Let’s start with this is from GlobalNews.ca.
It’s been more than 50 years since the Guess Who lit up the charts with American Woman, and a group of dedicated fans are hoping to see the iconic Winnipeg band enshrined in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
GuessWho4TheHall, a national grassroots campaign, is hoping to collect one million signatures by the end of February in an attempt to bring the band and its stellar career to the Hall’s attention and make the Guess Who only its sixth Canadian inductees — joining the likes of The Band, Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, and Rush.
GuessWho4TheHall’s executive director Jenny Motkaluk told Global News the idea was sparked by a group of Winnipeg music fans who were talking about what they’d been listening to during the COVID-19 pandemic. Then the conversation turned to the Guess Who, and the fact that they’d never even been nominated for induction into the Hall.
“We decided that it was time that we did something about it,” said Motkaluk. “Of course, being from Winnipeg, we leveraged our networks across the country and decided to build this campaign so we can say loud and proud: Winnipeg loves the Guess Who, Canada loves the Guess Who, and music fans around the world love them.”
Now here’s my take, also from GlobalNews.ca.
Full disclosure: I have many problems with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and how it conducts its business. But I’m not beyond wrapping myself in the flag when there’s an opportunity to straighten things out a little bit.
Since the Hall began honouring musical pioneers 35 years ago, about 230 artists have been inducted, the vast majority of which are American. Approximately 35 are British, although The Beatles account for five of those inductions (the group plus each individual member) and Rod Stewart for two (with The Small Faces and as a solo artist). Two are from Ireland (U2 and Van Morrison), two from Jamaica (Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff), and one from Sweden (ABBA).
How many Canadians? Five: The Band, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young (twice, once as a solo artist and as a member of the Buffalo Springfield), Leonard Cohen, and Rush. That’s barely two per cent of the total, something that seems very wrong for a country that has exported so much music to the rest of the world.
The first four on that list are all artists who decamped Canada for the U.S. to further their careers. The Band tagged along with Bob Dylan before striking out on their own. Joni and Neil found their way to California while Leonard Cohen moved to New York City before also heading out west.
Only Rush maintained a Canadian base of operations for their entire career — and they had a heckuva time being recognized. It took 15 years of fan pressure to get them on the ballot before they were finally voted in back in 2013. The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Madonna, acts whose careers were launched in the ’80s, were both given nods ahead of Rush.
Clearly, there’s a hoser deficit that needs to be rectified. I hereby submit for their consideration The Guess Who.