The polls are closed, the ballots have been counted, and we are proud to announce our Rock ‘n’ Roll Freaks Hall inductees for the class of 2017 contributor category. This year, we had a three-way tie for the top spot, and they’re all going to be inducted with the performers selected in our forthcoming rounds II and III later this year.
Previous Freaks Hall non-performer inductees have been Lester Bangs, John Peel, Joe Meek, Kim Fowley, Greg Shaw, and Shadow Morton.
So, without further ado, welcome our newest Freaks Hall inductees!
Lenny Kaye is perhaps best known as Patti Smith’s long-time guitarist and collaborator, but his contributions to rock history and rock ‘n’ roll culture go much deeper than that. In 1972, he collected then forgotten garage and psychedelic singles to create the Nuggets compilation album, which proved to be one of the most influential records of all-time, leading to countless 60s garage rock comps and inspiring generations of new rock ‘n’ roll bands. He was also part of the first generation of rock critics, his writing appearing in publications like Fusion, Crawdaddy, Rolling Stone, Creem, Disc, Melody Maker, Hit Parader, and Rock Scene.
Miriam Linna and Billy Miller, like Lenny Kaye, are known to many first as musicians, leading the long running New York City rock ‘n’ roll band the A-Bones for more than two decades. Linna was also the drummer for an early version of Freaks Hall inductees The Cramps. In 1979, the couple started Kicks magazine, which over the next decade was an influential publication that carried the flag for early rock ‘n’ roll in it’s most basic, primitive, and exuberant glory. They continued to build on that legacy when they formed Norton Records, which has grown to become one of the greatest American rock ‘n’ roll labels of the last several decades, releasing archival material as well as new music, and is still going strong in 2016.
Dewey Phillips was one of rock ‘n’ roll’s first legendary disc jockeys, famous for his show “Red, Hot and Blue” on KHBQ in Memphis, TN. He was the first man to ever play Elvis Presley on the radio and broke many of the Sun label’s early hits on his airwaves. His frantic style and infectious passion were his trademark and he was widely emulated by radio personalities around the country as rock ‘n’ roll caught fire and swept the continent in the 1950s. The popular musical Memphis is based loosely on Phillips’ life and career.