Widely named as the most unusual choice of the nominees, The J.B.’s were James Brown’s backing group in the 70s, and performed on legendary cuts like “Sex Machine” and “Super Bad.” The group is also where such instrumental titans as bassist Bootsy Collins, trombonist Fred Wesley and saxophonist Maceo Parker got their start. In addition to their tenure backing Brown, the group also recorded several iconic instrumental cuts on their own, such as “The Grunt” and “Doing it to Death”. This is the first time they have been nominated, and had long been tipped for induction for the now deprecated sidemen category.
Matt Rice: “The Grunt” is an incredible instrumental.
Ryan Gibbs: Why are they in the main performer category? i’m guessing because the sidemen category doesn’t exist anymore? I love these guys, but i’m just not sure if they belong here If they get in, it will make Bootsy Collins a double-inductee though, I suppose
Matt: They released an brilliant instrumental that was sampled on three tracks on one of the greatest hip-hop albums ever.
Ryan: I don’t hate this pick – It’s a bit esoteric and they deserve to be recognized by the Hall somehow, but The Meters or The Bar-Kays would have been a better choice for this spot.
Matt: But if they deserve to be in the HOF, what about The Famous Flames?
Ryan: The Famous Flames actually did get in. They inducted a bunch of side bands a few years ago. Including Bill Haley’s Comets and Buddy Holly’s Crickets, who weren’t in already. And a few years after that, they put the E Street Band in.
Matt: Oh, I didn’t realize that.
Ryan: I guess we don’t have much to say about these guys do we?
Kevin Montes: No.
Jon Winkler: Just love for Bootsy, baby.
Ryan: But yeah. Interesting pick, but I don’t think they’re getting in…unless the Hall sneaks them in after using a separate category. They’ve done that before.
Veterans of the East L.A. rock scene, Los Lobos scored a number one single in 1987 with a cover of Ritchie Valens’ arrangement of “La Bamba” from the film of the same name. This had been preceded by years of solid albums in which the versatile band often explored fusions of traditional Mexican music with rock styles such as blues rock and cowpunk, most notably on their critically acclaimed 1984 album How Will the Wolf Survive? The band’s solid journeyman career and critical adoration have led to them being considered a sleeper pick this year. Although eligible since 2003, this is their first nomination.
Matt: Love them.
Joey Daniewicz: Finally, a band to rival Chic in the category of best band that truly has no chance.
Kevin: I’m so excited that they are nominated. Made some of my favorite covers/film records of all time.
Ryan: This was the most surprising pick of the pack. They had a great, underrated career. Deserve more love.
Kevin: Desperado is what introduced me to them.
Ryan: I think “Will the Wolf Survive?” is one of the most underrated rock songs of the 80s.
Kevin: How Will the Wolf Survive? is a great album!
Ryan: It is!
Kevin: Los Lobos have definitely been underrated I agree.
Ryan: Arguably their work on the La Bamba soundtrack helped get Ritchie Valens into the Hall.
Ryan: I’m not sure they’ll get in, but they were a pleasant surprise to see.
Kevin: I hope they do.
Matt: Colossal Head is so underrated.
Ryan: If you’re gonna put a band that more or less had a journeyman career, you could make a worse choice than Los Lobos. I’d love it if they got in.
NINE INCH NAILS
The liner notes for Nine Inch Nails albums famously read “Nine Inch Nails is Trent Reznor” and if they get in, he’ll likely be standing at the podium alone. The one man industrial icon has brought some of the most abrasive styles of rock music into the mainstream whether they liked it or not. Reznor and his project produced several well selling and critically adored albums that have seen him to the present day, even with his career as an Oscar winning film composer. Best known for hits like “Head Like a Hole” and “Closer”, Nine Inch Nails were first nominated last year in their first year of eligibility.
Joey: And you thought Green Day already getting nominated felt jarring.
Jon: Definitely the oddball choice in my opinion.
Matt: I tried way too hard to like them in high school.
Kevin: I like NIN, but I could never get past what I knew.
Ryan: I mean, the Hall has been kinda fickle with American alternative bands of the 80s, so it’s really unusual that NIN got two straight nominations.
Kevin: I find Trent Reznor to be a competent film scorer though.
Ryan: Although they were big right out of the gate, I remember hearing an anecdote that the “Down In It” single was, at one point, outselling the Pretty Hate Machine album and should have by all rights made the Hot 100 through sales alone (but didn’t).
Matt: I think Pretty Hate Machine is the best-sounding NIN album, but God, those lyrics.
Ryan: They’re very late 80’s goth, huh?
Matt: Very ’80s goth. Even when I thought The Smiths were one of the five best bands of all time, though, I thought “Something I Can Never Have” was awful.
Ryan: I like NIN, and Trent’s had an excellent, solid career. And honestly their chances are very up in the air. Apparently they did very well last year out of the bands that didn’t get in. As much as I like them, I still this this spot should’ve gone to Kraftwerk.
Jon: If they get in, it’ll be interesting to hear Trent’s speech if he even makes one.
Ryan: He will. And the performance should wonderfully ruin the Hall of Fame’s pricey dinner, ha ha.
Gangsta rap architects N.W.A. have been nominated every year since 2013, but with the success of the Straight Outta Compton film, this might be the year they finally get in. The group included three of the most vital rappers in the genre’s history in Dr. Dre, Ice Cube and Eazy-E and released the iconic Straight Outta Compton album in 1988, which brought the gangsta rap genre to the mainstream. The group is best known for tracks like “Express Yourself” and “100 Miles and Runnin’”
Ryan: So next we got who I bet Kevin was waiting for.
Kevin: Eh. I’m glad to see them, but they’ve got the first eligibility nom cause of the momentum.
Ryan: Actually, this is their fourth nomination.
Kevin: Really? I heard somewhere it was their first year nominated.
Matt: I love a lot of Straight Outta Compton, but “I Ain’t Tha 1” is atrocious.
Ryan: This is going to be NWA’s year. Because of the movie and the resurgence of interest. Which has been so big that this year, the song “Straight Outta Compton” became their first ever Top 40 hit.
Kevin: Yeah. Honestly, I’m more excited for Dre being eligible as a solo artist. And I’m waiting for Eazy’s solo nomination too!
Ryan: In general, the Hall has been very slow, almost fickle, to warm up to hip hop. There are only four rap artists in right now – Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, Run DMC, The Beastie Boys and Public Enemy
Kevin: Four very typical with only three correct choices. I think Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five was a safe choice
Ryan: No Eric B & Rakim and no LL Cool J, despite past nods for both.
Kevin: Eric B & Rakim deserves it more.
Ryan: Honestly, the lack of interest might not bode well for Biggie, Tupac, Jay-Z and Nas, all of whom are getting close to being eligible.
Kevin: I can see Jay-Z being the one they’d pick outta the four.
Matt: They should give Roxanne Shante some love.
Ryan: or Salt-N-Pepa.
Matt: Yup. Or Funky Four Plus One (okay, that probably won’t happen).
Kevin: Kurtis Blow?
Ryan: Possibly too late for him, especially considering the other old school rappers who have been passed by and who they still need catching up on. I think NWA will finally get in this year. And that might make it easier for the bigger acts coming up to get in. As more of the 90s become eligible, you simply cannot ignore hip hop.
Kevin: But they are forgetting pioneers like The Last Poets.
Ryan: Apparently they’ve been discussed before. As has Gil Scott-Heron.
Kevin: Gil has been earned that, but he hasn’t gotten it. If NWA gets in, who do you think will do the induction speech?
Ryan: Kendrick or Snoop.
Kevin: I’d like to see both of them do it.
Ryan: It’s weird that NWA that has been shut out for three years in the past and now we’re talking like they’re a sure thing. That’s a good thing honestly.
Kevin: MC Ren and Yella better have something to say if they get in because they were really shut out this year
Ryan: And what about Arabian Prince? Do you think he’ll get inducted with them? The Hall has a history of not inducting “less important” members that were actually significant, like Bob Welch in Fleetwood Mac or, heck, Gram Parsons in The Byrds.
Kevin: He won’t. Arabian Prince did almost close to nothing except few polishes. He left I think it was before the release of the album, or a lil after.
Joey: I can’t tell if I don’t want them in because they hate women, or if I want them in because the Hall hates black people.
On page 4, we talk about The Smiths, The Spinners, Steve Miller and Yes, and give our picks on who we think should get in.