James Beaty: OPINION: RAMBLIN: Rock Hall 'Comes Alive' with Frampton, Buffet inductions

Apr. 28—One of the things about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — while it's always great to see someone deserving get inducted, it's also sometimes puzzling regarding those who are overlooked.

This year's list of inductees includes a wide variety of artists encompassing a number of different genres, covering everything from rock, pop, soul, rap and rhythm and blues.

Inductees in the Performers Category are Peter Frampton, Foreigner, the Dave Matthews Band, Kool & the Gang, Ozzy Osbourne, Mary J. Blige, and A Tribe Called Quest.

And, finally, Cher.

It will be interesting to see if she shows up for the Oct. 19 induction ceremony into the Rock Hall which will be held at the Rocket Mortgage Field House in Cleveland, Ohio, the city that's home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Cher had been bypassed for induction for so many years that she's been quoted as saying she wouldn't accept the induction if they gave her a million dollars and the Rock Hall executives could go do something to themselves that can't be repeated in a family newspaper.

I've noticed in the past though, how some similar comments by other previously-overlooked artists seemed to melt away when they finally were inducted into the Rock Hall.

I will be waiting to see how it plays out with Cher when the inductions roll around in October.

The aforementioned artists were all inducted in the Performers Category — but more artists were inducted in other categories this year.

Inductees in the Musical Excellence Category include the late Jimmy Buffett, who's finally in after many years of being overlooked.

Also pop songstress Dionne Warwick who scored her first hits in the 1960s, mainly on songs written by Hal David and Burt Bacharach, beginning with "Walk On By," is also an inductee.

Political pre-punk rockers the MC5 are also among this year's inductees in the Musical Excellence Category.

Norman Whitfield is another 2024 inductee in the Musical Excellence category.

While his name may not be a household word, many music fans are familiar with some of the songs he wrote, co-wrote and/or produced for Motown Artists.

They include "I Heard It Though the Grapevine," a hit for both Marvin Gaye and Gladys Knight and the Pips.

Whitefield also wrote or co-wrote a number of hits by the Temptations, including "Ain't Too Proud to Beg," "Just My Imagination," "(I Know) I'm Losing You," "Cloud Nine" and "Ball of Confusion."

In addition to those hits, Whitfield co-wrote with Barrett Strong Edwin Starr's riveting #1 hit, "War."

Another individual with Motown ties, music industry executive Suzanne de Passe, is the recipient of the Ahmet Ertegun Award, named for the executive who was a founder of Atlantic Records.

Three additional artists have been inducted in the Musical Influence Category, including influential British bluesman Alexis Korner and John Mayall, of John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers.

Their respective bands served as sort of farm teams for artists would later become British rock royalty, including bassist Jack Bruce and guitarist Eric Clapton, who would go on to form Cream with drummer Ginger Baker.

Also inducted as a Musical Influence is Big Mama Thornton, best known for recording the original version of the early Elvis Presley hit, "Hound Dog."

So there are the 2024 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees. However there were additional nominees for the Rock Hall Class of 2024 who did not get enough votes to get inducted this time around.

Those who were nominated for the Rock Hall this time but who did not get enough votes for induction include Mariah Carey, Sinéad O'Connor, Lenny Kravitz, Sade, Oasis, Jane's Addiction and Eric B. & Rakim.

Any of those artists can be nominated again for another try, but it's not a certainty. For some, 2024 may have proven to be their one and only shot at a Rock Hall induction.

Sometime the overlooking of artists deserving to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has been going on for decades.

I try to keep an open mind and remember that the Rock Hall encompasses lots of genres in addition to rock, but that still doesn't explain how some great artists are overlooked.

Regarding deserving artists who have been overlooked by the Rock Hall, I still don't understand how John Prine, one of the greatest songwriters the nation has produced, could have been nominated in October 2018 for the Rock Hall of Fame's Class of 2019 — but still not get enough votes for induction.

His 1973 self-titled debut album"John Prine" alone stands as almost a greatest hits package, including songs such as "Hello in There," "Sam Stone," "Angel from Montgomery," and "Illegal Smile."

His song "Paradise," about the destruction of part of rural Kentucky by a coal-mining company, has become a standard. I heard it in a new performance as recently as last week when a member of Ricky Skagg's band, Kentucky Thunder, performed it on a PBS music program.

Not to mean that Prine rested on the acclaim given his 1973 debut.

His last studio album, the 2018 work called "The Tree of Forgiveness," debuted at #5 on the Billboard Top 200 album charts. It hit #2 on both the Top Country Albums and Top Rock Album Charts, and went all the way to #1 on the Americana/Folk Album charts.

Even if Prine is nominated again for a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, it will be too late for him to personally enjoy it.

He died in 2020 in a Nashville hospital following complications from COVID-19.

Prine still hadn't finished, though.

The very last Prine work to be issued is the posthumously- released song "I Remember Everything."

It won Grammy Awards for Best Americana Roots Performance and Best Americana Roots Song.

And although Prine didn't make it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame during his one and only nomination, he's in another Hall of Fame.

That's the Songwriters Hall of Fame which encompasses all genres, which puts Prine in the esteemed company of such revered songwriters as George and Ira Gershwin, Irving Berlin and Rogers and Hammerstein, the better-known professional monikers of composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II.

Really, so many deserving artists have been overlooked by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that I got a kick out of Frampton's initial tongue-in-cheek initial response when he learned of his induction during the April 21 announcement made on the "American Idol" television show.

Frampton's album "Frampton Comes Alive!" had been one of the best-selling albums of the 1970s. In addition to his solo career, which endures to this day, Frampton previously served as the lead guitarist for hard-rockers Humble Pie.

That's why I laughed when I saw he injected some humor into his initial response to his new induction.

"That's really great!" Frampton wrote. "Wait, you mean I'm not already in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame?"