Are we not Rock Hall of Famers?


As is often the case, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s list of nominees includes some no-brainers and also some head-scratchers.

It invariably raises the questions “what types of artists belong in the Rock Hall?” and “what elevates a Hall of Famer above the long list of artists who have had great success or were very influential?”

Of the current group of 15 nominees – released this week – for the class of 2019, I would have to say Stevie Nicks and Def Leppard should be automatic. Maybe Todd Rundgren, too. Only about a half-dozen are expected to get in this go-round. The new members will be announced in December and will be inducted March 29 in New York.

Nicks is already in the Hall as a member of Fleetwood Mac, but her solo career has also been spectacular.

Last year, heavy metal monsters Judas Priest were nominated, but did not make the cut. The snub was not surprising because metal – and punk – seem to get less respect from the Hall.

Def Lep is as worthy a candidate as Priest. But which band should get in first? Priest has been going at it longer, and have been as influential as anyone in that genre. Can the Hall justify inducting Def Leppard before Judas Priest?

By the way, Nicks, Def Leppard and Judas Priest all played Youngstown in the past few years. We’re a classic rock town.

Also on the ballot are returning nominees Radiohead, the Cure, Rage Against the Machine, LL Cool J, Kraftwerk, MC5, the Zombies, Janet Jackson and Rufus (featuring Chaka Khan); plus Roxy Music, John Prine and Devo.

That’s a respectable list, but I think the Zombies stand out. Remember, not everyone on that list deserves to get in (Roxy Music?) but it’s still an honor just being nominated.

Then there is Devo, the oddball futuristic punk act from Akron led by Mark Mothersbaugh. With infectious songs such as “Whip It” and its jerky take on “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” Devo weirded out the early ’80s. I say let ’em in, but I am skeptical that it will happen.

I tend to define rock ’n’ roll more narrowly than the Hall itself, and I raise an eyebrow at the candidacy of John Prine. The sole Nashville nominee is an amazing songwriter and a legendary artist but is he rock at his roots?

The hall has always been open to pop music greats such as Janet Jackson, who should go in ahead of the soulful Rufus (featuring Chaka Khan) and rapper LL Cool J.

HALL OF FAMERS WHO HAVE GRACED City

The list of Rock & Roll Hall of Famers who have played Youngstown in recent memory is extensive.

In addition to Stevie Nicks (2007 and 2017), the list includes Bob Dylan (who will return in November), Rod Stewart, Elton John, KISS, Alice Cooper, ZZ Top, John Mellencamp, Heart and John Fogerty.

Elevator will open at Packard hall

The W.D. Packard Foundation has completed its addition of an elevator – and other work – at Packard Music Hall in Warren as part of its project to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

To celebrate, a ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place Sunday at 2:30 p.m. – just before the Packard Band concert.

In addition to the elevator, the project includes new ADA-compliant entrances and balcony seating, and renovations and expansion of the women’s mezzanine rest room.

The city of Warren received $200,000 in state grant funds as part of the 2016 capital budget earmarked specifically for the elevator project. With assistance from Warren residents Pat and Gordon McLean, $500,000 in additional funds to match the state grant were secured by the W.D. Packard Foundation, obtained from a grant by ACI Senior Development Corporation, which was formed by the family of the late Roger Ailes – the Warren native who went on to become the visionary founder of Fox News. Ailes wife, Elizabeth, and son Zachary are planning to attend the ribbon cutting.

After Sunday’s ribbon cutting, the elevator will be open for patrons to use.

Guy D’Astolfo covers entertainment for The Vindicator. Follow him on Twitter at @VindyVibe.

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