ABBA - Arguably the number 4 best-selling artist of all time with over 370 million records sold, the is group is currently taking its lumps by critics as not being rock and roll enough. You would think that figure I stated earlier would be enough to get a pass but some out there question how much of ABBA is rock. The truth is the line between rock and pop is so blurred, who really should care? How is ABBA any different from Paul McCartney's solo career which he was inducted for in 1999. ABBA was so big in the 1970s, they outsold Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd worldwide. They continue to sell 2 to 3 million records a year and have influenced pretty much every pop act that followed. Table the debate. It's also good for the Hall to recognize influential artists outside of The US and UK.
Genesis - Genesis has long been over due for induction. Always in the shadow of Pink Floyd and other progressive rock bands, Genesis was no less impressive, selling 150 millions albums worldwide. Not to mention launching two huge solo careers with Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins. Genesis also had the impressive feat of going from deep progressive rock to pop music in the transition from the 1970s to the 1980s. A great addition from a very underrepresented genre. While punk might have been to fight the bloat of prog rock, prog rock is still an influential part of rock history, spreading from jambands like Phish to metal bands like Coheed and Cambria.
The Hollies - This is the only selection I have a problem with. Many people go "Who are the fucking Hollies?," including this author and I even know tunes by the Hollies. They didn't sell a lot of records, especially in the United States. I didn't think them anymore influential especially when grouped with their peers in the British Invasion. Sure, without them, we might not have had Graham Nash or "Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress" but I'm not sure they're solid enough to be in the Rock Hall. If Don Mattingly isn't in the Baseball Hall of Fame, then the Hollies shouldn't be in the Rock Hall. I'm sure this was done just to placate Steven Van Zandt.
Jimmy Cliff - Another long overdue induction in my opinion. If Bob Marley is the worldwide face of reggae, Jimmy Cliff is the man who kicked open the door to lead the way. To use a rap analogy, Jimmy Cliff is reggae's Grandmaster Flash to Bob Marley's Run-DMC (And I guess that makes Eric Clapton the Blondie of reggae.) Cliff in his role in The Harder They Come pushed reggae worldwide as millions bought the soundtrack album fearturing the legendary title track, "You Can Get It If You Really Want," and "Many Rivers to Cross." Cliff continues to perform worldwide including a slot at the upcoming Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. Another key step in the Rock Hall's move to show how rock and roll has influcenced the world.
The Stooges - In the words of Cameron Crowe's Lester Bangs character, "Iggy Pop! Amen!" And in the words of this writer, "About fucking time!" The Stooges have always been one of the Rock Hall's longest time snubs. In my opinion, there are three bands than influenced the alternative music of the 1970s (punk, glam, early new wave): The Velvet Underground, The Modern Lovers, and The Stooges (with MC5 very close). Seriously, do I need to say more? Just listen to Raw Power and you'll know why they belong.
All in all, I think a very good list that fills some Rock Hall holes. Again the only glaring problem I see is the Hollies really weren't that important to rock history. Please, if you know more, school me on it.
On to the snubs, who should maybe have usurped that Hollies position or maybe some of the other ones:
The Modern Lovers - Listen to their one album and tell me that isn't amazing for being from 1972. You could release that record today and it'd be a 10.0 on Pitchfork.
Joe Cocker - Highly influential singer one of the last great solo acts of the 1960s that can be let in without a debate.
Deep Purple - Early metal band that influenced the genre
Stevie Ray Vaughan - Kept blues guitar alive in the 1980s as Clapton was too busy fucking around.
Yes - Another hugely important progressive rock band.
Joe Tex - Great soul singer who should be right alongside Sam Cooke and Otis Redding
Darlene Love - One of Phil Spector's stars. As important as the Ronettes and Shirelles.
KISS - As much as I don't like them and think they really aren't great musically, you can't deny they love to rock writing such anthems as "Detroit Rock City" and "Rock and Roll All Night" plus their merchandising legacy is one that pervades our culture today.
Those are some glaring omissions I feel should be in consideration right now but we have our inductees. Enjoy the ceremony!