Tag Archives: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

10 Glaring Omissions From The Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame

The rock and roll hall of fame is known for excluding numerous bands and artists over the years.  Here’s a list (in no particular order) of artists that are eligible, but currently not in the hall of fame.

Joy Division

With just two albums Joy Division influenced generations of artists from the early U2 records to The Killers.  Emerging from the punk scene, they were one of the first groups of that era to take the lo-fi esthetic of punk and emphasize mood and texture rather than sheer energy and bombast.  Ian Curtis’ cold baritone and lyrical fascination with isolation and despair  was a perfect mix for the icy, atmospheric music found throughout Unknown Pleasures and Closer.   And no matter what you think of the genre, it’s hard to think of Emo existing without Joy Division.

Television

Television more or less invented post-punk taking cues from the Velvet Underground.  even though they began their career just as the punk scene was beginning to explode in New York City in the mid 70s.  Guitarists Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd circumvented the traditional roles of lead and rhythm guitar, specifically on such songs as “Marquee Moon”, which often led the rhythm section of Fred Smith and Billy Ficca to anchor the songs.  What’s even more profound is the lack of blues influences, which even the more avant-garde and wild groups (like The Velvet Underground) had used as a blue-print.  While U2’s The Edge gets most of the credit to popular audiences for the extensive use of delay pedals, Verlaine was perhaps the first to really explore it.

Brian Eno

To many Brian Eno is just the guy who worked with U2, David Bowie and Coldplay.  As a producer and a member of Roxy Music, he certainly deserves recognition, but his solo albums have proved to be extremely influential as well helping to popularize minimalism.  Eno is often credited with coining the term (and also creating) “ambient music” – low volume music which is meant to change the listener’s perception of the environment around them.  His collaboration with David Byrne  1981’s My Life in the Bushes was one of the first records with extensive use of sampling.

Gram Parsons

There are so many alt-country artists on the scene, that it can sometimes be hard to distinguish what exactly constitutes the term.  But Gram Parsons was a true pioneer.  He welded together his love for traditional Country & Western into the emerging rock scene in a way that was not only groundbreaking, but also respectful to its original source. Country-rock never sounded as glorious as it does on GP and Grievous Angel.  While Parsons never had huge success, his influence can be felt on many records by The Rolling Stones, The Black Crowes, Ryan Adams and Wilco among countless others.

Toots and the Maytals

Bob Marley is more universally known, why omit Toots and the Maytals, one of the key artists in reggae?  They might not have had the big names songs that the wanna-be white dude with dreads plays in his dorm, but they might be more consistent.   The band had some of the best harmonies found in reggae, particularly on such as “Sweet and Dandy” the immortal “Pressure Drop”.  It also doesn’t hurt that Toots Hibbert has often been called a Jamaican Otis Redding for his soulful, tender vocals.

Emylou Harris

Emylou Harris has one of the best voices in rock and country music that is gut-renching and aching as it beautiful and angelic. So it’s no wonder she has been a go-to back up singer for artists such as Gram Parsons, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Warren Zevon, John Denver, and Ryan Adams among others.  Like her mentor Gram Parsons, Emylou Harris helped make traditional country cool for a rock audience.  And like many of those artists, Harris has a restless musical soul with consistently great records (Elite Hotel and Luxury Liner in particular).

Son House (Early Influence)

Thankfully the Rock Hall inducts early influences from artists who pre-dated rock and roll.  If you can include Robert Johnson, John Lee Hooker and Lead Belly where the hell is Son House? Torn between his spiritual upbringing (he grew up wanting to be a preacher) and the secular and profane delta music, Son House embodied the Blues like no one else before or since.  Son House’s rhythms provided blueprint for hundreds of artists Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson to most recently The White Stripes.

The Faces

While The Faces aren’t as well known (or influential) as The Rolling Stones, they’re torn from the same cloth.  If you want dirty, sloppy rock and roll for a bad-ass party, The Faces are an essential soundtrack.  And like The Stones, you can feel the sweat and sheer joy from the performance. It’s hard not to want to get up and dance when listening to songs like “Stay With Me” and “Too Bad”.  A Nod Is As Good as a Wink To a Dead House is an undisputed classic in straight-up rock and roll boogie.  It’s also proof that, despite his cheesiness now, Rod Stewart was once pretty fantastic.

The Smiths

If you can include R.E.M. in the Rock Hall, you also have to include their British contemporaries, The Smiths.  Like Peter Buck, The Smith’s guitarist Johnny Marr favored a clear ringing style of guitar that was under-stated but brilliant.  The Smiths’ jangled, melodic, alternative rock with Morrisey’s articulate and literate crooning style was a direct anthesis to the synth-pop that was over-taking the British music scene at the time.   Like Joy Division, The Smiths had a huge influence on Emo, providing the soundtrack for many alienated and confused teenagers.

Harry Smith (Non-performer)

It’s hard to over-estimate the importance of The Anthology of Folk American Folk Music (aka The Harry Smith Anthology).  Prior to this collection, many of these recordings would otherwise go unnoticed and be lost in time.  The Blues, Folk and Bluesgrass music culled from Depression-Era America, directly resulted in the Folk-Revival off the late 50s and early 60s.  Simply put, without Smith’s archival the Coffeehouse perfomances in Greenwich Village probably wouldn’t have existed.  And who can imagine music without that?

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15 Best Girl Group Songs

On Monday night along with Tom Waits, Alice Cooper and Dr. John, Darlene Love (finally!) got inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Her most famous song is the Holiday Classic “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”, but Love added her vocal talents to other groups of the time as well including The Crystals, The Blossoms, and Bob B. Soxx & The Blue Jeans.

So in honor of her induction, I present my list of the 15 Best Girl Group songs.

1.) The Ronettes – “Be My Baby”

Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound” at its best.  The drum intro is probably responsible for a lot of drummers’ careers.

2.) The Shirelles – “A Thing of the Past”

The original female group.

3.) The Crystals – “Da Doo Ron Ron”

According to Darlene Love, she originally sang lead vocals for this track with her own band The Blossoms, only to have Phil Spector erase them and rerecord the lead with The Crystals’ Dolores “Lala” Brooks instead.  Love still ended up singing background vocals.

4.) The Dixie Cups – “I’m Gonna Get You Yet”

Slightly sinister (?) B-side of “Gee, The Moon Is Shining Bright”

5.) Martha & The Vandellas – “Dancing in the Street”

Forget the craptacular Bowie & Jagger version.  Brilliant song about how something as dancing in fire hydrants can be a rallying cry.  Co-written by Marvin Gaye.

6.) The Shangri-La’s:  “Give Him a Great Big Kiss”

The obvious choice would be “Leader of the Pack”, but I prefer this one.

7.) The Supremes – “Where Did Our Love Go?”

Best use of Footstomps ever in a song, which actually consisted of one person, a teenager named Mike Valvano, to create illusion that it was a group of footstomps.

8.) Martha Reeves & The Vandellas – “Heatwave”

Listen for Martha Reeves belting out “Yeah, yeah!” at the 2 minute mark.  Killer stuff.

9.) Bob B. Soxx & The Blue Jeans – “Zip-A-Dee-Do-Da”

Disney, who?  With Darlene Love taking over, this is the definitive version of the song.

10.) The Ronettes – “The Best Part of Breaking Up”

11.) The Marvelettes – “Please Mr. Postman”

Probably the first song that I ever recognized as an “oldie”, so as such I’ve always had a soft spot for it.

12.) The Crystals – “He’s A Rebel

13.) Chantals – “Maybe”

14.) Shirelles – “Stop the Music”

15.) The Crystals -“Then He Kissed Me”

I always thought that the narrator was pretty forward in this song telling her potential beau that she loves him.  Luckily it all worked out.

 

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The Stooges – Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

As Billie Joe Armstrong says at the end of this speech, “It’s about fucking time.”  More so than any other band, The Stooges represented the wild side of rock and roll.  When their self-titled album came out in 1969, the country was in turmoil.  And while other bands and artists protested through their words, The Stooges protested in the only way they knew best – loud, aggressive, and in-your-face rock and roll.  It didn’t matter if the word sounded like they were thrown together.  The simplicity in the lyrics and the music was a double finger finger to both overblown lyrics and psychedelic rock.  Without Iggy and the Stooges there would be no punk rock.  Period.  

One of the things I’ve noticed about their self-titled debut though, is how much it is based on the early rock & roll of the ’50s.  Even though I Wanna Be Your Dog and 1969 are drenched in Ron Asheton’s wah-wahs they also contain a Bo Diddley rhythm and Buddy Holly-eque simplicity in the songwriting.  1973’s Raw Power is a bit different, but it still retains the same spirit.  Coming at at time when rock was at its most bloated – The Who’s Quadrophenia, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon were released that year, and Led Zeppelin was touring the US  playing 45 minute versions of “Dazed and Confused” – Raw Power lived up to its title.   Rock singers with the golden god complex were put in their place when Iggy screamed, “Your pretty face is going to hell!”  

Jim Morrison (who I can’t stand) and Mick Jagger (who I love) are often cited as two of the greatest frontmen in rock.  But the title really belongs to Iggy.  He (almost) single-handed invented the stage-dive, and proved that peanut butter was good for another thing besides eating. Sometimes you get the feeling that a lot of front-men have a persona on stage.  Though Iggy says he does turn off the stage act, I can’t see the energy that he possesses dissolve instantly.  I can totally see him bouncing around his living room to whatever he’s listening – because that’s simply how he exists.  

Audio only, but check out The Stooges playing live in 73:

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