Kickin' Out the Jams


It's that time of year again -- the week when the Chronicle's Music staff undertakes its responsibility to music by choosing nominees for entry into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. This year's options were ABBA, AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Chic, the Clash, Elvis Costello & the Attractions, the Dells, Kraftwerk, Lynyrd Skynyrd, MC5, the Police, Righteous Brothers, Sex Pistols, the Patti Smith Group, and Steve Winwood. It was a tough call for this year's panel (myself, Raoul Hernandez, Margaret Moser, Christopher Gray, and Michael Chamy) to narrow the list down to the eight choices we were required to offer, especially with that strong New Wave-era contingent jumping in this year and dividing our attentions. Amid much argument, we eliminated the Police as basically a one-trick pony (white boy reggae) act. Chic was out as well; they were hugely influential on today's dance music scene, we realized, but then so was KC & the Sunshine Band. The bell also tolled for the Dells (we believe we've voted enough doo-wop acts in already), Patti Smith (sorry, but she can't compare with contemporaries on the list like the Pistols and Elvis), the MC5 (I guess we're just anti-Smiths this year, so we decided to "kick out the jams"), the Righteous Brothers, and Steve Winwood (who is doing fine with beer commercials; he doesn't need any awards). So, for the record, that leaves us with (they ask for a ranking), at No. 8, Kraftwerk (they may not be rock & roll, but they're responsible for more music out now than any other band since the Beatles); No. 7, AC/DC; No. 6, the Clash; No. 5, Black Sabbath; No. 4, Elvis; No. 3, the Pistols; and against my personal votes, No. 2, Skynyrd and No. 1, ABBA. Not that I have anything against either of those last two, but I just can't see voting for a pair of bands as my top choices when I wouldn't be caught dead walking out of a record store with one of their albums. The final results will be announced at a gala event a few months from now. No one from the Chronicle will be attending.

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