Why Aren’t They In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: Paul Carrack


Who is Paul Carrack, many people might wonder, unless they (like me) were fans of the top ten single “Don’t Shed A Tear.”  Paul Carrack’s solo career of four top forty hits and one top ten hit isn’t quite at the level of Hall of Fame status.  As a singer and songwriter and musician, he has a consistent level of sophisticated pop-rock that I appreciate but that has not received popular appeal.  So why is he included on a list of artists and bands as august as my Rock & Roll Hall of Fame snub list?  The snub of Paul Carrack is not as a “main act,” as much as I wish it were, but rather as a sideman of epic proportions.  Even if you’ve never heard of Paul Carrack, if you’re a fan of rock & roll music, you have heard his voice, and probably liked his songs.  His keyboard and singing skills have kept Paul Carrack busy even if they have not made him a household name, and his resume is Hall of Fame worthy as one of the greatest sidemen of Rock & Roll history.  How so?  Let us count the ways.

Paul Carrack’s Contribution

Paul Carrack is widely recognized as one of the greatest journeymen of Rock & Roll History [1].  His resume as a keyboardist and singer is a long one, and he has a lot of hits to his credit as a vocalist and occasionally songwriter [2].  Let’s divide his contribution to rock & roll into three categories.  First, his solo work:  over a dozen sophisticated and accomplished albums, including four US top 40 hits (one of which, “Don’t Shed A Tear,” is still a radio staple).  Then, his work as a sideman for bands:  singer and songwriter of Ace’s only hit, “How Long,” singer for Squeeze’s first big hit, “Tempted,” singer and occasional songwriter for numerous Mike & the Mechanics hits like “Silent Running,” “Living Years,” “Over My Shoulder,” “Another Cup of Coffee,” and “Now That You’ve Gone.”  He was also a very much in-demand session keyboardist, pianist, and organist, for example, on the following albums:  The Smith’s debut album “The Smiths,” The Pretenders album “Learning To Crawl,” Roger Walter’s album and tour “Radio K.A.O.S.,” Elton John’s “Made In England” and “The Big Picture,” including the organ on #1 smash hit “Something About The Way You Look Tonight,” as well as B.B. King’s album “Deuces Wild.”  Over three decades of work have given him numerous hits and successes, mostly making other people look better through his musical talents.  He has a career many rock artists deeply envy, but it is a career mostly spent as a somewhat anonymous figure in bands toiling to make the whole band better without attracting a lot of personal attention.  That’s a career worthy of Cleveland.

Why Paul Carrack Deserves To Be In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame

How many of Paul Carrack’s songs are played on the radio?  Oldies stations play “How Long” from Ace.  An 80’s station will play “Tempted” or “Don’t Shed A Tear” or “Silent Running.”  An adult contemporary station or easy listening station will play “The Living Years,” as well as his work on numerous Elton John songs, and a song he co-wrote for the Eagles, “Love Will Keep Us Alive,” all on regular rotation.  When your work is that well known for that consistent of a time with that many different groups and artists, you deserve recognition as a sideman.  Paul Carrack has toiled long enough as a journeyman sideman.  It’s time that he be recognized for his body of work as a whole.  Not everyone whose work endures gets to be a star, but they deserve to be recognized nonetheless.

Why Paul Carrack Isn’t In The Hall Of Fame

Maybe Jann Werner hears all of those songs he sings on the radio and doesn’t know why the voice sounds so familiar under so many different names:  Ace, Squeeze, Roxy Music, Mike & The Mechanics, and Paul Carrack.  One man’s voice and keyboard can go unrecognized because of so many different packages and bands.

[1] http://www.allmusic.com/artist/paul-carrack-p3847

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Carrack

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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11 Responses to Why Aren’t They In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: Paul Carrack

  1. Mitch M says:

    …every once in a while I’ll hear a contribution to the history of rock music that reminds me of the pure talent involved in making these songs…at that time.

    Most of them would be HITS today……..or so I tell my kids.

    Paul Carrack is one of those musicians…..the unmistakable voice, the writing, the singing.
    Why Is He NOT IN The Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame????….hopefully one day
    “Suburban Voodoo” and “One Good Reason” are 2 of the best Back-To-Back albums in
    Rock n’ Roll that I’ve ever owned….and it all started with the band ACE.

    “How Long” was so popular he actually re-released it on one of his solo LPs.

    THANK for this post….you’ve made my day!

    • You’re very welcome. And that is indeed true. When you think of the body of work that this one voice was responsible for, the hits like “How Long,” “Tempted,” “Don’t Shed A Tear,” “The Living Years,” “Silent Running,” and on and on, how can you justify keeping a man like that out of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame?

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  9. mothfire says:

    If we’re talking about sidemen, we should consider Danny Kortchmar and David Lindley.

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