The Biggest Snub of All Time

January 28, 2009

There are plenty of Halls of Fame around the country (not to mention around the globe), and one of the hottest topics of debate in any arena is whether or not certain groups or individuals have been denied access to a level of fame not easily granted–does Mark McGwire belong in the baseball Hall of Fame? Does transcending sport and culture alone give one the right to be enshrined? I believe, however, that there is one glaring instance of Hall of Fame snubbery, and it is in the musical arena.


Before I give you, our valued readers, the name of this band (if you didn’t already know it by the album cover), consider the facts first: 35 years active with the same lineup of musicians; 19 studio albums (not to mention 8 live albums), 24 albums achieving Gold status, 14 of whom went platinum; 10 albums in the top-10 for US mainstream sales; and 20 singles in the United States. In terms of consecutive gold albums, this band ranks 4th all-time: behind only the Beatles, Rolling Stones, and Aerosmith. Worldwide, their albums sales are estimated at over 40 million records. In live concerts, the musicians perform incredibly tough and technical songs, often manipulating foot pedals in addition to playing their main instruments and singing just to replicated the studio quality and musicianship they have put into every one of their songs. Musicians from Iron Maiden, Dream Theater, Metallica, and many other top touring bands list the three musicians in this band as influences, both musically and lyrically. The individuals in this band have won individual accolades far too numerous to list here, though they have all been named tops at their craft by multiple sources during their careers. This band would seem like a sure-fire entry into the Hall, wouldn’t they? Well, they’re not…and their name is Rush.

I will admit, I am an avid Rush fan, and their music might not be for everybody–but whose is? The fact is, their style should not influence whether or not the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducts them–their career and body of work should. Any group who has survived 35 years with the same lineup, staying true to their music yet adopting over time, writing songs with great lyrical inspiration and great messages to portray to their audience, and influencing generations of musicians should be recognized as what they are, one of the best bands in rock history. Whether it’s ballads like 2112′s “Tears,” keyboard-driven songs such as “Tom Sawyer” and “Mission,” or pure guitar songs such as “The Spirit of Radio,” Rush excels in all areas. Drummer Neil Peart is one of the best percussionists around, and his fluid drum style even through complex chord changes is easily noticeable in rockers “Freewill,” “2112,” and “Bastille Day,” amongst many others. If you haven’t listened to Rush, you should listen, if only for the musicianship and lyrics. As a Rush fan, I’ll give you my top 10 Rush songs of all time, and if you do like Rush, feel free to debate in the comments! In no particular order whatsoever:

1. New World Man (Signals)

2. Secret Touch (Vapor Trails)

3. The Spirit of Radio (Permanent Waves)

4. Subdivisions (Signals)

5. 2112 (2112)

6. Freewill (Permanent Waves)

7. Mission (Hold Your Fire)

8. Far Cry (Snakes & Arrows)

9. YYZ (Moving Pictures)

10. Red Barchetta (Moving Pictures)

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8 Responses to “ The Biggest Snub of All Time ”

  1. Hail Canada on January 28, 2009 at 11:04 am

    They were inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1994. You, my friend, have just snubbed Canada (and other inductees: Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, The Band, etc.)! Screw the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame…

  2. pittpantherpiano on January 28, 2009 at 11:15 am

    Yes, but all three of those bands have also been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Canadian Music Hall, while fairly large, is still not the most prestigious Hall for musicians to get inducted into, especially for the type of music that Rush plays.

  3. Matt on January 29, 2009 at 1:30 am

    Wow. I would have thought for sure that Rush was in. I’m stunned.

  4. Matt Erickson on January 29, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    I once saw a Canadian radio station’s list of the *1000 greatest modern rock songs*. About 75 of them were by Tragically Hip. Canadians can be so cute about their homegrown bands.

    Rush, on the other hand, should not be known as a “great Canadian band” – they’re simply a great band. Sales numbers prove it, and “Subdivisions” still sounds great in regular rotation on FM radio. So why are they being punished? I went to the R&R HOF’s website and checked the inductee list to see who was and who was not there.

    I love music, particularly rock & its tangents, to the detriment of my mental and social health. Yet when I read the list I said to myself, “Who?” several times. (Not, however, when I read “The Who”). When I clicked on these unknown people, it was the same old story: perhaps the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame should be renamed the “Blues singer or Doo-Wop trio who had one hit in 1956″ Hall of Fame.

    So Rush has that going against them. But what else? I also thought about the fact that I’ve met plenty of devoted Rush fans in my life, but most of them were white, male, and really into sci-fi and computers (Rush are the perfect nerd band – the point where Led Zeppelin, Yes, and new wave overlap.) So maybe the R&RHOF doesn’t like ‘cult’ bands. But that didn’t stop them from inducting The Grateful Dead and their cult, or James Taylor and whoever the hell listens to him.

    Perhaps like sports halls of fame, the R&R HOF punishes consistency. Frankie Lymon and Percy Sledge each had ONE SONG anyone cares about. That’s fine – put the song in the HOF, leave them out. But then I read about a band called The Ventures, where the site brags, “their biggest accomplishment was charting 38 albums from 1960 to 1972.” OK first of all, albums were like 20 minutes long back then (shorter than Rush’s best song, “2112″). Secondly, what was on these albums? If we’re going by sheer number, why not The Fall? Or Weird Al?

    If you read a little further, you find out what was on these albums. Their biggest hit was the theme to “Hawaii Five-O.” Personally, I prefer the theme to “Perfect Strangers.” Can we get the guy who wrote that inducted?

    Then I tried a different approach: see who else is missing. No Genesis. That’s a big one. No Yes or King Crimson. Borderline, but I see a pattern. Definitely no Moody Blues or Emerson, Lake, & Palmer. That’s right: the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, just like Rolling Stone, HATES progressive rock. Even Genesis reinvented themselves in the ’80s as suckers-of-Satan’s-cock sellouts and STILL could not overcome their prog rock rap sheet. Pink Floyd is the only one in (they pretty much had no choice there). But Rush had enough verging-on-prog albums in the late ’70s to be banned for life.

    *2112* was my first cassette. My older brother gave it to me when I was about 5 or 6. The beginning of “Overture” scared the hell out of me, as did the weary “ah-nee-ni” vocals of “Twilight Zone.” Those songs, and “Tears,” seduced me into the darker corners of my mind, and they still bring me back there. If my first cassette was Michael Jackson, perhaps I’d be more normal, using music as a social accessory rather than loving it more than my own friends.

    Oh, and I checked: the guy that founded the R&R HOF is also the editor of Rolling Stone (Jann Wenner). He only allows praise for earthy blues-rock despite his Eurotrash name.

    And finally, I did laugh when I saw this on wikipedia:

    “The Sex Pistols, inducted in 2006, refused to attend the ceremony, calling the museum a ‘piss stain’.”

    My perfect Rush CD:

    1. 2112
    2. Subdivisions
    3. Red Barchetta
    4. Jacob’s Ladder
    5. Red Sector A
    6. Manhattan Project
    7. Force Ten
    8. The Analog Kid
    9. Tears
    10. Losing It
    11. Natural Science

  5. pittpantherpiano on January 29, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    You know what the big thing in common with progressive rock bands is? They never sold their souls to market themselves. They stayed true to the music and let the critics speak for them, as opposed to hoping to sell millions of records in the hopes that they, too, could one day play Super Bowls. They all reinvented themselves with nearly every album, writing not the kind of songs that would get them radio play, but the kind of songs that they were happy with. I understand that for the most part, they scoff at being “ignored” from the Rock and Roll HoF, but it shouldn’t even be something they have to worry about. All of the above bands should be in based off influence, sales, and longevity alone. When’s the last time you heard someone say “Man, I was really heavily influenced by Del Shannon and Lloyd Price.” Their so-called “famous songs” are now ignored by musical history…how important could they possibly be?

  6. Matt Erickson on January 30, 2009 at 9:13 am

    Genesis will get in – only a matter of time. But that’s probably it for prog rock. And Genesis won’t be getting in for their incredible ten-minute songs in the Gabriel era. It’ll be for “That’s All” or those ballads they play at the grocery store.

    “Runaway” is fine, but Del Shannon should not be in (again, vote the song in, not the singer). This is just baby boomers getting a little too nostalgic. Just watch, 25 years from now, when THOSE middle aged voters get nostalgic, we’ll be watching the induction ceremony of Color Me Badd and Timmy T.

  7. Christopher L. Jorgensen on January 30, 2009 at 11:24 am

    I’m a pretty big Rush fan, but the band that amazes me that, to my understanding, it not in the Hall of Fame is KISS. Not a big fan of KISS, but they epitomize rock.

    Seems there’s a lot of glaring errors out there.

  8. fortuna koln on January 30, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    ok, i will have some more thoughts later, but let me just say:

    1. rrhof is a joke and should not be used as an arbiter of anything. jann wenner is an inductee for christ’s sake. aerosmith are members and the stooges are not. basically i could go on forever but their inductee list is a joke.

    2. i love rush, (xanadu is my jam) and yes, i will publicly admit to liking alot of prog (gentle giant crosses the line, though) but let’s face it, if we are looking for a prog band to lionize there are many, many better options (yes, genesis, CAN). that being said, just because you play in 12/6 time or whatever and sell 1000 copies of your album doesn’t mean that you are inherently better than del shannon. one amazing pop song will beat a drugged out hippies trying to copy mozart with a double-necked guitar and a moog 9 times out of 10. i would also be willing to bet that a lot of these old timey one-hit wonders probably influenced a lot more artists than rush.

    3. this seems like an appropriate place to post this:

    (though, could probably put it here as well).

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