Recently, I read the list of acts nominated for the 2020 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which included, among others, Whitney Houston, The Dave Matthews Band, Soundgarden, Pat Benatar, and The Notorious B.I.G.
(Editor Brian Justice ought to like this editorial because of his musical prowess that you may or may not have heard about.)
Anyway, you probably know the Rock HOF is in Cleveland (“The Birthplace of Rock and Roll”) and is heavily supported by the magazine Rolling Stone and its Co-Founder/Publisher Jann Wenner.
That’s Cleveland, Ohio, not Cleveland, Tennessee. He recently stepped down as chairman of the board of the R&R HOF.
The annual event to induct new members and the celebration thereof is held now somewhere in New York City and brings together artists from various rock genres to induct those members each year, then HBO broadcasts an edited version several weeks later for all of us to enjoy.
Well, sometimes we enjoy it, and sometimes we do not.
With so many people included now in the category of Rock and Roll, it is difficult to recognize them all at the same time, so there is always controversy about who deserves to be in and who does not.
I do not have the long list of current members (they have been doing this since 1983), but you would probably recognize most of them if you have been paying attention in the latter 20th and early 21st centuries. I have never been to the Hall, but would like to bucket-list this place someday.
As I scanned the 2020 nominees, I noticed that the “first-time shortlist” included the Doobie Brothers.
The Doobie Brothers?
You mean to say that The Doobies are NOT ALREADY in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?
How could this be?
The San Francisco-based Doobies have been around since water, and their songs are some of the background music for a large part of the lives of those of us over 50.
The group has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide. They have been active for nearly five decades with their greatest success in the 1970s.
And they are NOT ALREADY in the Hall of Fame?
Tom Johnston and Patrick Simmons are original founding members of the Doobie Brothers who still play today. John McFee, an accomplished session guitarist with lots of works you probably know, joined around 1979 after the departure of Jeff “Skunk” Baxter.
These three musicians currently tour with the band. Even Michael McDonald was once a member of The Doobies during the “What A Fool Believes” years.
I have seen them in concert at least three times and love their music. I listened to their first album while in the U.S. Army Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia, in 1973 to just try and make it through the course.
We covered their songs in The Nightcaps when I was the drummer.
I attended one concert in Chattanooga just before being mobilized for Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Several originals were still playing, and they used two drummers, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Later, they played what was then the Starwood Amphitheatre in Nashville on the same stage as Foreigner. Always, that driving, pumped-up sound was a hallmark.
So, what has taken so long?
When Steve Miller was inducted in 2016, he ripped the Hall for a lot of things, and some said it was deserved, including the process, the publicity, the cost for his own band members to attend the event, etc.
His body language with arms folded while being interviewed was indicative of his angst at the honor. And Steve Miller is not an angry guy!
The Doobies did not invent rock and roll, but their 50 years of contributions certainly contributed to the popularity of the music and qualified them for entry into the Hall way before now.
Maybe the voters will realize this and come to their senses, selecting The Doobie Brothers for inclusion and induction into the Hall of Fame in The Class of 2020, because that’s the way it oughtta be.
Award-winning editorialist Alan Clark has been a drummer most of his life, and has played onstage with the likes of B.J. Thomas, Bryan Hyland, Ronnie Dove, The Nightcaps, Thee Mann, Rainy Day Blues, the South Jackson Street Band, and the Jerry Anderson Ensemble.