Jim Croce and the R & R Hall Of Fame
So the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame Foundation is at it again. The nominees have
been announced for the 2004 induction ceremonies and Jim Croce has been unceremoniously
snubbed again. This isn't the first time that he's been left off the list. Since
becoming eligible for the honor in 1994, Jim Croce's name has never appeared on the
ballot. According to the Hall's website, a group of rock and roll 'historians' select
the nominees each year and then send out the ballots to about a 1000 so called rock
'experts'. I think it's time for these 'historians' to go back to school and take a
refresher course. In my opinion, they all get a failing mark.
One sign of a great artist is the endurance of his work over the years. I've spoken
to a couple hundred people of all ages and diverse backgrounds about some of the
nominees this year. I found it amazing that none of them could name a song by The
Sex Pistols, The Stooges, Gram Parsons or the 5 Royales (all current nominees for
the Hall), but on the average, could rattle off at least four Croce songs. Not bad,
considering Croce left a void in the music world almost 30 years ago.
The criteria that the Foundation has implemented is 'the influence and significance
of the artist's contributions to the development and perpetuation of rock and roll'.
Influence and significance. So what did Croce say with the music he wrote and sang?
He embodied the essence of the common man. Whether it was Big Jim Walker, Rapid Roy
or Leroy Brown, we knew these people...both in song and in life.
Somebody better tell Springsteen (already a member of the Hall), Seger and Mellencamp
(two of this year's nominees) to stop writing and singing about the common man.
But there was more to Croce than just the 'common man mentality'. He wrote about love
lost (Operator & Photographs and Memories), love found (Time In a Bottle &
I'll Have To Say I Love You In a Song), self introspection (Age) and individuality
(I Got a Name). The music said more when Jim Croce sang it than any cover version
could ever do. There was an honesty in his voice and his delivery. The songs seem
to fit you like well worn gloves or a pair of tattered old jeans. Sometimes you want
to move on to something new, but you always come back to that old pair of jeans or
gloves because there is a feeling of comfort and ease that you associate with them.
Maybe that's not enough for the Foundation? Or maybe the 'historians' are overlooking
Jim Croce because his vocal style and songwriting skills blended together with such an
ease? Could it be that they can't pin him down to one category? Is he rock and roll or
folk or a combination of the two?
Look at it this way...He's Jim Croce. And there will never be another singer/songwriter
like him. So put that in your rock history and give Jim Croce the honor of being inducted
into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with his contemporaries...where he deserves to be.
And if you think Jim Croce should have the highest honor rock and roll has to offer
than write to the Foundation and let them know. But don't write just once and tell them.
Do it every week for the next year. Make these 'historians' know they've made a mistake
by snubbing one of the few individualists of an industry that relies too heavily on what's
hot at the moment.
You can write to the Foundation at the following address (sorry no email address for
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation
1290 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10104
Maybe next year Jim Croce will receive the honor which has eluded him since 1994.
Until that time just remember
Like a north wind whistlin' down the sky / I've got a song, I've got a song / Like
a whipoorwill and a baby's cry / I've got a song, I've got a song / And I carry it
with me and I sing it loud / If it gets me nowhere, I'll go there proud.
- Richard Blaine
* Richard Blaine's views and opinions do not necessarily
reflect the views and opinions of the staff at Twin-Music.