FAME (noun) – 1. public estimation 2. popular acclaim
Kiss released their self-titled debut in 1974. Though not an initial success it laid the groundwork for a career that has spanned 34 years and at least 3 generations of fans.
Still, despite 24 gold records and 80 million records sold worldwide, Kiss has been not been elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The obvious answer is the bias of the rock media who do the voting. They’d rather vote in The Velvet Underground (96). Now, I’m not knocking the Velvets. I like them too. But let’s be honest, their contribution to music lies largely in their influence on future generations of bands. Well, that and Lou Reed’s “unique” vocal style. Fame largely eluded them outside of Andy Warhol’s factory and the editorial offices of Rolling Stone magazine.
The rock media have alwayss hated Kiss and Alice Cooper. I think it has something to do with the fact that they were able to take glam mainstream in a way critical darlings the New York Dolls never could.
The fact that other metal bands like Thin Lizzy and Judas Priest are still not in the Hall also points out an elitist attitude on the part of the voters toward metal. Sure, AC/DC, Black Sabbath and Van Halen got in, but it took far longer than it should have for all of those bands. Meanwhile, Paul McCartney has been inducted as a Beatle and a solo artist. Do we think Ozzy Osbourne, the grand dark wizard of metal, will ever get solo artist consideration? I didn’t think so.
But let’s be honest, if we define fame as Webster’s does at the top of this entry, its hard to deny that Kiss belongs in Cleveland alongside Elvis and Springsteen.
The Hall’s rules state a band is eligible for induction 25 years after their first release. That made Kiss eligible in 1999. One of the most influential bans of the last 30 years has been eligible for the Hall for nearly a decade and is still on the outside looking in.
The Class of 1999 was Billy Joel, Curtis Mayfield, Paul McCartney, Del Shannon, Dusty Springfield, Bruce Springsteen and the Staple Singers.
As someone to name a Del Shannon song. You might get “Runaway.” You are more likely to get a blank stare. Shouldn’t Kiss have been in that slot?
In the meantime acts such as Bonnie Raitt (00), Traffic (04), the Pretenders (05), REM (07), Patti Smith (07), Steely Dan (01) and Madonna (08) have been inducted. Again, this is no knock on these artists, but any of those slots would have been better filled with Kiss.
Have the members of REM ever put out 4 simultaneous solo records and had them all go gold?
I didn’t think so.
Did Mego create Steely Dan action figures and have trouble keeping them on the shelves?
Were the members of Traffic asked to add their blood to the red ink used in a comic book about themselves?
And really, “Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park” is still better than any movie Madonna has ever made.
The building is called the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, not the Rock and Roll Hall of Critical Darlings. Put Kiss in. There is absolutely no objective definitioin of “fame” that they do not meet.
I was in Cleveland a couple of years ago and had the opportunity to go to the hall. I passed because of their elitist stance toward the music I grew up loving.
Put Kiss in the hall dammit! They deserve it.