Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson calls the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame "a popularity contest"

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      If you're a Rush fan, you've no doubt heard that the Canuck power trio has finally been nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The group has been eligible for induction since 1999--25 years after the release of its self-titled debut album (featuring drummer John Rutsey!)--and one of the main complaints about the Hall of Fame since then has been the consistent dismissal of Geddy Lee and Co. as not worthy.

      Not that being barred from the Hall has bothered Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson that much.

      "Personally it never really mattered to me," Lifeson told in a story posted Thursday, in advance of tonight's Rush show at Newark's Prudential Center. "I'm really happy for the Rush fans who feel that it is really important, and I hope we're inducted for their sake."

      Of course, to make the grade this year Rush will have to beat out such legendary rockers as Chic, the Marvellettes, Donna Summer, and Randy Newman. Let's see: Rush or Randy Newman? "2112" or "Short People"? Tough decision.

      Then there's the question of whether Rush would even have room for a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame statuette on its mantlepiece, which is already overflowing with gold and platinum albums and such prestigious Canadian accolades as the Governor General's Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement, which it scored last March.

      "The acknowledgement we got from the Canadian government, and by extension Canadians, is very dear to us," Lifeson said of the latter prize. "The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is more a popularity contest."

      To its credit, the Hall of Fame also made up for its godawful record somewhat by finally nominating Deep Purple--which has been eligible for induction even longer than Rush, since 1993. Purple should have been a shoo-in in '93 on the strength of it's 1972 album Machine Head alone.

      We here at Ear of Newt also cheer the long-overdue nomination of blues great Albert King. Now maybe those wankers on the nomination committee will start thinking about giving King's favourite guitarist, Stevie Ray Vaughan, a shot.

      And here's a few other well-known acts they should consider if they ever want to be taken seriously by the likes of us: Blue Oyster Cult, Dick Dale, Dire Straits, Free, Gary Moore, Humble Pie, Iron Maiden, J. Geils Band, Jethro Tull, Johnny Winter, Link Wray, Motorhead, Mott the Hoople, the New York Dolls, Peter Green, Rick Derringer, Robin Trower, Ronnie Montrose, Rory Gallagher, Ten Years After, T. Rex, Thin Lizzy, UFO, Warren Zevon, Wishbone Ash, and Yes.

      Randy Newman my ass.

      You can follow Steve Newton for all his wacky rock 'n' roll reminiscing on Twitter at



      Michael Snell

      Oct 20, 2012 at 8:43pm

      You could make a Hall of Fame from the people left out.

      out at night

      Oct 21, 2012 at 12:36am

      Totally agree with you on this one Newt. I personally WILL NOT REST until Klaatu is inducted! Damn!

      Martin Dunphy

      Oct 21, 2012 at 1:07am

      Pretty much with you, Newt, on everything but Free. One megahit almost a half-century ago does not a hall of famer make.
      Yeah, that's not all Free did. But it's all anyone remembers.


      Oct 21, 2012 at 10:34am

      Add the great Gary Moore to the list. RIP.

      out at night

      Oct 21, 2012 at 10:56am

      That is an impressive list at the end, innit? Goes to show that, like most things in life, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is basically high school all over again. Only the real brainiacs who actually got high marks in, like, math and stuff (Led Zepellin), and the ones who built that car in auto shop that won the national award (AC/DC) get in. The rest of the headbangers in the smoke pit are left out. Fuckin' preps!

      Steve Newton

      Oct 21, 2012 at 12:26pm

      you're right, Trapperjack, overlooking Gary Moore was a screw-up on my part. I've taken your advice and added him to the list

      Steve Newton

      Oct 21, 2012 at 12:30pm

      hey Marty, four comments back: "All Right Now" is not the only Free song anyone remembers. Some of us remember "Fire and Water" and "Wishing Well" too. And we'll never forget guitarist Paul Kossoff, either

      A. MacInnis

      Oct 21, 2012 at 12:42pm

      Newt, you are seriously undervaluing the genius of Randy Newman! Check this out (including the spoken intro - it takes a couple seconds to get into it, but it's worth it):

      ...Of course, he's not a rock musician, properly speaking, so Rush are far more deserving... still...

      Mark Fornataro

      Oct 21, 2012 at 2:51pm

      Its a bit of misnomer to name the award for rockers if they will take a Randy Newman over Johnny Winter. Maybe there should separately be a Pop Music Hall of Fame. Otherwise someday we might here Ray Connniff has been inducted as a rocker.


      Oct 22, 2012 at 8:16am

      It should be a called the POP hall of fame. They seem more concerned with sales, than musical contribution.
      Link Wray NOT inducted??? Seriously??