bill bodkin is not liking this at all…
As I waiting for an egg sandwich from my favorite Sea Girt breakfast spot, I saw Jon Bon Jovi splashed across the cover of The Asbury Park Press. It read: “Rock Hall – No, White House – Yes.”
I stood there stunned — there Jon was, with a picture of his huge pearly whites across the paper, talking about how honored he was that President Obama appointed him to the newly created White House Council for Community Solutions.
Not really any mention how he didn’t make the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame. No mention how someone like Darlene Love or Dr. John were put in over him. No mention how bands like The Hollies have made it in before him. No mention how it’s an outright slap in the face by the music industry that the man who has literally seen a million faces and rocked them all, the leader of band that is an icon in rock, pop and country music and someone who has made a successful cross into the world of film, television and even arena football, did not get inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
I went to the Rock Hall’s website to check out how bands get into the Hall and here’s what it said. The official Induction Process criteria is as followed: “Artists become eligible for induction 25 years after the release of their first record. Criteria include the influence and significance of the artists’ contributions to the development and perpetuation of rock and roll.”
I looked at this year’s inductees and tried to justify everything in my head. Neil Diamond makes it in — I mean c’mon, why wasn’t the man dubbed America’s greatest songwriter NOT in already? Alice Cooper — was once a monster record seller but his stage presence and sound has influenced generations of bands. Dr. John — he is the face of N’awlins music. Darlene Love — the former Mrs. Murtagh in the Lethal Weapon movies was a successful solo singer. Leon Russell — legendary performer and songwriter. Tom Waits — he was indie before indie was cool.
Now I won’t argue with Neil Diamond or Alice Cooper — they are influential and sold tons of records. But none of the others can hold a candle to Bon Jovi. And before you Toms Waits fans nail me to the indie music cross, let’s face it … how many records has Tom Waits sold? When rock royalty is needed for a benefit, is Tom Waits or Dr. John or Darlene Love’s number called? NOPE.
Bon Jovi, whether you love them or hate them, are the last bastion of rock ‘n’ roll superstars. Influential? They helped kick the door open for the highly lucrative hair metal movement in the 1980s. Seriously, by 2004, they had sold over 100,000,000 records. This year, even without a new record to support, they did over 150,000 in ticket sales. If that’s not a sign of relevance or perpetuating rock ‘n’ roll, what is?
I look at Hall’s recent inductees — The Hollies, The Ventures, Traffic, Isaac Hayes, Steely Dan, The Lovin’ Spoonful … Bon Jovi has outsold all of them combined and is more relevant to the music scene than these bands as well.
And how does a first-ballot band like Van Halen get in, no sweat, and Bon Jovi doesn’t? I mean it’s all rock ‘n’ roll, right? Maybe because Eddie is a dynamic guitarist? But if we’re taking that logic, shouldn’t a highly touted songwriter like Neil Diamond have gotten in during the first years of the Hall?
Maybe it’s because I’m a fan, maybe it’s because I’m from New Jersey, but it just doesn’t seem right that a band as popular, as legendary and as influential as Bon Jovi should be denied their rightful place amongst the legends of rock music.