ICYMI: MC5's Hall of Fame triumph: A victory beyond expectations

MC5 have finally been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, it is not posthumously. Still,some family members of the band regard it as an honor, and it's understandable why.
MC5 - Ramblin' Rose
MC5 - Ramblin' Rose / Kostas

Becky Tyner was caught off guard by the unexpected and exhilarating recent news concerning the MC5. Over the past two decades, the journey of the MC5 and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has been a rollercoaster of hope and letdown. Despite being nominated for induction six times, the iconic Detroit band consistently fell short, much to the disappointment of fans and supporters like Tyner, the widow of MC5 vocalist Rob Tyner.

However, Tyner was unaware of another avenue to Hall of Fame recognition beyond the performer category, which the band had repeatedly been denied. The revelation came as a pleasant surprise when the 2024 class of inductees was revealed live on American Idol, with the MC5 securing a spot in the Award for Musical Excellence category.

The general purpose of the award has been described thusly: "This category was introduced in 2000. It honors those musicians, producers and others who have spent their careers out of the spotlight working with major artists on various parts of their recording and live careers. Though they often play a key role in the creation of memorable music, the public rarely knows them by name. A separate committee selects the inductees in this category."

The induction of MC5 was a shocking surprise

The news of MC5's induction completely blindsided Mrs. Tyner. She had no inkling – it truly caught her off guard. The MC5, known for their explosive sound and provocative politics that came to symbolize Detroit hard rock, were among three figures with Motor City ties announced by the RRHOF.

Alongside the MC5, the late Motown songwriter-producer Norman Whitfield received the Award for Musical Excellence, while Motown executive Suzanne de Passe was honored with the Ahmet Ertegun Award. Additionally, the class of performer inductees included Cher, Dave Matthews Band, Foreigner, Kool & the Gang, Mary J. Blige, Ozzy Osbourne (who is retiring from live performances), Peter Frampton, Big Mama Thornton, and A Tribe Called Quest. Tyner expressed immense pride in the band's achievement, quoting her late husband's words from the 1990 reissue of the MC5's debut album "Kick Out the Jams" (which made Kerrang! magazine's list of "100 Greatest Heavy Metal Albums"):

"We rode the roads together and it was a hard slog. We fought the fights and suffered the slings and arrows and still we won our share of victories in the great battles of the bands."

More on the event and MC5's place

The MC5's induction will be part of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame's 39th ceremony, slated for October 19, 2024 at Cleveland's Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse. While details regarding presenters and performers are yet to be announced, the event promises to be a highlight in a busy month that includes the publication of MC5 by Hachette Book Group on October 8, a 304-page oral history chronicling the band's legacy.

Established 24 years ago as the "Sidemen" category, the RRHOF's Award for Musical Excellence has evolved into its current form, with recipients considered full-fledged inductees. Consequently, further nominations for the MC5 in the performers category are considered redundant.

More from the MC5's wives

For Margaret Saadi Kramer, widow of MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer who passed away in February, Sunday's news brought mixed emotions. While Wayne wasn't one for personal accolades, Margaret acknowledged that he would have appreciated the long-awaited Hall of Fame recognition. His passing, just 2½ months prior to the announcement, left drummer Dennis Thompson as the sole surviving member of the MC5, until his own death on May 9, 2024.

Despite past acrimony and legal disputes among band members and estates, Tyner emphasized the significance of the October induction as a moment of celebration for all involved. She thinks it is a tremendous tribute to the MC5, and we should all rejoice in it. She says to not not dwell on the past grievances and this is a moment to celebrate – it's a win for Detroit.

Margaret Kramer echoed this sentiment in her own response, emphasizing that the Hall of Fame acknowledgment is ultimately a victory for the band's dedicated fans, who championed their cause worldwide. In her reflection on Facebook, she wrote: "MC5 were indeed deserving" and that "they should be lauded, not blacklisted, for fighting the power."

She said of Wayne: "I'm certain he would have landed in gratitude for this recognition and received it like the beautiful free radical he was, an underdog victorious."

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