Thursday, September 24, 2009
Rant #96: Hall of Shame
Kiss, LL Cool J, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Genesis, Jimmy Cliff, the Hollies, songwriter Laura Nyro, Donna Summer, Darlene Love, ABBA, the Chantels, and the Stooges have all been nominated to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
For what it is worth, this is a pretty weak class. You don’t really have any stand-out performers, and as far as “influences” — the term that the HoF uses to classify the significance of the performers who are nominated and those that get in — there really isn’t much of that here.
Personally, I would like to see the Hollies and Laura Nyro make it. I think they have made enormous contributions to rock and roll in their own way.
During their heyday, I don’t think the Hollies made a bad record. They had a substantial number of hits in the U.S. — “Bus Stop” “The Air That I Breathe,” and “Long Cool Woman In a Black Dress” among them — although they were better known in Europe and elsewhere. They featured one of the most underrated lead voices in rock, Allan Clarke, was the starting point for Graham Nash, and still tour and put out new records today, albeit with just two original members, Tony Hicks and Bobby Elliott.
And as for Nyro, although it would be a posthumous honor, I think it would be well deserved. She was the hot songwriter of the late 1960s and early 1970s, and the songs that she wrote encompassed rock, soul, pop, Tin Pan Alley and Brill Building influences. Just a short list of her biggest songs — “Eli’s Coming,” “Save the Country,” and “And When I Die” among them — should guarantee her spot, and her influence on other female singer-songwriters such as Carly Simon and even Alicia Keyes is enormous.
Since a total of five go in each year, I will have to pick three more: Darlene Love, and maybe Genesis, and after that, I really don't know. Maybe Jimmy Cliff for his reggae influence, but I don’t think he’s a lock.
Of course, as long as Jann Wenner is running the show, you can bet Kiss, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and LL Cool J will get in. Let’s not forget the Dave Clark Five fiasco, when Grandmaster Flash was substituted because Wenner wanted a rap act in. He gave in the next year, and the DC5 entered the HoF, but the bad vibes are still there.
My question: if Kiss is even nominated, how come acts like the Monkees (where Kiss learned their marketing) and Paul Revere and the Raiders (another marketing model) are not in the mix?
Oh, that's right. I forgot.
It's Jann Wenner.
Posted by Larry at 3:51 AM