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

I want to make it clear at the outset that I am not a fan of Nickelback.  Like most people, I enjoy reading clickbaity articles about why they suck as much as they do and why they are basically a joke, and so on.  Yet it remains obvious that as much as Nickelback serves as a convenient punching bag for post-grunge music, they are immensely influential.  Did they make a lot of music?  Yes, they did, which we are going to talk about.  Did they achieve success both as a rock band and as a mainstream act?  Absolutely.  Did they have influence in shaping the course of music, regardless of whether one thinks it was for the better or for the worse?  Yes, however lamentably.  It is not a standard of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame whether or not the influence of a given musical act was positive.  It is merely a question of whether or not they had influence, and it would take someone far more perversely ignorant about music history than I am to deny that Nickelback influenced music.  Perhaps it was for all the wrong reasons that the state of post-grunge remains profoundly influenced by their work as a pale horse of the apocalypse, but we must admit facts, however inconvenient they are.

The Influence Of Nickelback

As much as it pains me to say it, Nickelback is one of the most enduringly influential bands of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.  Their six albums from The State to Here And Now all went at least platinum in the United States, and four of them went multi-platinum, with one album going diamond in All The Right Reasons.  Then we have to account for their domination of mainstream rock during those years, with 8 #1 hits on mainstream rock (“How You Remind Me,” “Too Bad,” “Never Again,” “Figured You Out,” “Photograph,” “Animals,” “Something In Your Mouth,” and “Edge Of A Revolution”).  Many of these songs, and others, were successful on Adult Rock as well as the mainstream pop charts, where the band had a #1 hit, 6 additional top ten hits, and 7 additional top 40 hits, making them among the most successful hitmakers of the 2000’s [1].  Chad Kroger also appeared as a solo act on a few additional hits of his own, including two by Santana, to make the band even more influential.  His influence extends into his personal life, having married fellow Canadian musician and singer Avril Lavinge as well as his work producing other bands like Theory of A Deadman and Default and writing songs for artists as diverse as Santana, Bo Bice, and Tim McGraw [2].  You may laugh at the band and its lead singer all you want, but they are laughing all the way to the bank.

Why Nickelback Belongs In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame

One does not have to like Nickelback to concede that they were a massively influential band since their first release in 1996.  Even as the hits have stopped coming and fewer people have bought their last albums, the band still remains active in producing and songwriting and label management.  And the band’s success during the 2000’s, when some of their albums seemed to produce a single in every single track on either pop radio or rock radio or both, is something that one must concede as well, however unwillingly.  Nickelback made music for a long time that people wanted to hear.  To be sure, not many critics wanted to hear it, but when you make albums that are bought by millions of people, you aren’t going to care about what the critics think.  They made unapologetically accessible and populist music that responded to the dreams and aspirations of many people in North America.  That I think such people should have aimed higher and dreamed higher and been more ambitious is almost besides the point.  There are even a few songs from the band that I like and the band has some notable supporters as diverse as Coldplay and Timbaland [3], and in the end they really don’t have to answer to the haters for their success and influence.

Why Nickelback Isn’t In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame

Do I need to answer this question, really?  This band is nearly universally loathed by those people who claim to matter, including critics like yours truly.  Yet the band has sold and continues to sell albums, hit singles, and concert tickets, and influences up and coming groups that sound a lot like them and are often produced by them.  This is not the sort of success that is honored with critical acclaim and supposed “immortality.”

Verdict:  I believe that even the worst influential bands are worthy of their due.  We do not have to like something to be honorable enough to give it credit for its popularity and influence.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nickelback_discography

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

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

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 and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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