Why Aren’t They In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: Michael Kamen

Considering the long list of snubs to the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, the name Michael Kamen may seem to be a choice out of left field for a list of those who have been excluded from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame [1]. In some ways, Michael Kamen is an unusual choice; he was not a chart maker as an artist, but his art is definitely a notable one that is worthy of induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on one of two grounds. One ground is that along with John Williams, and a couple of others, he represents the cream of the crop of 20th century film composers, a genre that has been greatly ignored in terms of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Second, Michael Kamen is one of those often unheralded artists [2], he made bands and music a lot better by his presence, and his important role in providing instrumental scoring and accompaniment attracted the same of some very worthy musicians before his untimely death (likely due to a heart attack) in 2003 at the age of 55.

The Contribution Of Michael Kamen

The contribution of Michael Kamen exists largely in two elements. The first is his film work, which includes the scores for the following movies: Pink Floyd – The Wall, Highland, the Lethal Weapon series, Adventures In Babysitting, Someone To Watch Over Me, the Die Hard series, The Adventures Of Baron Munchhausen, Road House, Renegades, Hudson Hawk, Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves (for which he won a Grammy), The Last Boy Scout, Tales From The Crypt (on television), Last Action Hero, The Three Musketeers, Don Juan DeMarco, Toy Story (with Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Randy Newman), Mr. Holland’s Opus, Jack, 101 Dalmatians, Event Horizon, Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, What Dreams May Come, The Iron Giant, Frequency, X-Men, Band of Brothers, and others (this is not an exhaustive list [3]). Included in this film work are several #1 hits that he helped compose, including such songs as “All For One” by Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart, and Sting, and “Everything I Do (I Do It For You)” and “Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman” by Bryan Adams and work on iconic movies and series that remain important and relevant more than 20 years after his compositions.

Nor was his contribution limited to film work, as impressive as it is. Kamen also specialized in orchestrations for pop and rock musicians and was highly successful and highly sought after as a collaborator by a diverse and accomplished list of rock & roll acts, such as Pink Floyd (as well as both David Gilmour and Roger Waters separately after their split), Queen, Eric Clapton, Roger Daltrey, Aerosmith, Tom Petty, Bon Jovi, Bryan Ferry, the Eurythmics, Queensryche, Rush, Metallica, Def Leppard, Herbie Hancock, Tim Curry, The Cranberries, Bryan Adams, Jim Croce, Coldplay, Sting, and Kate Bush. Several of these artists are already in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and several more deserve to be [4]. For his broad and diverse work, he managed to win three Grammy Awards, two Golden Globes, two Ivor Novello awards, an Annie award, and an Emmy, besides being involved in philanthropic work to support music education in the United States and Great Britain.

Why Michael Kamen Should Be In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame

What did Michael Kamen do that is worthy of induction? He wrote and performed on hit songs that were massively influential and popular. He was well-recognized consistently in his career by his contemporaries, and helped a diverse and accomplished set of bands and musicians achieve success, besides scoring culturally significant films. He was also a philanthropist on top of all of his musical excellence. His induction, either in the category of a “sideman” (technically the Award For Musical Excellence, perhaps a first for an oboist). or songwriter (non-performer), or even as an artist (albeit an unconventional one) would help to bring film music the attention it deserves from the wider community of fans of rock & roll music, and hopefully allow for the induction of others in the field whose work has been culturally significant.

Why Isn’t Michael Kamen In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame?

There are a few reasons—among the most important ones is that film artists and classical composers tend to languish in the background when it comes to rock & roll music. Artists like Michael Kamen and Toto [5] are demonstration of the fact that technical precision is important for rock & roll music, which tends to contradict the dominant narrative that emotion and breaking rules, as opposed to scoring and technical ability, are all that is needed for music. There are enough snubs for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame that whole massive swaths of the music realm remain as unrecognized in Cleveland as punters are in Canton (for the Football Hall of Fame). This can change at any time, and hopefully it changes soon.

Verdict: Put Michael Kamen in. Given his work in ancillary categories, his induction wouldn’t even cost an obvious snub (like Chicago or ELO or Janet Jackson) a deserved induction even in a busy year for inductees, since the “Award For Musial Excellence” for those who have spent their time out of the limelight (which certainly includes Michael Kamen” is designed to give the Hall of Fame the flexibility to recognize those who might not ordinarily be recognized, and has inducted as many as five artists in a single year (though only one in 2014 and none in 2013). There are plenty of artists who deserve to be included here, and Michael Kamen is definitely worthy.

[1] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/rock-roll-hall-of-fame-snubs/

[2] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/11/11/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-paul-carrack/

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Kamen

[4] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/08/24/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-bryan-adams/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-sting/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2013/10/25/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-kate-bush/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/07/18/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-bon-jovi/

[5] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2014/06/03/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-toto/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in History, Music History, Musings, Sports and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Why Aren’t They In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: Michael Kamen

  1. Pingback: Why Aren’t They In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: The Eurythmics | Edge Induced Cohesion

  2. Kieran says:

    The strings in “Nothing Else Matters” are a thing of beauty.

  3. Pingback: Audiobook Review: Brahms–His Life And Music | Edge Induced Cohesion

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