Elvis Presley’s camp once famously argued that “50,000,000 fans can’t be wrong.” And although fans can weigh in on which artists they think should be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next year, their preferences -- in the words of another great American pop culture icon -- "won’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world."
That’s because whichever five of the 16 just-announced nominees receive the most fan votes at www.rockhall.org, whether it’s 50,000 or 50 million, it will generate just a single additional vote for each artist to be tallied with the other 600 cast by voting members of the rock hall. Except in the case of a dead heat, fan opinion doesn't carry much weight.
Still, it’s fun to watch the horse race as the Rock Hall continually updates the results. As of noon Oct. 16, on the first day of fan balloting, nearly 300,000 votes had been cast, and in the very early going, Nirvana was leading the field with almost 44,000 votes, just under 15% of the total.
Not far behind is KISS with 42,000 votes, or 14%, then Deep Purple with 34,000 (11.7%) and Yes with 31,000 or 10.6% of all fan votes cast.
On the other end of the spectrum, New Orleans R&B-funk band the Meters is dead last with a little more than 3,800 votes (1.3%), right below Chic (4,194 votes, 1.4%) and then Link Wray (4,211, 1.4%).
Of this year’s rap world nominees, Compton hard-core group N.W.A is outpacing lovable softie LL Cool J by about 2-to-1, N.W.A pulling in more than 11,000 votes (3.9%) to LL’s 6,000 votes (2.1%).
Linda Ronstadt, who’s been in the news promoting her new memoir, “Simple Dreams,” and who recently revealed that she can no longer sing because of the effects of Parkinson’s disease, has garnered 17,000 votes (6%), while another '70s veteran, English folk-rock singer-songwriter Cat Stevens, has logged more than 15,000 votes (5.2%).
All the results are available at the Rock Hall’s official website, where fan voting conitnues through Dec. 10. Inductees’ names are expected to be announced in December, and they will be formally inducted at the annual induction dinner slated for April in New York.
Follow Randy Lewis on Twitter: @RandyLewis2