Does Ted Nugent Belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

Ted Nugent feels he deserves induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, certainly more than Patti Smith, Madonna, Grandmaster Flash and ABBA, about whose inclusion he asks, “Why don’t you just piss on Chuck Berry’s grave?”

But Nugent believes he never will be invited in because Rolling Stone publisher Jann S. Wenner, the Hall’s co-founder, vice chairman and recipient of its Ahmet Ertegun Award (given to non-performers who have influenced the development of rock and roll), has placed a stranglehold . . .

. . . on Nugent’s inclusion because he finds the Detroit rocker’s conservative politics, especially his position as a board member of the National Rifle Association, abhorrent.

Twitter user Rooster Jones asked two time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee David Crosby (once as a member of The Byrds, once for Crosby, Stills and Nash) what he thought:

Crosby replied:

Great line.

But Nugent may have a point about his qualifications, whether or not his sour grapes rationalization of the snub is accurate (at least Crosby stuck to his music when dissing him).

Earlier this year I wrote a series of “Salon des Refusés” posts criticizing the Hall of Fame for ignoring worthy honorees like Kraftwerk, Chic (neither of which Nugent would probably consider rockers), Big Star, T. Rex and Roxy Music. I did not include Nugent in my list.

I am not much of a fan of Nugent, have very little of his music in my collection, but he has been rocking large crowds of fans for over 50 years, beginning with The Amboy Dukes, who scored a Top 20 single in 1968 with the psychedelicized “Journey to the Center of the Mind,” . . .

. . . which many consider an anthem to drugs. Nugent, however, claims to have been oblivious to that interpretation (and continued to play the song in concert):

I’ve been criticized so many times because, “oh yeah, sure Ted, you didn’t know that was about drugs.” I thought, “good idea, journey to the center of your mind … good idea.” A person should always reflect.

Nugent has long been outspokenly anti-drug and anti-alcohol. Ian Mackaye, who coined the term “straight edge” while in the punk band Minor Threat, cites Nugent’s impact on his own philosophy:

I can remember—honestly I loved Ted Nugent in the ’70s, which is horrific to say now, but at the time, part of the reason I found it so engaging [and] him so interesting was because he said quite publicly that he didn’t drink or use drugs, and I thought “OK! That’s cool!” I appreciated that.

Now I also abhor Nugent’s politics, particularly his inflammatory rhetoric with calls to hang and/or behead President Obama, whom he called a “subhuman mongrel,” and Hillary, whom he called a “worthless bitch” (it’s okay now, though, since he has vowed to be respectful towards his liberal enemies in the future; I’ll believe it when I hear it), but even I have to admit Nugent rocks hard in songs like “Cat Scratch Fever”:

And if we add moral or political clauses to the qualifications of being honored by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a number of current ex-con inductees will need to be expunged, and not just for drug charges, including Chuck Berry, who had a long history of conflicts with the law.

Furious One Charged with Murder

“It’s a jungle sometimes.”

One of legendary rap innovators Furious Five, Kidd Creole has been charged with murder, allegedly slipping over the edge and losing his head. Hip Hop Hall of Fame and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five are perhaps best known for the proto-conscious rap song “The Message”:

Of course, Kidd Creole did not rap on the original recording of that song. Only one of the Five, Melle Mel, appeared on the track along with session musician Duke Bootee, explaining their extra credit on the label. . . .

. . . though the other four performed it in concert after it became a hit.


Just to be clear, Nathaniel Glover, the rapper Kidd, two d’s, Creole, should not be mistaken for August Darnell, the Mutant Disco performer and producer Kid, one d, Creole, and neither should be confused with Elvis Presley, rocker King Creole in the movie of the same name.

Sam Shepard (1943-2017)

Primarily known as an actor (Bloodline, Mud, Cold in JulyDays of HeavenThe Right Stuff, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for his embodiment of test pilot cool) and playwright (True WestBuried Child, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize, Fool for Love, for which he won one of his many Obie Awards), Sam Shepard had a long relationship with rock ‘n’ roll. He sometimes played drums and/or percussion for the lower east side 1960s New York psychedelic folk band Holy Modal Rounders, here featured in Easy Rider:

In the early ’70s, he collaborated with Patti Smith on the play Cowboy Mouth. Their relationship is featured prominently in her National Book Award winning memoir Just Kids.

Nominally, the playwright co-wrote the largely improvised film Renaldo and Clara shot by Bob Dylan during his 1975-1976 Rolling Thunder Revue. Shepard also published The Rolling Thunder Logbook chronicling his  experience of the tour. A decade later, Shepard co-wrote a song with Dylan:

In 2007, Shepard again collaborated with Patti Smith, playing banjo on her cover of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”: