A blog to get Spinal Tap into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (and whatever else I want it to be about)

Archive for May, 2011

Cheap Trick v. Red Hot Chili Peppers

Today’s game is a tough one for me.   Some people may be under the impression that I’m a fan of all these groups.  I’m not.  I’m trying to be inclusive and be fair about bands that are deserving.  Not my personal hall, but a representative selection testifying to the majesty of rock.  I do enjoy both these bands, so this game is tough for me.

Cheap Trick is a stealthy famous band.  Masters of the ephemeral art of the pop/rock hook, they made catchy songs that everyone loves and don’t weigh you down.  Their best stuff doesn’t have complicated, deeper meanings, alternative chord progressions and they didn’t write any concept albums, just songs with a good beat that you can dance to.  Why, exactly does a rock band have to be more than that to be great?  Not quite punk, not quite new wave and so popular in Japan they’re called the “American Beatles” (a comparison they’ve always embraced).  Despite never really having monster commercial success, they’ve made their bones as a touring band, and are heard by millions doing the themes for “That 70’s Show” and “The Colbert Report.”  Fun without being silly, loud without being heavy, light but not insubstantial, often imitated but still unique, Cheap Trick holds a unique place in rock history.

There are some bands that are so obviously missing from the HoF that it’s hard to understand why they aren’t there (Flea deserves admission as a sideman with all the groups and songs he’s played on)  The Red Hot Chili Peppers have been so popular and successful for so long I would just assume they would be in.  Maybe it’s because they aren’t a band whose best years are in the past .  Maybe it’s because they don’t seem like they released their first album 27 years ago (until you look at some of their old stuff and see how young they look).  Maybe it’s because they’ve  grown from a wild funk/party band to something more substantial and still sound like the Chili Peppers.  Maybe I’m wrong, maybe Neil Diamond has contributed more to the history of Rock and Roll than they have.  Or maybe with 6 top 40 songs, 5 top 10 albums and 6 Grammy awards, I’m not.

One band is known for having a lot of guitars, the other is known for having had a lot of guitarists.  Now you vote

Next post: Joy Division v. The Cure

Previous post: Def Leppard v. Steppenwolf

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Def Leppard v. Steppenwolf (grrrrr!)

Who was the biggest selling band of the 1980’s?  Who was one of the first metal bands to get a video into heavy rotation on MTV?  Would it help if I told you they’re one of only 5 bands to have 2 studio albums sell over 10 million copies?  How about if I said “Gunter glieben glauchen globen”?  That’s right, the band that outsold U2, Bon Jovi and the Jacksons in the 1980’s isn’t in the HOF.  Their 4th album, Hysteria, has 7 pop/metal hybrid songs that charted in the Billboard top 100 (6 in the top 40 — over the course of 3 years).  The antithesis to the “Bigger in Britain” theme I’ve been following in recent games, they dominated US radio and MTV for way too many years of my youth.  While many bands have lost drummers, Def Leppard’s Rick Allen smashed his Corvette, lost an arm and came back!  Sure, the mullets, perms and torn jeans are awfully dated, but  Mariah Carey and Taylor Swift  love them, and that’s all the more reason for them to be in the HoF.

There were no heavy metal bands before Steppenwolf, it was a term designated to chemistry.  But the lyric “heavy metal thunder” meant to describe a motorcycle on the freeway, applied to a new type of music that was darker, thicker and louder than what had come before.  But let’s not forget that the rest of the song is an anthem in itself (while not in itself being quite heavy metal) and their music was pretty perfect in Easy Rider.  Not only is  Magic Carpet Ride a pretty epic song, it’s apparently the first modern music video, (according to Wikipedia).  While the band had a pretty short productive period from about 1968 to 1974 (and a very long period afterwards of various former members touring with competing Steppenwolves) it doesn’t diminish their impact or fame: 25 million records sold, 7 top 40 hits.    If you thought Def Leppard’s mullets were dated, check out the white afros.  Should that keep them from being in the Hall?  It hasn’t stopped Eric Clapton.  But only you can decide.

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Next game: Cheap Trick v. Red Hot Chili Peppers