So the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced this year’s inductees today — and as usual, they’ve made some truly bizarre decisions. The lucky artists are Madonna, Leonard Cohen, John Mellencamp, the Dave Clark Five, and the Ventures. Now, Madge (pictured, around the time she started earning her place on this list) and L.Co are basically no-brainers, as PopWatch’s Gary Susman observed back in October: decades-long careers, unique and influential sounds, millions of loyal fans. No arguments there. Hey, I’ll even get on board with the instrumental surf-rock noodlers of the Ventures, this year’s biggest long-shot nominees. I might not be able to pick them out of a lineup or name a single member (unless "the guy with the wah-wah pedal" counts), but c’mon, you know you love to hum "Walk Don’t Run."
But those last two inductees? I’m sorry. John Mellencamp and Dave Clark seem like totally nice guys, even more or less competent musicians. But they’re not legends! At best, they’re cut-rate knockoffs of two legit legends who are already in the Hall of Fame — Bruce Springsteen and the Beatles, respectively. I still remember a feature that ran on the cover of my local paper’s arts section when I was about 10 years old, all about a very angry area man’s crusade to convince the world that those no-good Lennon and McCartney had ripped off his idols, the Dave Clark Five. (No, my local paper was NOT The Onion.) Did that lunatic somehow get on to the R’n'R HoF committee? And as for Mellencougar, or whatever his name is, this guy doesn’t belong anywhere but the Crass Shill Hall of Fame.
Meanwhile, the nominees who didn’t make the final cut this year — Chic, Donna Summer, the Beastie Boys, and Afrika Bambaataa — were hugely influential, each and every one of them. But hey, disco and rap didn’t play any important role in the last 25 years of popular music, right? Ugh. I guess I’m not exactly surprised, given the Hall’s always strained relationship with music made after LBJ left office, but still, this is ridiculous. Isn’t it?