Today the RnRHoF announced its nominees for the 2012 induction. They’re listed below. I have a couple of thoughts. First of all, I really need to pick up the pace of my blogging. I’m just a little past the halfway point of the first round. At this rate, I’ll get this tournament done in time for the 2012 induction ceremony (or maybe the 2012 apocalypse).
Secondly, I’m kinda mixed on the nominations. Good on you for the Beastie Boys, RHCP, The Cure, Freddie King, G’n’R, & Eric B & Rakim. Not at all surprised by The (Small) Faces — although they’re more famous for what some of their members did afterwards, and Donovan — kinda surprised he wasn’t in already. (more…)
When I was in college in Columbus, OH, a roommate was crazy about this small, college radio band (that’s what they were called then). He thought they were the perfect rock and roll group. I’d never heard of them. Move forward a few years, I’ve moved to Los Angeles, and I’m going to the Olympic Auditorium for the debut concert of Jane’s Addiction first reunion tour — with Flea filling in. Broken up, they had become bigger than when they were first together. Maybe it was because Perry Ferrel started a concert tour he called Lollapalooza as their farewell and went on to jump-start the careers of Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nine Inch Nails, The Smashing Pumpkins, Arcade Fire, and on and on. Maybe it was because Dave Navarro joined the Red Hot Chili Peppers (and became a TV reality star when he married Carmen Electra). Maybe it was because they just one of those bands that was ahead of their time. Their blend of hard rock and trippy psychedelia and lyrics about being a freak in Hollywood at first didn’t take off at first. But somehow, over time, we’ve caught up with them. They’ve got a new single out now and a new album out in September. Who’s to say if they’ll keep going, but you can say if they should be in the hall.
At the same time my roommate was introducing me to Jane’s Addiction, The Replacements came through town on what became their farewell tour. Columbus was not a big college rock town, OSU didn’t have a college radio station, and local radio was mainly ‘classic rock’, ‘urban music,’ top 40, or country, so I didn’t know them from the other small-ish bands that came through (like The Red Hot Chili Peppers or Pearl Jam — shows I missed, but I did see Edie Brickell & New Bohemians!). It’s possible that I could have seen them at their notorious worst, playing drunk and sloppy, indifferent or angry at their audience. Or I could have seen Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson (Bob Stinson and Chris Mars had left by than) at their best; playing loud and fast, pop-friendly hooks with a strong back beat and telling whimsical, heart-on-their-sleeve tales of tragedy and woe. Their classic trifecta of albums; Let It Be, Tim and Pleased to Meet Me shows how a band evolves from their punk & Suicide Commandos/Hüsker Dü inspired roots to a distinctive voice, becoming the prototypical indie band, when indie music was still college music. It was just after they broke up that their style of music took off (Paul Westerberg’s contributions to the soundtrack of Singles is almost like him passing the torch to the acts that would bring alternative rock to the mainstream). Will the HoF continue to ignore them and other influential bands that never had major popular success (Big Star, anyone?) to the point of irrelevance? Probably, but let’s hope not.
I just voted yesterday, you can vote now.
Previous poll: Joy Division v. The Cure
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
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