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The Need for Back-Up: Rock Hall Finally Inducts Classic Backing Bands

with 9 comments

One of the many, many criticisms of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is their occasional neglect of certain bands in favor of other artists. From the first year of induction in 1987, when Smokey Robinson was inducted instead of all of The Miracles, it’s been a legitimate concern.

Today, the Hall attempted to alleviate some of that concern by announcing five such bands would be inducted alongside the five previously-announced members of this year’s class. The additional bands are:

  • The Blue Caps: Tommy Facenda, Cliff Gallup, Dickie Harrell, Bobby Jones, Johnny Meeks, Jack Neal, Paul Peek, Willie Williams (Gene Vincent)
  • The Comets: Fran Beecher, Danny Cedrone, Joey D’Ambrosio (a.k.a. Joey Ambrose), Johnny Grande, Ralph Jones, Marshall Lytle, Rudy Pompilli, Al Rex, Dick Richards, Billy Williamson (Bill Haley)
  • The Crickets: Jerry Allison, Sonny Curtis, Joe B. Mauldin, Niki Sullivan (Buddy Holly)
  • The Famous Flames: Bobby Bennett, Bobby Byrd, Lloyd Stallworth, Johnny Terry (James Brown)
  • The Midnighters: Henry Booth, Cal Green, Arthur Porter, Lawson Smith, Charles Sutton, Norman Thrasher, Sonny Woods (Hank Ballard)
  • The Miracles: Warren “Pete” Moore, Claudette Rogers Robinson, Bobby Rogers, Marvin Tarplin, Ronald White (Smokey Robinson)

A deserved congratulations to the inductees and a “took you long enough” to the RRHOF. What other backing bands do you think should be inducted?

Written by Mike Duquette

February 9, 2012 at 14:44

9 Responses

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  1. Two words: Nicky Hopkins.

    (Okay, so technically he’s not a band, but still.)


    February 9, 2012 at 15:09

    • There is a “sideman” category already, and yeah… Hopkins should be in there.


      February 9, 2012 at 20:58

  2. All past and present members of The E-Street Band should be inducted. I’d also throw in Crazy Horse and The Attractions for starters. That’s who I can think of off the top of my head for the moment.


    February 9, 2012 at 16:34

    • The Heartbreakers too.


      February 9, 2012 at 20:59

  3. The ROCK AND ROLL hall of fame is a joke.

    Bill B

    February 10, 2012 at 07:18

    • It should be run like the baseball hall of fame. Any rock and roller that has ever sinned should be barred for life (and after, too).


      February 12, 2012 at 18:54

  4. Does the backing band have to have a name, or can it just be a collection of musicians who backed a solo artist? I’m thinking the early Joe Jackson band (Graham Maby, Dave Houghton & Gary Sanford) and Billy Joel’s band from the mid-70s through early 80s (Liberty DeVitto, Doug Stegmeyer, Russel Javors, David Brown and Richie Cannata). Both of those bands were as essential to the artist’s sound as The E Street Band and The Heartbreakers. I would also add Graham Parker’s The Rumour to the list. Of course, only Billy Joel has even been inducted out of these three artists, so they won’t be nominating the backing bands anytime soon.

    • Billy Joel’s band… They were a great combo. Not that they’ll ever get such a honor, simply because they weren’t a band with household name, but I agree with you completely. In fact, I’d expand that idea and include Mark Rivera (who replaced Cannata on sax in 1982, and has stayed with Billy ever since). That is one of the best backing bands ever, and I’d put them on the same level as the E Streeters or the Heartbreakers too.

      I’ve never heard much Graham Parker, but I automatically dismiss him all because of a snide comment I heard him make about Billy Joel once, implying that he wasn’t a “real” rock & roller or some such bullshit. They both seem to have a love for great old R&B/soul music, so I’m not sure where that crap came from.


      February 11, 2012 at 15:29

      • Agreed about Mark Rivera being included, and I should also add Howie Emerson, who played guitar on Turnstiles and The Stranger. As for Graham Parker, he was probably trying to be “punk” by disparaging an artist who wasn’t considered cool at the time. I’m guessing he secretly liked Billy Joel’s music. GP made some amazing albums during the same era that Billy Joel was in his prime, and they’re worth checking out.

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