The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Can't Be Bothered To Induct Bluegrass Rock Icon Bruce Hornsby, Invites Non-Living Songs Into Their Little Club Instead

 When you're tickling the ivories in front of thousands of adoring fans and you realize your immense contributions to the genre you helped create may never be fully appreciated by the modern music establishment. |  Jim Chapin Photography

When you're tickling the ivories in front of thousands of adoring fans and you realize your immense contributions to the genre you helped create may never be fully appreciated by the modern music establishment. | Jim Chapin Photography

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame welcomed its latest class of stars last night, inducting The Cars, The Moody Blues, Bon Jovi, Dire Straits, Nina Simone and Sister Rosetta Tharpe — bands and artists you may recognize from the senior quotes portion of your parents' yearbooks.

Conspicuously absent, once again, was Bruce Hornsby.

That this organization (cartel?) continues to honor worthy but inferior acts while neglecting the man who infused mainstream music with dashes of bluegrass pop and heartland rock in 1986 is nothing short of appalling. Hornsby and his band The Range burst onto the scene that year with their debut The Way It Is, an album so chock-full of bluegrass bangers that the suits of the industry had no choice but to bow to greatness and award them the Grammy for Best New Artist.

Seven years later, Bruce released Harbor Lights, peppering perfect piano solos and jazzy horns and unforgettable backup vocals. Surely you've heard the "Fields of Gray" instrumental during the commercial bumpers of non-major golf tournaments on CBS. Yet this impressive and enduring legacy still isn't enough for the heedless nitwits at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Unbelievable.



What makes this year's snub even more infuriating is the Hall's willingness to honor individual songs for the first time, a surprise decision made all the more puzzling by the fact that none of the nine classics on The Way It Is made the cut. Perhaps you remember these tracks from old Chevy truck commercials or Mr. Holland's Opus scenes: “Rocket 88,” by Jackie Brenston and the Delta Cats; “Rumble,” by Link Wray; “The Twist,” by Chubby Checker; “Louie Louie,” by The Kingsmen; “A Whiter Shade of Pale,” by Procol Harum, and “Born to Be Wild,” by Steppenwolf.

This list, like any list of influential rock and roll songs that doesn't include "Mandolin Rain" or "Every Little Kiss" (to say nothing of "On The Western Skyline" and of course "The Way It Is") is laughably erroneous and discussion of which should be quickly dismissed from every barbershop in America. (Love some good bluegrass rock barbershop talk.)

Bruce's (I call him Bruce) early contributions with The Range and brief tenure with Grateful Dead are more than enough to warrant a plaque in the Hall. (Just guessing on the plaque thing, obviously I'm boycotting that glass monstrosity in Cleveland until further notice.) But to deny all of his memorable singles of the proper respect they deserve is more than a little disheartening. For now, all we can do is hope that the most important and influential Bruce in music history will one day be allowed to take his rightful place among other music greats. Until then, this institution will be brandished with a dreaded asterisk around these parts. Get your act together, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame*. |ES|

 Big mood until Bruce is in the Hall*. |  Michael Weintrob

Big mood until Bruce is in the Hall*. | Michael Weintrob