By Brian Ives
If you’re in a band, sometimes being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is just half the battle. Unless you’re the Beatles, ZZ Top or U2 — i.e. bands who have never had a lineup change — the question often is, which members will be included with the induction?
Some groups have had an insane amount of members over the years: over fifty musicians have been a part of Santana at some point. More than twenty have been in Chicago. And while it’s true that a band is more than the sum of its parts, some parts are clearly more important than others, and few would argue that everyone that has ever passed through a group should be included along with the key members. Some bands have multiple classic lineups and other members don’t get the Rock Hall invite: hence, the founding members of Van Halen, along with Sammy Hagar were included in their induction, but late ’90s-era singer Gary Cherone wasn’t invited to the induction. The Hall of Fame has certainly tried to be thoughtful in only including members who contributed to each band’s most seminal work.
But, to be sure, there’s been some misses: sometimes, they’ve taken a conservative route, sticking only with a band’s founding lineup (as with the Byrds or Black Sabbath). Other times, founding members have been omitted (as with Genesis, and this year, Yes).
Here’s our take on some musicians that deserve to share the honor of Rock and Roll Hall of Famer with their former bandmates, starting with this year’s ceremony.
Dave Abbruzzese of Pearl Jam (2017) – Abbruzzese was Pearl Jam’s drummer from 1991 through 1994 — which was, arguably, their most popular era. He on their breakthrough episode of MTV Unplugged and on the Lollapalooza ’92 tour — and was on two of their most successful albums, 1993’s Vs. and 1994’s Vitalogy. When deciding on which members of a band to include, the Rock Hall seems to gravitate toward eras where that band sold the most records; Vs. and Vitalogy sold twelve million copies in America alone, making this one of their more baffling omissions. Abbruzzese has since responded to the snub on Facebook, first expressing anger, and then saying that he’s happy that the band that he was a part of are being recognized.
Jack Irons of Pearl Jam (2017) – Irons replaced Abbruzzese and played on two of their seminal albums: 1996’s No Code and 1998’s Yield. They aren’t the best selling in the band’s catalog – they both were certified platinum, though, and featured classics like “Who You Are,” “Given to Fly,” “Wishlist” and “Do The Evolution.” (Irons also has another important part in Pearl Jam’s story: he’s the guy who introduced Eddie Vedder to Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard). But don’t feel too bad for Irons: he’s been a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer since 2012 when he was inducted with his other former band, the Red Hot Chili Peppers. And both Irons and Abbruzzese have been invited to the event by Pearl Jam, so they may share the stage with their ex-band.
Peter Banks of Yes (2017) – Banks is the original guitarist of Yes, and the only founding member to not be included in the Rock Hall induction. He only lasted for two albums, 1969’s Yes and 1970’s Time and a Word. It wouldn’t be until 1971’s The Yes Album that the band started getting radio play, and by then he’d been replaced by Steve Howe. But still, as a founding member of the band with bassist Chris Squire, singer Jon Anderson, drummer Bill Bruford and keyboardist Tony Kaye, he probably should have been included.
Nick Simper of Deep Purple (2016) – There was a lot of controversies around which member of Deep Purple was (and weren’t included) when the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year (and we tried to explain all of it). Not much of that controversy surrounded their founding bass player Nick Simper, who wasn’t included. Simper played on their first three albums, 1968’s Shade of Deep Purple (which included the hit “Hush”), 1968’s The Book of Taliesyn (including their hit cover of Neil Diamond’s “Kentucky Woman”) and 1969’s Deep Purple. After that, Simper (and singer Rod Evans) were fired and replaced by singer Ian Gillan and bassist Roger Glover, who took the band from their hippie garage rock roots into a more heavy metal direction. But somehow, Evans was included in the induction, while Simper was not.
Chad Channing of Nirvana (2014) – It’s probably not easy to be Nirvana’s “other drummer,” given the amount of fame Dave Grohl has enjoyed in the years since that band’s demise. But Chad Channing played on the band’s classic debut album, 1989’s Bleach, which should be more than enough to warrant his inclusion into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. To make matters worse, he didn’t find out that he wasn’t being included until just a few weeks before the induction ceremony.
John Rutsey of Rush (2013) – Many Rush fans probably don’t realize that there ever was a drummer other than Neil Peart, but Rutsey was the band’s original drummer and played on their 1973 self-titled debut album. At the time, he was also the guy who spoke to the audience between songs; Alex Lifeson told Radio.com that “He was comfortable talking to people, and being ‘that guy,’ whereas Geddy [Lee] really wasn’t. John, he would tell stories and tell jokes, he would pick someone from the audience and do running jokes with that person all night. He was really great at that. It was fun: those days were really fun with him.”
Jack Sherman of the Red Hot Chili Peppers (2012) – Sherman replaced the band’s original guitarist, Hillel Slovak, and played on their 1984 self-titled debut; he co-wrote the classic “True Men Don’t Kill Coyotes” (and most of the following album, 1985’s Freaky Styley including “Jungle Man,” although by the time the album was recorded, he had been replaced by Slovak, who’d rejoined). On “Out in L.A.”, Anthony Kiedis even gives him a shout-out, yelling, “You better be burnin’, Sherman!” before Jack’s brief face-melting guitar solo.
Dave Navarro of the Red Hot Chili Peppers (2012) – It looks like a typo: “Dave Narvarro of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.” But yes, the Jane’s Addiction guitarist was a Chili Pepper from 1993-1998, and played on 1995’s One Hot Minute. The album was like an interesting experiment which didn’t quite work, but it did have some great moments, like “My Friends,” “Coffee Shop” and “Aeroplane.” And if later-era guitarist Josh Klinghoffer deserved to be inducted on the strength of just one album — 2011’s I’m With You — surely Sherman and Navarro deserved the honor for their single album contributions. But in Navarro’s case, he’ll probably be inducted at some point, as a member of Jane’s Addiction. And we very much think that that should happen.
Anthony Phillips of Genesis (2010) – Conventional wisdom with most Genesis fans is that there are two lineups: the “classic” era where the prog rock giants lineup included singer Peter Gabriel, keyboardist Tony Banks, bassist Mike Rutherford, drummer Phil Collins and guitarist Steve Hackett, and the “pop” era which featured Rutherford on bass and guitar, Collins on drums and vocals and Banks. But the original lineup was led by guitarist Anthony Phillips, who played on their first two albums, 1969’s From Genesis to Revelation and 1970’s Trespass. They didn’t yield any hits, but they did have psychedelic prog-rock classics “Where the Sour Turns to Sweet,” “Silent Sun” and “The Knife.”
Ronnie James Dio and Vinnie Appice of Black Sabbath (2006) – For years, it seemed like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (and Rolling Stone magazine, whose publisher Jann Wenner is a Rock Hall co-founder) was seriously allergic to heavy metal. Happily, they seem to have gotten over themselves in recent years, which started with the induction of Black Sabbath in 2006. It’s totally understandable that every member of Black Sabbath wasn’t included: most fans of the band would admit that by the late ’80s and early ’90s, Tony Iommi lost the plot a bit (with all due respect). And most everyone would admit that the impact of the original lineup — Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward — is unmatched by any other lineup (or any other heavy rock band, ever). That said, Sabbath Mk. II — featuring Iommi, Butler, singer Ronnie James Dio and drummer Vinny Appice — added to the band’s legacy. It’s unlikely that Dio — the band (which included RJD and Appice) — will ever be inducted, but it’s a true shame that Dio — the man — will never get his due from the Rock Hall.
Neal Schon of Santana (1998) – The Rock Hall only included the original members of Santana in their induction, which was a bummer for Schon, who was the first new member to join the band… and, by the way, he joined the band when he was fifteen years old. He only played on two albums, but one of them was 1971’s III, which was one of their best efforts; notably, Schon played solos on two of the highlights, “No One To Depend On” and “Everybody’s Everything.” Schon was also with the band on their next album, the experimental Caravanserai. Although things have worked out OK: Schon went on to form Journey, and they’re being inducted this year.
Nico of the Velvet Underground (1996) – Was she officially a member of the band? Was Ian Stewart an official member of the Rolling Stones? Was lyricist Robert Hunter an official member of the Grateful Dead? The latter two artists were included with their respective bands. There’s no reason to be so stuck on “official rules,” anyway: the Velvets weren’t a band that played by anyone’s rules, including rock and roll’s. And although she was with the band for just one album — 1967’s The Velvet Underground & Nico — that album would not be the same without her. And that album, as much as nearly any other that you can name, has changed the course of rock music in the past fifty years.
Doug Yule of the Velvet Underground (1996) – The Rock Hall stuck with the Velvets original lineup — songwriter/vocalist/guitarist Lou Reed, keyboardist/vocalist/viola player John Cale, drummer Maureen Tucker and guitarist Sterling Morrison. But Doug Yule deserves to be there also: he replaced Cale and was in the band for their third album, 1969’s The Velvet Underground (which included “What Goes On,” “Beginning to See the Light” and “Pale Blue Eyes”) and 1970’s Loaded (including “Sweet Jane,” “Rock and Roll,” “Oh! Sweet Nuthin'” and “New Age”). Sure, he made an asinine attempt to continue using the Velvets’ name after Reed, Morrison and Tucker left the band. But his contributions to their last two legitimate albums shouldn’t be ignored.
Warren Haynes, Allen Woody and Marc Quinones of the Allman Brothers Band (1995) – When the Allman Brothers Band was inducted in 1995, it probably made sense to only include the original lineup. Haynes and Woody had only been with the band for six years at that point, Quinones only four years. But in retrospect, the albums that they played on yielded a number of songs that legitimately added to the band’s catalog: “Good Clean Fun,” “Seven Turns,” “End of the Line,” “Bad Rain,” “Get On With Your Life,” “Sailin’ ‘Cross the Devil’s Sea,” “Soulshine,” “No One to Run With” and “Back Where It All Begins.” More importantly, Haynes, Woody and Quinones revitalized them as a live band that not only celebrated their past, but pushed the band forward as one of the most adventurous improvisational units until they played their final notes in 2014. In fact, the Allman Brothers Band is probably the only band we can think of with Hall of Fame worthy members who joined after the band was inducted. We’d implore the Hall to revise the Allmans lineup, including Haynes, Woody and Quinones, as well as bass player Oteil Burbridge (who joined in 1997) and guitarist Derek Trucks (who joined in 1999). While they only played on one album — 2003’s Hittin’ the Note — they helped the band to remain absolutely vital up to the end, and with the Allmans, live performance was more important than studio albums anyway.
Gram Parsons of the Byrds (1991) – Once again, the Hall stuck only with the original lineup here. And while that lineup — Roger McGuinn, David Crosby, Chris Hillman, Gene Clark and Michael Clarke — was incredibly influential, so were some of the subsequent versions of the band, particularly the lineup that recorded 1968’s Sweetheart of the Rodeo (McGuinn, Hillman, Gram Parsons and drummer Kevin Kelley), an album that charted the course for country-rock crossovers, not to mention the Americana movement that still thrives today. Parsons could still be inducted as a member of his subsequent band, the Flying Burrito Brothers, or his solo career, but neither scenario is likely to happen. And like Ronnie James Dio, Parsons feels like a person who belongs in the Rock Hall, regardless of how he gets there.
Blondie Chaplin of the Beach Boys (1988) – Chaplin was only with the band from 1972-1973. But he sang “Sail On, Sailor.” Which should be enough.