It couldn’t come too soon for the group’s very vocal (and, as evidenced by its sold-out tours, very large) fan base, which has waged campaigns to get their favorite band acknowledged over the years -- and has become increasingly embittered by the perceived oversight. Practically every day before Wednesday night's news, a Rush fan has taken to Twitter to protest the band's omission from the Hall, and many had already resigned themselves to a repeat this year.
A recent tweet by @stantsy captured the sentiment: “@rock_hall once again we will probably not see #RUSH inducted which is why I will continue to not support the RRHOF #sad #Canadianbandsrock.”
Along the way there had been petitions, one of which laid out a convincing argument: “We believe that Rush has been sorely overlooked in the United States for far too long by the popular media and the critics. The Hall of Fame was founded to recognize outstanding achievements and contributions to the world of rock music. Inducting Rush will legitimize that claim by recognizing one band in particular that has contributed dramatically to the rock genre while continually preserving its integrity.”
Among the reasons Rush deserved inclusion, according to the petition:
Has Rush earned its place? That’s a question for another time. (Seriously. I’m writing about that along with other thoughts on nominees.) But it should be acknowledged that Rush and other prog rock bands have, indeed, been oft overlooked by the Rock Hall kingpins.
Rolling Stone publisher/Rock Hall co-founder Jann Wenner’s empire once published in a record guide a description of singer Geddy Lee’s voice as sounding like “a cross between Donald Duck and Robert Plant.” It awarded the band’s “A Farewell to Kings” zero stars, which was defined in the book as being “Worthless. Records that need never (or should never) have been created.” So there’s a history between the two camps.
But Rush fans have a point. Anyone who listens to the acrobatic instrumental “YYZ,” from “Moving Pictures,” and doesn't draw a direct line to Metallica, Dream Theater and a generation of Rush's inheritors is ignoring a big chunk of heavy metal’s evolution. And it could also be argued that Rush's vision, and the way it included ideas from not only British metal of the late 1960s but structures from European classical music, was as singular an influence on rock's evolution as fellow nominees Heart or Deep Purple.
But is it true? That's a whole other discussion.
Follow Randall Roberts on Twitter: @liledit