Nice name, although we did get Hootie here.
IIRC, Subdivisions received pretty heavy airplay on MTV. Rush peaked commercially before MTV debuted, really. Songs like Closer to the Heart, Spirit of the Radio, LImelight and Tom Sawyer may have fared better if they came along a few years later.
I’m slightly older (54), and found them utterly inescapable on album rock stations during high school, which coincided with their 1980-1982 commercial peak (Permanent Waves/Moving Pictures/Signals). However, I never saw them on MTV and other than “Spirit of Radio” don’t recall ever hearing them on a Top 40 station.
Rush was probably my first encounter with what would now be called a toxic fandom. If you didn’t care for Rush (my personal opinion was they were phenomenally talented musicians, but other than “Spirit of Radio” and “Subdivisions”, couldn’t write a song I wanted to listen to more than once), you didn’t have different taste. No, you couldn’t appreciate them because you were an musically stunted brain dead loser who probably liked REO Shitwagon or one of those new-wave f*g bands or still listened to disco. I was meh on Rush, but man did I hate Rush fans.
I remember seeing this version of Limelight on MTV, I dunno, “reasonably frequently?” Would have been early on though, '83 - '85-ish.
…https://youtu.be/7nIV2EIVH9o (embed blocked)
I get that, and I do think it’s appropriate for Rush to be included in the HoF.
I just don’t necessarily share the OP’s incredulity that it wasn’t a slam-dunk, no-doubt, first-year-of-eligibility gimme.
The only Rush video I remember seeing on MTV was “Time Stand Still” (featuring Aimee Mann), with some of the cheapest greenscreen effects you will ever see! The only songs of theirs I ever heard on the radio were “Tom Sawyer,” and occasionally “Closer to the Heart,” and those were quite rare. I knew about them largely because one of my college friends was HUGE fan. I find some of their songs enjoyable enough, and some of them dull, over-long, and self-indulgent. But I don’t find it at all surprising that some people are unfamiliar with them. It’s not like they had a string of top ten hits that you couldn’t get away from.
I remember an early episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 in which Joel Hodgson responded to a fan letter with a rather derisive, “I bet you listen to Rush!”, which kind of amused me. I don’t remember what he was responding to, exactly–maybe he detected some of that toxic fandom, or maybe it was just a random wisecrack. But I thought it was weird to hear them mentioned in that context.
I’m 53, grew up in NJ, and was very familiar with Rush. Back in middle school, doodling the Rush logo (all block letters) on your notebook cover was very common. I guess I don’t get the disdain. I’m not a prog rock fan (honestly do not enjoy Yes, ELP, etc.) but always liked the Rush songs I heard. Red Barchetta, Limelight, Tom Sawyer. I found them to be a little more highbrow than much of the other stuff I heard (and liked) on the radio then. When I went to college (also in NJ) in the mid-80s there were a number of die-hard Rush fans in my circle of friends. I never found Geddy Lee’s voice grating (but then again, I am a big fan of Bob Dylan and Lucinda Williams, so…)
You don’t have to like Rush, but if there has to be a RnR hall of fame, they definitely belong in it, and should have been in earlier. There just isn’t any denying their talent or influence. How many drummers idolized Neal Peart? They are not my fave band–for prog I prefer King Crimson or Porcupine Tree–but they have some really well done songs.
Point well taken.
I think Rush might have had more cache post-90s with younger people due to both South Park and Guitar Hero having pretty memorable appearances by them. It’s the only reason I know them.
Again, Jann is a prick, especially when it comes to induction into his HOF.
Two wonderful artists, neither of whom can remotely be called Rock & Roll are Randy Newman and Laura Nyro. Both have been in for years.
The Hall has embraced a wide range of genres of popular music. I’d say one notable omission is country. There are 11 musicians who have been inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame: Jimmie Rodgers, Hank Williams, Chet Atkins, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, The Everly Brothers, Bill Monroe, Bob Wills, Brenda Lee, Floyd Cramer, and Sam Phillips. I think pretty much all of them fall into a category of pre-1960s early influences. (Elvis is a category all unto himself. I’d argue he is a rocker with many influences, including country.)
So, as you indicated, the RNRHOF is whatever TPTB want to include. Looking for consistency in what they are doing is probably pointless. Many have declared the Hall a joke. But their annual pronouncements of finalists, fan voting, and inductees - and then the annual induction ceremony itself - generates a ton of media attention and commentary. That’s probably the whole point at this point in time.
I think that may be part of what finally tipped things in their favor. The generation of musicians who grew up listening to and being inspired by Rush started getting into the HoF, and upon induction started questioning why their own heroes, Rush, weren’t in yet. Dave Grohl/Foo Fighters are a good example. There are a ton of other, younger musicians who were inspired by Rush, guys who are around my age (mid-50s).
As far as “outside North America”, Rush themselves were completely astonished to discover they had a massive fanbase in South America. They had no idea until the decided to play in Rio, and found out that fans were traveling there from all over South America to see them. And they knew the words and music to every song.