Monday, November 30, 2009

Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2010

[Scott gives us another post about music and does it without mentioning U2! Since the Mountain Goats and Neutral Milk Hotel are not even eligible so I am just going to stay away from this thing. I know nothing about classic rock. I do like me some Carl on Aqua Teen Hunger Force.]

We could debate the merits the Hall of Fame itself but, at the end of the day, what is it other than just another list and, as we’ve mentioned on the blog before, everyone loves a good list, if for no other reason than to debate the choices on said list. And, for all of it’s shortcomings, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame remains the most prestigious way of honoring the proponents of the music that I love.

Recently, the nominees for 2010 were announced; from this list, only 5 performers will actually be inducted:

The Chantels
Jimmy Cliff
The Hollies
LL Cool J
Darlene Love
Laura Nyro
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Donna Summer
The Stooges

So, what I thought we could do here is give our picks for which 5 of these artists should go in, as well as bring up artists that the Hall has, thus far, ignored (Rush fans, let your voice be heard!). Remember, the only qualification for eligibility is the artist must have had their first widely released recording at least 25 years ago.

Here are my picks:

Red Hot Chili Peppers- The Chili Peppers are my personal favorite of this year’s nominees. I do have my reservations about whether or not the band deserve to be inducted so soon after they have become eligible. One, I really don’t feel the Chili Peppers really became the band they are now until after John Frusciante and Chad Smith joined on 1988’s Mother’s Milk album (kind of like Fleetwood Mac wasn’t really Fleetwood Mac until Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks joined). Secondly, since influence is a big factor in the decision making process, I’m not sure if we’ve seen the best of the band’s influence in younger artist. After all, the band inspired hundreds of horrible rap-rock fusion bands… but can we really blame them for that? Flea’s bass playing alone makes them a serious contender for induction and those who are dismissive of his flamboyant slap style of playing would do well to listen to the band’s later recordings where he has an equally distinctive restrained style of playing (Apparent even on their recording of “Heart of Gold” with Johnny Cash). The band’s mature style has a very distinctive sound: there’s a certain way that Flea’s bass and Smith’s drumming just lock in perfectly together and Frusciante weaves these astoundingly lyrical guitar lines throughout that are one part funk, one part Hendrix. More interestingly, how many bands do you know who make their strongest work AFTER mounting a comeback? Californication and Stadium Arcadium are two of my favorite albums and are probably the band’s best and these were recorded after the band nearly dissolved in the late 90s.

Kiss- I am not a big Kiss fan, in fact, after recently purchasing a greatest hits album I realized that there are only about five of their songs that I really like; however, in terms of influence, Kiss are extremely important. Yes, this influence resulted in a lot of hair metal acts that came out of the Sunset Strip in the 80’s but don’t forget that artist ranging from Guns N’ Roses, Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots, Wilco and Weezer all cut their teeth on Kiss records in the 70’s. They are often dismissed because of their shameless pursuit of commercial success but, if you think about it, the best rock bands have also been good at business, and the business is selling records, tickets and merchandise. Yes, Kiss pushed the boundaries of decency in marketing themselves, a Kiss coffin (or was it a Koffin), a comic book printed with their blood actually in the ink, but didn’t the Beatles also put out a lot of fairly trivial crap in their Beatlemania heyday?

The Stooges- Again, I’m not a huge fan of the Stooges- though I do love “Search and Destroy.”- but they are incredibly important to the evolution of rock. After all, the Ramones, Sex Pistols and the Clash are all in the hall and, without the Stooges, punk rock may have never happened.

Darlene Love- She’s one of those artist where I was like “Isn’t she in there already?” A big part of the classic ‘girl group’ sound of the sixties and she recorded my all time favorite Christmas song “Christmas (Baby, Please Come)”

Genesis- I’ll admit to having a soft spot for Genesis, when I first really got into music, that is actively buying music for myself, the We Can’t Dance album was one of the first albums that I bought and Genesis became my first favorite band. Despite their commercial success in the 80s, Genesis have long been critically underrated and, quite frankly, I was surprised to see them on the list of nominees. I think part of this is due to the fact that, like Rush, their influence on younger bands and artist is less apparent than most; sure, there are plenty of people who admit to loving the band but you can’t really hear how their music has really made an impact on the music of others.

So, what are your picks? Who has been overlooked that should go in?


ScottMcDarmont said...

Oh, and my top picks for acts who are eligible but aren't yet in yet:

The Cure, INXS, Peter Gabriel and, while I'm sure all of those artist will eventually get in, I'll also add a couple of long shots, Def Leppard (and while I'm on the subject how about "Mutt" Lange in the non-performer category?) and "Weird Al" Yankovic (yes, I'm serious about this... I recently purchased his 'Essential Collection' and the guy who wrote the liner notes makes a rather compelling argument and, honestly, how many of us here bought a "Weird Al" record for our first music purchase?)

Dylan said...

If Kiss gets in before the Stooges, the world is doomed. Nostrodamus said so.

Christian said...

I don't really have an opinion on this one way or the other, but I'll just ask, if anyone doesn't find it odd that so many of the nominees for ROCK and ROLL Hall of Fame aren't actually rock 'n' roll bands?

scottmcdarmont said...


I think the blanket response for that question is that the Hall recognizes artists from other fields of music who have had a significant influence on Rock music: i.e. Johnny Cash, Run DMC, and Bob Marley.

Anonymous said...

duran duran

ScottMcDarmont said...

Good Call, Anon. I've always been particularly fond of 'The Wedding Album'

Anonymous said...

The Hollies are overdue. It would compound an ongoing tremendous insult to Graham Nash and Allan Clarke if they didn't get in this year. Who remembers Buffalo Springfield these days?

Anonymous said...

We could discuss/argue back and forth about who should be in and who shoudn't.

But, this list or HALL or whatever you want to call it is not a valid entity until three bands that were wildy influencial, wrote their own music and were financially sucessful beyond their wildest dreams that are not in the R&R Hall of Fame. I am speaking (writing) of The Moody Blues, The Guess Who and Chicago. By any standards they should be in and should have been in eons ago. Please, somebody explain to me why they are not. Give me a legitimate reason. Darleen Love goes in? I love her voice...but. But, she comes nowhere near the accomplishments of the three bands I just mentioned in any of the categories I gave. The Chantells? No way. C'mon. Two hits?

The HALL is a joke until politics are out of it and actual quality standards are met to go into the HALL.

It would be like Mickey Mantle doesn't get into baseball's HOF. But, Andy Pafko does.