Time's Up! Is Rush Making the Hall of Fame or Not?

By Scott Thill, Wired.com, November 10, 2008

Three months ago, Listening Post followed Stephen Colbert's lead and wondered aloud why Rush hadn't made the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame yet. We asked the readership to chime in on the snub, and it hit us back with a record 500 responses. We might have to check the math, but that might also be an overall site record as well.

Listening Post also contacted our source at the Hall and asked if it would be cool enough to field three burning questions from Rush fans, and they agreed. Recent news that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's American Masters Series kicks off on Monday with a bow down to guitar legend and master tinkerer Les Paul only made those questions burn further. After all, Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson is one of rock's greatest ax masters, and has been known to shred righteously on Les Pauls of many colors. Serendipity!

So time's up, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Listening Post sifted through the hundreds of responses and found their major recurring themes, which are best exemplified by the three urgent queries below.

  • According to Wikipedia, Rush possesses 24 gold records and 14 platinum records, placing fifth behind The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Kiss and Aerosmith for most consecutive gold and platinum rock albums, moving an estimated total 40 million units worldwide. And although the Hall of Fame argues that sales don't count, given that Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart are consistently recognized and decorated as some of the most skilled performers on their given instruments, hasn't Rush made the commercial and professional case that it belongs in the Hall?
  • Rush is still together, while other bands, including those already in the Hall of Fame, have fragmented and ceased production. As a result, the power trio has amassed a diehard core following of early adopters, including several accomplished musicians, as well as a significant audience of latecomers. Doesn't this longevity and influence demand the band's inclusion?
  • Does Jann Wenner dislike Rush, and is his alleged dislike of the band responsible for its controversial exclusion from the Hall of Fame?

OK, the ball is in your court, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Listening Post looks forward to settling this sonic beef once and for all. And although you already have selected your 2009 inductees, we predict a Rush inclusion sooner rather than later. And we're not alone.

"Based on our unscientific polling, 83% of people think Rush will someday make it," explains FutureRockHall.com founder Neil Walls, who launched the blog in 2006 to follow what he calls the "fascinating wormhole" of this subject. "I generally try to stay impartial on the site and not let my opinions get in the way. I think they should be in, but as Alice Cooper said, sometimes it's a better story not to be in."