and Run-D.M.C. With the latter's nomination, it would be nice to say that there should no longer be any debate about whether or not Al is a qualifying artist, since the Rock Hall Foundation is clearly using a very wide net to define "rock and roll," but we know better.

Metallica marks the only nominee this year to have any sort of Al connection, as they allowed Al to include their hit "Enter Sandman" in his 1992 polka medley, "Polka Your Eyes Out."

Rounding out the new nominees are guitar whiz Jeff Beck, doo-woppers Little Anthony and the Imperials, funk favorites War (good thing Al was passed over in favor of "Low Rider," huh?), and soul singer Bobby Womack (who became famous for singing other people's songs...ironic, huh?). Returning nominees this year are Chic (last nominated last year), the Stooges (last nominated in 2006), and Wanda Jackson (last nominated in 2004).

As has been the norm for the last couple of years, only five artists will be inducted, with the announcement coming in January.

The press is already making a big fuss over the fact that neither Stevie Ray Vaughan nor Bon Jovi were nominated, since this is their first year of eligibility. As a fan base who has had more than its fair share of "Huh??" over Rock Hall choices, we sympathize.

The Associated Press article on the announcement had some choice, albeit curious, quotes from Joel Peresman, who said that the 2009 ballot has "an interesting group because it really shows the nominating committee showed some thought and energy into who should be inducted." Um, is he indicating that this was not often the case in previous years? Granted the nominating committee only meets in person for one day out of the year, but shouldn't they always be putting thought and energy into the nominating process?? Or is he saying that the only way a ballot could truly be authentic is if it has a few choices that make little sense?

If there's any optimism anywhere in the article, Peresman adds, "It truly shows it's never a closed door for any artist to be nominated." Of course, that's hardly reflected in this batch of nominees, since it's doubtful that anyone was not expecting Metallica to be nominated at some point, but at least he's being diplomatic in the vaguest, emptiest way possible.

"People's time comes for whatever reason when it does," he concludes, with probably the worst syntax in the history of the printed word. It would be nice if a neglected artist's nomination was in fact all just a matter of time, but the reality is that it's not something that will come naturally, as if names just come popping randomly out of a computer. This is something that's decided upon by a very select group of a couple dozen people; a group with no public presence or means to contact outside of writing to a general mailing address, and a group that rarely changes members to a significant degree. If Mr. Peresman truly wants to project this image of the nominating process allowing for room for chance, then he should allow the public to have a say in some official capacity.

It would have been wonderful if Al was in the running this year, since a lot of people put a lot of hard work campaigning for him and rallying people to show that there is plenty of mainstream support for him. That's not to say that the Rock Hall's nominating committee doesn't care what over nine thousand music buyers (and potential paying customers to their museum) think, including several #1 artists from their own genre, but it would have been nice if the ballot reflected the public support that was sent to the Rock Hall.

Nevertheless, we have a lot more work to do! We're still currently in the middle of putting together our first ever video documentary, and we'll hopefully have some related activities (and maybe even a contest) up on our web site soon. In the immediate future we have the Plain Dealer's annual unofficial Rock Hall poll to stuff the ballots of. And of course, we're also bouncing around some ideas for our big 2009 campaign project!

Come on, everyone, roll up your sleeves and let's get Al in there!

2008-09-23 10:56:27 GMT
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