Monday, March 13, 2006

R & R Hall of Fame

This evening, five musical artists and two non-performers will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I am a big fan of rock and roll music, its history, its significance, its beauty, and its power. It is the greatest musical form, in my view, ever devised by humankind. I really like the Hall of Fame, despite its mistakes and deficiencies, and look forward each year to reviewing the list of new inductees.

This year:

*Black Sabbath is credied with creating heavy metal, though I think groups like the Kinks, the Who, and Led Zeppelin may be "co-creators". My favorite of their songs is "War Pigs", one of music's most powerful anti-war songs. They were long overdue for induction.
*Blondie was the first New Wave band to score hits in the USA, making New Wave music accessible to mainstream audiences. Debbie Harry remains one of rock and roll's all-time greatest "frontmen".
*Miles Davis is a jazz legend whose adventurous spirit and willingness to utilize a wide variety of sounds has influenced many rock and roll greats.
*Lynyrd Skynyrd is the second greatest Southern rock band ever (behind the Allman Brothers). The Allmans leaned toward blues, whereas Skynyrd embraced mainstream rock a bit more, and spoke more freely about the experience of white Southerners.
*The Sex Pistols didn't invent punk rock, but they are the best known purveyors of punk. They are one of the few artists in rock and roll history who marked a change in music which no one could later ignore...nothing was the same after they emerged. This band is long, long overdue for induction. They are the first artist ever to decline induction...which I love...the perfect topper for their very subversive, anti-establishment, anti-institutionalist career.

Additionally, Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss, who together founded A&M Records, will enter the Hall.

My hope is that in the next few years we see Brian Epstein, Col. Tom Parker, and Bernie Taupin inducted as non-performers, and back-up singers the Jordanaires, drummer Jim Keltner, Toto, and the Wrecking Crew inducted as sidemen (Wrecking Crew drummer Hal Blaine is already in the Hall as a sideman, but guitarists Glen Campbell and Tommy Tedesco, keyboardist Leon Russell, and brilliant bassist Carol Kaye deserve serious consideration).

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