Friday, January 30, 2009

I just can't let this go!

I know once upon a time on this blog, I stated that I wasn’t going to bitch anymore about who’s in and who’s not in the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame.  But, just like a crack addict, I just can’t kick the habit, so I’m back in my pulpit to preach the gospel of the truly deserving, and this time, I’m citing precedents to illustrate my points.  These are in no particular order…

Paul Revere & The Raiders  I’ve said it on here many times, this is easily the most underrated Rock band on earth from any era.  The Academy (or whatever you call the panel of "experts" that runs this sham) needs to look past the campy stage act and omnipresence the Raiders enjoyed on TV in the ‘60s and check out their musical output a little more closely.  PR&TR had more sustained chart success than the Lovin’ Spoonful, were every bit as good as—if not better than—the (Young) Rascals and could blow the Beach Boys and Dave Clark Five off any stage, yet those acts are all in the Hall.

Kiss  I think they deserve to get in for their music alone, but in lieu of that, you can’t tell me Madonna got in the Hall solely for her music.  Her induction had just as much to do with her overall impact on popular culture as her musical contributions—some of which are quite good, don’t get me wrong.  Therefore, Kiss should get in because they certainly left their mark on the cultural landscape, and beyond that, there’s no denying Kiss’ influence on the way concerts and sporting events are staged today—watch this weekend’s Super Bowl pre-game show and see if you don’t see a bit of the Kiss influence with the pyro and such.

Three Dog Night  As Randy Raley noted on his blog recently, the big knock against these guys is that they didn’t write their own songs.  So?  The Temptations didn’t write their own stuff, did they?  Nor did the Four Tops.  Dusty Springfield, either.  Yet, they’re all in the HOF, as will be Little Anthony & The Imperials this year.  All great acts, indeed, and if they are allowed in without doing original material, then that argument against Three Dog Night doesn’t wash.  Other than The Carpenters, there wasn’t a more dominant Pop vocal group during the early ‘70s than 3DN.

Neil Diamond  Okay, forget the sparkly shirts he wears in concert and the cheesy palaver he started putting out in the late ‘70s—let’s remember what a truly great songwriter ND is, not to mention that he could rock out as well in his younger days on hits like "Cherry, Cherry" and "Thank The Lord For The Night Time".  Neil was right up there with the likes of Goffin-King in writing Pop classics like "I’m A Believer" and "A Little Bit You, A Little Bit Me" for The Monkees, and his early ‘70s output stacks up with the likes of Paul Simon, and he’s in the Hall as a solo artist.

Deep Purple/Motorhead  The former practically invented Heavy Metal, and the latter made it even faster, so how is it Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Van Halen and Metallica all got in ahead of these two influential bands?  In spite of their numerous personnel changes and incarnations, DP put out some killer stuff over the years, and Metallica themselves have acknowledged that they would never have existed if it weren’t for Brother Lemmy and Motorhead.

Doobie Brothers/Moody Blues/Rush/Chicago  In terms of chart success, popularity and overall impact, the Doobies, Moodies, Rush and Chicago are on a par with the likes of Bob Seger, Tom Petty, Aerosmith, the Eagles and Lynyrd Skynyrd, all of whom are already in the Hall.  Each band had its own unique style or niche, not to mention consistency and longevity—all are still popular concert attractions to this day.

Nick Lowe  This man is renowned in music circles for producing and/or championing numerous Punk/New Wave acts in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s (including one Elvis Costello, who’s already in the Hall) as well as his acclaimed work with Rockpile and as a solo artist.  Critics love this guy, so what gives?

Heart  You can certainly make a case for Ann and Nancy Wilson to make the Hall for their music alone, but also for forming the first major Rock band where women more or less ran the show.  Not since Grace Slick in Jefferson Airplane had a female been considered a peer of the men within the framework of a Rock band.

Pat Benatar/The Go-Go’s  And while we’re making a case for the ladies, what about the two most dominant female acts of the ‘80s?  Pat was/is a strong and independent woman and the The Go-Go’s wrote and performed their own music, which is more than one can say for (as great as they were) The Supremes or Martha & The Vandellas or The Ronettes.

Jim Croce/Stevie Ray Vaughan  Jim and SRV both had careers tragically truncated by aircraft accidents.  So did Ritchie Valens, whose career lasted basically all of eight months, which is about a quarter of the length of Croce’s time in the limelight and a mere fraction of Stevie Ray’s.  No doubt, Ritchie had plenty more up his sleeve, thus I think his induction in the HOF was based mostly on potential, whereas with Croce and Vaughan the results are quite clear:  Croce was a great songwriter filled with gentle good humor, and SRV was a killer guitar player and bluesman, and both are totally Hall-worthy.

There are plenty more deserving folks I could argue for like Dave Edmunds, John Hiatt, Grand Funk Railroad, Yes, the Hollies, et al, but you get the idea.  I just can’t fathom how the aforementioned greats are being snubbed for the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame in favor of Rap groups (Grandmaster Flash, Run-DMC), nobodies (Leonard Cohen, Patti Smith) and marginal-at-best acts (the Ventures, the Dells).

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