Rock Honors Worthy of Honor

And the year 2005 inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame are…

uno… dos… tres… catorce…

  • the fiery Irish quartet U2 (Bono, Adam Clayton, The Edge, Larry Mullen Jr.), which likely is the biggest rock band on the planet
  • the Pretenders (Martin Chambers, the late Pete Farndon, the late James Honeyman-Scott, Chrissie Hynde), the US-Brit combo led by a woman and not afraid to rock — as “conventional wisdom” would say — like a man
  • legendary R&B singing group the O’Jays (Eddie Levert, Bobby Massey, William Powell, Sammy Strain, Walter Williams), most recently heard each week singing the 31-year old “For the Love of Money” to open for Donald Trump’s reality-television show, “The Apprentice”
  • soul crooner Percy Sledge, aka “The Golden Voice of Soul,” who is best known for his passionate hit, “When a Man Loves a Woman,” and for originating the Muscle Shoals sound
  • Buddy Guy, the influential master of Chicago blues guitar
  • Frank Barsalona of Premier Talent Agency, whose stable included the likes of Led Zeppelin, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, and the Who
  • the man who introduced the world to Madonna, Blondie, Talking Heads, Depeche Mode, the Cure, the Smiths, kd lang, the Ramones, and many others, Sire Records co-founder Seymour Stein

the best Pretenders lineup What a list! It is disappointing that Lynyrd Skynyrd and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, who were considered for the HOF Class of 2005, didn’t make the cut. Still, the chosen few make up one dandy and honor-worthy list of artists and industry types. I am particularly thrilled about the inclusion of the Pretenders: Chrissie Hynde is a goddess to me, and the band’s first albums present her at her edgiest, ass-kickingest best. And it is only right that James Honeyman-Scott and Pete Farndon will be inducted posthumously; Hynde’s late-’70s/early’80s backing band was arguably the best. Ms. Hynde may not be thrilled about her induction, but I’m thrilled enough for us both.

a fine band of Irishmen And then there is U2. I’ve adored the band since day one. The notion that Mr. Hewson and his mates have been at it for more than a quarter-century makes me feel quite ancient. Then again, the fact that the foursome still rocks like nobody’s business — and still tops the charts to boot — is nothing less that rejuvenating news. U2 is the bomb that can’t be dismantled, it appears, and the world is lucky to experience its power.

Why no Grandmaster Flash??? As for the other picks, all are deserving for Hall of Fame honors. Kudos to the panel that selected this outstanding class of inductees: Let’s hope the committee’s 2006 picks will be equally praiseworthy — and will include Grandmaster Flash and the Skynyrd boys.

Must figure out a way to score tix to the March induction bash at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria. That ought to be a blast.

Tip o’ the baseball cap to Blogcritics’ Eric Olsen for hipping me to the happy news.

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