Latest nominees for pop music hall announced

September 18, 2014
To the suprise of no one, Paul McCartney, shown performing last year at the Barclays Center in New York, is a leading contender for induction into America’s Pop Music Hall of Fame. - Associated Press

A Beatle, the Eagles, the Four Tops and the Dave Clark Five are among the new crop of nominees for the Washington County-based America’s Pop Music Hall of Fame.

The three-year-old pop music hall, designed to honor the biggest hitmakers in pop music’s history, announced its latest group of nominees this week. All told, 25 artists who placed hits on the charts of Billboard magazine from 1945 to 1972 were nominated for induction in 2015. The field of 25 will be whittled down to 10 acts chosen through online voting by the public, with four additional acts to be determined by the pop hall’s selection committee.

First-time nominees this year include Paul McCartney, who was in the first batch of artists inducted into America’s Pop Music Hall of Fame as one of the Beatles; this time, he is being nominated for his solo work; Glen Campbell, who was recently in the spotlight because of his struggle with Alzheimer’s disease; the Canadian rock band the Guess Who, who have yet to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame despite a solid run of chart success in the late 1960s and early 1970s; and Chubby Checker, whose “The Twist” was a No. 1 hit twice over a two-year span.

Other first-time nominees are Cher, the Dave Clark Five, the Eagles, the Four Tops, the Grass Roots, the Jackson Five, Tom Jones, the Righteous Brothers, Johnny Rivers, Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor and Johnny Tillotson.

Among the artists previously nominated who are again up for consideration are Paul Anka, Dion and the Belmonts, Bob Dylan, the Everly Brothers, Ricky Nelson, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Three Dog Night, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and Andy Williams.

Voting will continue through Oct. 31 at americaspopmusichalloffame.org. The inductees will be announced in December.

The first two batches of inductees to America’s Pop Music Hall of Fame included artists who belong on any musical Mt. Rushmore, such as Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and Buddy Holly. This time around, according to Terry Hazlett, the former Canonsburg borough manager and the pop hall’s executive director, the potential inductees include reliable hitmakers who were once radio fixtures and dependable ticket-sellers, but have so far slipped through the cracks where the rock and roll and country halls of fame are concerned.

“Now, we’re getting down to the actual pop stars,” Hazlett explained. “And that’s the intent of the pop music hall of fame. These will be our core artists down the road.”

Though it’s still early in the online voting, Campbell has so far been a big vote-getter, perhaps in part because of his health difficulties, as has McCartney.

Various sites are still being scouted for a permanent home for America’s Pop Music Hall of Fame, Hazlett said. He envisions it containing a permanent performance center and space to display permanent and rotating collections of memorabilia.

“We want to make sure we have the right location,” he explained. “But I think once a location is chosen, things will move very quickly.”

Brad Hundt came to the Observer-Reporter in 1998 after stints at newspapers in Georgia and Michigan. Brad holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from George State University in Atlanta, Ga., and a master’s in popular culture studies from Bowling Green (Ohio) State University. He has covered the arts and entertainment for the O-R, and also worked as a municipal beat reporter. He now serves as editorial page editor.

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