Will 2012 be the year when battling bros Slash and Axl Rose finally stop acting like morons and get the original grunts in Guns N' Roses back together?
That was the hot story line Tuesday when the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced nominees for next year's class of stars — which, to be honest, felt a little thin in the history department.
The Gunners are joined by new noms Joan Jett, Heart, the Cure, rappers Eric B. and Rakim, the Spinners, bluesman Freddie King and the Rod Stewart-led group the Small Faces/Faces.
Previous noms the Beastie Boys, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Donna Summer, Rufus with Chaka Khan, Laura Nyro, Donovan and War are also in the running again, and I'm guessing the Boys and the Peppers — both recently back in the news — will at last sneak out of that group.
More than 500 industry voters — including powerful, and a bit snobby, Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner — will determine who gets immortalized at the famed Cleveland museum on April 14. The induction ceremony always turns into an "impromptu" jam session, which would be jacked to screeching new levels if Guns N' Roses make the cut and cue the thunderstorm of Welcome to the Jungle.
But will the L.A. bad boys get the nod? I say yes. Maybe that's wishful thinking as a fan and a critic, but some bands have an epic aura to them, even if Axl & Co. only really lasted for about six years and five or so albums. That said, one of those LPs was Appetite for Destruction, which is pretty much rock perfect.
Who else has a shot? Either Jett or the Wilson sisters in Heart will get in. I'll give the nod to Ms. I Love Rock 'n' Roll, who was a true rock progenitor, slamming her riffs into the male backbone of a stubborn music biz. I don't see the guylinered Brit mopes in the Cure making it this year (not a fan, sorry), although Eric B. and Rakim, despite the Rock Hall's slight hip-hop bias, feel like winners to me, too. They basically invented the genre.
Per usual, people will moan about Journey and Duran Duran and Rush once again not making the noms cut. There's argument to be made for all of 'em, particularly the proggy Canucks in Rush, but their exclusion almost feels personal now. Plus where are Hall & Oates, the most dominant power-pop duo of the '80s?
But alas, they will all have to wait another year. And probably many years after that. In the meantime, for the sake of a ceremony that will need some extra juice, we can only hope that Guns N' Roses makes the cut — and that Axl Rose takes his meds.
Sean Daly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8467. His Pop Life blog is at tampabay.com/blogs/poplife.