Golden Years: Honoring the Early Influences

If you follow the online rants that pop up like mushrooms after rain on any article about or by the RRHOF, it’s fun to see how the name of the place is such a lightning rod for the rock police. “It’s the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, not the Pop/Rap Crap/Any Music Hall of Fame!!!” Usually some intellectual soul will mention the idea that the actual “rock and roll” era is long over, supplanted—sometime between 1965 and 1967, and to some as early as 1959—by the more artistically mature and self-aware genre of “rock,” so no act breaking after that development fits the term anyway.

This is a roundabout way of saying that rock’s formative years were a finite and relatively short period, prompting the question of how well the HOF has covered them, especially now that 90s acts are knocking on the door.  The answer?   Since 2000, there have only been three Early Influence inductees. As of right now, Big Mama Thornton, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Link Wray, Dick Dale, Lonnie Donegan and the Marvelettes are just some of the names not yet inducted.

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Musings on a Year as a Rock Hall Watcher

What is it about the absurd exercise of gradually enshrining the purveyors of our most rebellious art form in a sterile glass pyramid that works everyone into such a lather of outrage? –Andy Hermann, LA Weekly

The title of this post is only half right. My first go-around with watching a RRHOF nomination/induction cycle began at three in the morning on October 8, 2015, with a Facebook message from a friend: “We did it!” “It” was the realization of a letter writing campaign I’d helped spearhead the year before, aimed at achieving a nomination for the Cars. That project was actually my first look at the strange animal that is the Hall—perfect for an opinionated process geek. I was in.

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Predictions, and Some Thoughts for Us Underdogs

It’s all over but the shouting…in three days from this writing we’ll have the lineup for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2017.

It’s been noted that the predictions from the HOF blogging community are in agreement this year, and I’m pretty much in line. For a really good in-depth analysis of the reasons for and against each act on the ballot, see  here, or here, or here. I won’t try to duplicate these excellent efforts, but here’s who I think we’ll see on the press release this Tuesday:

Continue reading “Predictions, and Some Thoughts for Us Underdogs”

Stepping on a Rake, or “Votes? What Votes?”

We should have known things were going too smoothly.

The RRHOF fan vote was down to what was to have been its final eight days when on Tuesday (November 28) the announcement was made that the voting period had been extended through December 15. This actually makes more sense; this way it’s back in sync with the official vote instead of leaving a 10-day gap that would allow fans’ attention to wander before the announcement. It seemed a little haphazard, but this is the RRHOF after all.

But within a couple of hours of that, THIS happened:

Continue reading “Stepping on a Rake, or “Votes? What Votes?””

Into the Vault, Part 2

Back from commercials for the second set:

1. Ballad of Danny Bailey (Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, 1973) – Elton John

A masterpiece from an artist with several to his credit. A testament to the brilliance of producer Gus Dudgeon – that powerful drum sound, the backing vocals that shimmer like light on water….

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2. The Knife Feels Like Justice (The Knife Feels Like Justice, 1986) – Brian Setzer 

Title track from the first release from Setzer’s roots rock period; very much of its time but still stands up now. Features songs co-written by Little Steven, Mike Campbell and Bo Diddley and a lineup that includes Kenny Aaronson, Benmont Tench, Campbell and Chuck Leavell among others.

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3. Fisherman’s Blues (Fisherman’s Blues, 1988) – The Waterboys 

Pure, organic, brilliant and timeless.

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4. White City Fighting (White City: A Novel, 1985) – Pete Townshend

Features David Gilmour on guitar, who’d written the tune for the “About Face” album and asked Townshend for lyrics. Not comfortable with Townshend’s take, he gave the song to him for use on the autobiographical “White City” album. Gilmour then approached Roy Harper, whose completely different take on it didn’t work for him either. Harper and Jimmy Page played on the track for Harper’s album “Whatever Happened to Jugula?”
And somehow “About Face” got made too.

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5. Diamonds and Rust (Live) (Unleashed in the East, 1979) – Judas Priest  

What can you say? It worked.

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