R&R Hall of Fame Adds Singles Category, Names 6

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“Born to Be Wild” picture sleeve

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, at its 2018 induction ceremony yesterday (April 14), announced that it was introducing a new category into the process: singles. At the Cleveland ceremony, Steve Van Zandt named the first six entries into what’s being called Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Singles.

Van Zandt explained that the category is being considered as “kind of a rock ’n’ roll jukebox; records by artists not in the Rock Hall, which is not to say these artists will never be in the Rock Hall. They just are not in the Rock Hall at the moment.”

Indeed three of the first six songs—by Steppenwolf (“Born to be Wild”), Procol Harum (“A Whiter Shade of Pale”) and Link Wray (“Rumble”)—were impactful recordings made by artists who have been previously nominated but not yet inducted into the Hall. The other three are Chubby Checker’s “The Twist,” “Rocket 88,” by Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats (considered by some the first true rock ’n’ roll record) and “Louie Louie” by the Kingsmen.

Van Zandt added at the ceremony, “We all know the history of music can be changed with just one song, one record. In three minutes we suddenly enter a new direction, a movement, a style, an experience. That three-minute song can result in a personal revelation, an epiphany that changes our lives.”

However, it’s been pointed out that the singles are not actually being “inducted” but rather will have a display at the Cleveland museum.

Some critics have responded to the announcement at the 33rd annual event with skepticism, saying that the Hall is recognizing the individual songs as something of a consolation prize to the artists who made them famous, rather than honoring the artists  themselves.

Related: The Moody Blues are inducted into the Rock Hall

The surviving artists involved in the recordings were not on hand in Cleveland to accept the honor.

Here are the six songs comprising the first batch…

Rocket 88,” by Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats (1951)

Rumble,” by Link Wray and the Wraymen (1958)

The Twist,” by Chubby Checker (1960)

Louie Louie,” by the Kingsmen (1963)

A Whiter Shade of Pale,” by Procol Harum (1967)

Born to Be Wild,” by Steppenwolf (1968)

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2 Comments so far

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  1. Guy Smiley
    #1 Guy Smiley 15 April, 2018, 11:53

    Huh. Interesting idea.

    All good choices, certainly. But the first batch of singles doesn’t include “Rock Around the Clock,” not to mention nothing from Chuck Berry, Elvis, Buddy, Little Richard, Fats or Jerry Lee? No Ray Charles, Aretha, Beatles, or Stones either? “Like a Rolling Stone” doesn’t make the first cut?

    Curious to know if more acts that continue to be snubbed by the Hall — Monkees, anyone? — will have a single or two included instead. “I’m a Believer” (b/w “I’m Not Your Stepping Stone”) and “Pleasant Valley Sunday” are certainly worthy choices.

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    • Jeff Tamarkin
      Jeff Tamarkin 16 April, 2018, 07:42

      Van Zandt noted in his introduction of the category that, for now at least, they were only honoring songs by artists who have not been inducted. All of the artists you named (except the Monkees) are in the Hall.

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