The J. Geils Band
By Bill Brotherton
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nominations were announced on Tuesday, and the Cars and the J. Geils Band, two great but underappreciated Boston bands, are on the list.
Both have been nominated before. Maybe voters will show more love this time.
This is the second nomination for the Cars, who were nominated last year and became major stars in the late ’70s new wave scene. Ric Ocasek, Ben Orr, Elliot Easton, Greg Hawkes and David Robinson merged 1970s guitar-oriented rock with synth-driven pop that would flourish in the ’80s. The Cars were named Best New Artist in the 1978 Rolling Stone Readers’ Poll and won Video of the Year for “You Might Think” at the initial MTV Video Music Awards in 1984. Their self-titled debut album sold six million copies and appeared on the Billboard album chart for 139 weeks.
This is the fourth time the Geils band has been nominated, the first since 2011. Led by legendary frontman Peter Wolf, the band led an uptempo R&B revival (“Looking For a Love,” “Give it to Me”) before they found fame with such radio-friendly ’80s hits as “Love Stinks,” “Freeze Frame” and “Centerfold.” The band (Wolf, John Geils, Stephen Jo Bladd, Magic Dick Salwitz, Seth Justman and Danny Klein) is one of the greatest live acts of all time.
If the band is inducted into the Rock Hall, it’ll be interesting to see if the band’s namesake shows up for the ceremony. John Geils and his former bandmates are in the midst of a bitter fight over rights to use the band’s name.
(Local angle: Brian Maes of Lynn, David Stefanelli of Lynnfield and Johnny A of Salem play in Peter Wolf and the Houseparty 5, one of the Woofa Goofa’s bands that gigs when Geils isn’t on the road.)
First-time nominees include late rapper Tupac Shakur, pop band Journey and Seattle-based grunge rockers Pearl Jam. The influential disco-era band Chic, the Susan Lucci of the Rock Hall voting, is on the ballot for the 11th time.
Also nominated for the first time: the hardcore punk pioneers Bad Brains; 1980s synth-poppers Depeche Mode; Jeff Lynne’s 1970s hit machine Electric Light Orchestra; Lollapalooza founders Jane’s Addiction; 1960s folkie Joan Baez; Steppenwolf, Canadian rockers of “Born to be Wild” fame.
Others back as nominees include Janet Jackson; soul singer and former Rufus frontwoman Chaka Khan; the late “I Gotcha” singer Joe Tex; the German electronic music band Kraftwerk; Detroit-area punk forerunners MC5; the Zombies, British makers of “Time of the Season” and “She’s Not There”; and progressive rockers Yes.
More than 800 artists, historians and music-industry officials vote, with results announced in December and induction next April.
There is no set number of inductees. This year’s class added five members.
To be eligible, all of the nominees had to have released their first recording no later than 1991. The induction ceremony, open to the public and televised later on HBO, will take place in Brooklyn’s Barclay’s Center.
You can vote online for your top five selections cast as a “fan’s ballot” at https://www.rockhall.com/vote.
Inductees will eventually be enshrined in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame museum in Cleveland.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.