I strongly agree with Robert Hilburn’s idea that U2 is one of the greatest rock groups ever. Their force and influence is beyond measure. Patti Smith is one of the only women who can one-up Van Morrison (see “Gloria”), and she is one of the most powerful poets of her generation.
I am not sure why he sees the Sex Pistols as more important than the Stooges. There wouldn’t even be a Sex Pistols without the Stooges. While Steve Jones’ guitar work was important in the 1976-78 punk outbreak, take a look at the stuff Ron Asheton was doing years before. In terms of historic influence, there would be no Ramones, White Stripes, or Clash without a certain Iggy Pop.
While all of the artists you chose have their merit, I couldn’t pick any of them before Buddy Guy, a brilliant, influential guitarist. A great live act. How can the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame have Eric Clapton and Keith Richards but not Buddy Guy? Come on, it’s downright silly. Just ask Clapton and Richards. One of the measures of making these choices should be just that: Did the band deliver the goods when performing live? The J. Geils Band delivered the goods. They deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. I don’t know if Iggy Pop is in the Hall of Fame, but if he isn’t he deserves to be. These were the types of compelling live acts that could consistently make converts out of nonfans. They did it the hard way, they earned it. Night after night, year after year, playing live. Letting the music do the talking. The only band on your list that truly measures up to that standard is U2.
Please keep in mind Black Sabbath and Yes, two great groups that have endured. Progressive rock is worthy of consideration even though it is probably a guilty pleasure.
And while you question the merits of one William Joel (33 hits), how about Hall & Oates? They had six No. 1s to my memory.
Keep up the good work