Why Aren’t They In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: Grand Funk Railroad

Grand Funk Railroad is a band full of intriguing conundrums when it comes to their place in the history of rock & roll music.  A lengthy successful series of albums must be balanced against a small number of familiar hit singles.  A short period of peak popularity must be balanced against a deep influence that was inspirational in providing the template of funk mixed with rock that would allow bands like the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees The Red Hot Chili Peppers to forge their own path later on.  Nor does this exhaust all of the ironies of this particular band–they were known as Grand Funk Railroad for the longest part of their careers but had their biggest success when they were using their shortened form “Grand Funk.”  Like a handful of other 70’s bands [1], they have an influence that goes far beyond the small number of hit singles for which they are known for today, and it is from that perspective that I write about them today.

The Influence Of Grand Funk Railroad

One of the more ironically titled albums in the Grand Funk discography is Grand Funk Lives, which was released towards the tail end of their career.  In another sense, though, Grand Funk continues to live.  Three of their hits continue to live on in classic radio–“We’re An American Band,” “The Loco-Motion,” and “Some Kind Of Wonderful,” all of which are pretty familiar to even casual fans of the music of the early to mid 1970’s.  One of those hits, “The Loco-Motion,” was itself a remake and it was re-made in turn by, of all people, the young Kylie Minogue, herself a future member of this list of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame snubs unless she is inducted in Cleveland before I get around to her in this series.  The other important line of influence is, as I mentioned earlier, through bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers who blend rock and funk.  As a band with an essential place in the history of the music of their time, they are definitely a band that deserves to be remembered for more than a few hit singles and a great deal of band personnel drama.

Why Grand Funk Railroad Belongs In The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Did Grand Funk Railroad, under whatever name they were known under, leave an influence for later bands?  Yes.  Does their music endure and remain appreciated to this day?  Yes.  Did they show a sustained period of worthwhile albums?  Absolutely.  From 1969 to 1974 Grand Funk Railroad racked up two multi-platinum albums (one of them live), four platinum albums, and five gold albums (a later compilation album also went gold).  That comes out to two albums a year that sold 500,000 copies or more [2].  Many bands struggle to produce one of those albums ever three or four years, and Grand Funk Railroad was putting out multiple successful albums every year for half a decade:  On Time and Grand Fun in 1969, Closer To Home and Live Album in 1970, Survival and E Pluribus Funk in 1971, Phoenix and Mark, Don, and Mel: 1969-71 in 1972, We’re An American Band in 1973, and Shinin’ On and All The Girls In The World Beware!!! in 1974.  Can you imagine many musicians or bands able to produce that much material that rapidly in contemporary music and have that music endure for decades as being quality music?

Why Aren’t Grand Funk Railroad In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame?

I don’t know.  Although not all of their successful albums are critical darlings, a large number of them have been well-regarded by All Music and Rolling Stone, and that ought to be enough for some kind of critical approval.  Perhaps the band is only remembered for having a few hit singles, many of which were covers, rather than for their sustained success in studio albums and their early efforts at opening the door for arena rock.  Whatever the case, though, there aren’t any good enough reasons to deny them induction.

Verdict:  Put them in–all eight current and former members if possible.

[1] See, for example:





[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Funk_Railroad_discography

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 and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Why Aren’t They In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: Grand Funk Railroad

  1. Budzy says:

    Agree with everything said in the article. My favorite R&R Band of all time! A true American Band, who values our country’s ethos and experienced the trials and tribulations of being an american. Even today, their divorce of Mark Farner is “love American style.” They are not the same without him; and my dream is to see them all together again as the celebrate 50 years! They deserve to be in Rock & Roll Hall of Fame!!!

    • I agree; hopefully they’d be able to have a reunion if/when they are inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Some bands are able to do that well; others, not so much.

  2. Pingback: The Facts Don’t Care About Your Feelings: The Eagles vs. Michael Jackson | Edge Induced Cohesion

  3. Laura says:

    It is a damm shame that these guys have not been nominated but bull shit artists are already there. Thank you for your article.

  4. Dave McKenzie says:

    I don’t see why the 3 “new” guys in the “tribute” band should get a free ride into the Hall. They haven’t contributed anything to Grand Funk Railroad except to wax Brewer’s ego.

  5. This was the band that you had to be good to do a show with. They just had to much energy to keep up with.

  6. Alfred Carroll says:

    Grand Funk not in the Rock and Roll hall of fame ? It is a shame that these three talented musicians are not inducted. It’s not about singles or hits it’s about substance, people let’s stop the war, or there’s too many people on the earth and more on the way. If induction is about what they contributed then it’s a travesty on why such groups that are in have so little value to what they have contributed to the genre of rock real rock that we have the beastie boys and other groups as such in the hall’ REALLY that’s what pisses me off as a musician it is an insult to me that the pretenders are inducted when their contributions are never going to be remembered in the next ten years or so. Take Bohemian Rapsody and you can see where real musicians have something to bring to the table !,,,

    • I still hear some songs by the Pretenders on the radio, like “Brass In Pocket” and my favorite of theirs, “I’ll Stand By You,” but I also hear Grand Funk and suspect I will continue to hear them as well. I don’t happen to think that overpopulation on this earth is a problem–the problem is more in corruption and logistics–but I do agree that making significant music is important.

  7. Vaughn says:

    I have seen them all, Zepplin, Stones, Rush, Yes,
    Eagles, Sieger and Many more. GRAND FUNK live put them all to shame. Not even close. To keep them out of the hall of fame is bullshit!

    • Are you aware of any large-scale campaigns of Grand Funk fans to make sure the band gets the recognition they deserve? I must say I have heard from a fair amount of them.

  8. Jonathan Kaplan, White Plains, NY says:

    Perhaps the problem is with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame itself! What do you do when a band has produced years of hits & played to & has millions of fans, but then breaks up acrimoniously and their main songwriter – singer & guitarist is legally removed from his own band? Just too many rockers from the 1960s are now in their 70s now & will not be around forever. Perhaps ALL great bands should be nominated at once. A-Z. There’s simply no “Fair” way of doing this. By the time they got to ‘The Mamas & Papas” two of the 4 members were already dead. It was initially a good idea but something in the execution of the R&R Hall of Fame is missing. Anyway, Mark’s incredible music will live on forever.

    • Yes, that is unfortunately a very serious problem when one has only five or six people one can induct each year in the main category and a lot more bands and musicians that deserve entry into the hall of fame than that.

  9. Sikhumbuzo says:

    It really beats me why they aren’t in the rock n roll hall of fame. Fantastic group, fantastic albums, memorable singles such as We’re an American Band, Freedom is for children, and so on. Pity, you know.

    • Yes, indeed I do. Given that Red Hot Chili Peppers has been inducted with the same kind of career that Grand Funk had, I’m not sure how long we will have to wait for them to get their just desserts.

  10. tedgifford says:

    It is not right or fair that they are not in yet. I’ve seen them and have listened to them for years. Their music is as fresh as if it were made yesterday. What a shame, they have not been inducted.

  11. Andrew Kotowski says:

    Just listened to a great deal of Grand Funk Railroad tracks over this past week. RRHOF….wake up. It’s time.

  12. Chris C. says:

    Great band!
    🚂 💨 🇺🇸
    🚂 💨 🇺🇸
    Between 1969 and 1972 Grand Funk earned 8 Gold albums in a row without the benefit of a top 20 hit. The first American band to earn 10 Gold albums! Since then 4 of those albums have gone Platinum and 2 more have reached Double Platinum. After 72 they went on to have major commercial success with 6 top 20 hits in which 2 of those hits reached number 1!! Many groups have stated they were influenced by Grand Funk.
    Mark, Don & Mel!! And Craig too! 🎹
    🚂 💨 🇺🇸

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s