I am truly a genius! Like two years before these Johnny-come-latelies at the San Jose Mercury-News, I had this idea, now another “Who should be in the Hall” tournament. They’re so impressed that they’re doing brackets. Ooooh, and fancy them they might actually follow through and finish it. Big whoop (although in my defense, they aren’t presenting the case for each act, or making sample playlists, or even doing videos — all that took a lot of time). Posers. They didn’t even include the Tap.
But they have some interesting matchups and some acts I didn’t include. And you can go crazy and vote for the whole first round at once. So check it out.
Bet you didn’t expect this matchup.
Be sure to check out the other matches:
Transcript below: (more…)
Today the RnRHoF announced its nominees for the 2012 induction. They’re listed below. I have a couple of thoughts. First of all, I really need to pick up the pace of my blogging. I’m just a little past the halfway point of the first round. At this rate, I’ll get this tournament done in time for the 2012 induction ceremony (or maybe the 2012 apocalypse).
Secondly, I’m kinda mixed on the nominations. Good on you for the Beastie Boys, RHCP, The Cure, Freddie King, G’n’R, & Eric B & Rakim. Not at all surprised by The (Small) Faces — although they’re more famous for what some of their members did afterwards, and Donovan — kinda surprised he wasn’t in already. (more…)
I know some of you are uncomfortable with the changes in Facebook, but I for one embrace new technology! That explains the huge technological leap forward I used to create today’s blog (If it’s too much for you, a transcript and some videos follow).
Today begins the second half of the first round of the playoffs. In the interest of getting these blogs done quicker, I’m posting fewer videos, but more music (through Grooveshark, which is really handy for this). In the interest of making things more interesting I’m presenting today’s challenge as a dialogue between Professor J. T. Smith for LL Cool J and Dr. Andrew George Michael-Ridgeley for Wham! (No real person assisted in creating the blog except, of course, Terumi, whose assistance is invaluable).
Prof. Smith: LL Cool J is a hip-hop pioneer who brought popular song structure into hip-hop and helped bring it to the mainstream.
Dr. Andrew: Wham! was a pop phenomenon who in their brief 4-year career sold over 25 million records. (more…)
The results for the first half of the first round are in!
Kiss defeats Bon Jovi with 57% of the vote!
Iron Maiden v. Mötorhead → Tie! I’m casting the tie breaker, I’m gonna give it to… Iron Maiden. Both influential, I just think Iron Maiden were more commercially successful, and it is the Hall of Fame. Don’t like it? WYOB
Billy Idol crosses X off the list, with 60% of the vote!
Steppenwolf mauls Def Leopard, 67% to 33%.
Sonic Youth squeezes by The Jam by one vote.
Red Hot Chili Peppers demolish Cheap Trick 10-1.
The Cure tops Joy Division with twice as many votes.
Jane’s Addiction looses to The Replacements by one measly vote.
There you have it, music fans the bands for the first half of the second round. Voting for the second half of the first round starts next week. First up: LL Cool J v. Wham!
When I was in college in Columbus, OH, a roommate was crazy about this small, college radio band (that’s what they were called then). He thought they were the perfect rock and roll group. I’d never heard of them. Move forward a few years, I’ve moved to Los Angeles, and I’m going to the Olympic Auditorium for the debut concert of Jane’s Addiction first reunion tour — with Flea filling in. Broken up, they had become bigger than when they were first together. Maybe it was because Perry Ferrel started a concert tour he called Lollapalooza as their farewell and went on to jump-start the careers of Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nine Inch Nails, The Smashing Pumpkins, Arcade Fire, and on and on. Maybe it was because Dave Navarro joined the Red Hot Chili Peppers (and became a TV reality star when he married Carmen Electra). Maybe it was because they just one of those bands that was ahead of their time. Their blend of hard rock and trippy psychedelia and lyrics about being a freak in Hollywood at first didn’t take off at first. But somehow, over time, we’ve caught up with them. They’ve got a new single out now and a new album out in September. Who’s to say if they’ll keep going, but you can say if they should be in the hall.
At the same time my roommate was introducing me to Jane’s Addiction, The Replacements came through town on what became their farewell tour. Columbus was not a big college rock town, OSU didn’t have a college radio station, and local radio was mainly ‘classic rock’, ‘urban music,’ top 40, or country, so I didn’t know them from the other small-ish bands that came through (like The Red Hot Chili Peppers or Pearl Jam — shows I missed, but I did see Edie Brickell & New Bohemians!). It’s possible that I could have seen them at their notorious worst, playing drunk and sloppy, indifferent or angry at their audience. Or I could have seen Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson (Bob Stinson and Chris Mars had left by than) at their best; playing loud and fast, pop-friendly hooks with a strong back beat and telling whimsical, heart-on-their-sleeve tales of tragedy and woe. Their classic trifecta of albums; Let It Be, Tim and Pleased to Meet Me shows how a band evolves from their punk & Suicide Commandos/Hüsker Dü inspired roots to a distinctive voice, becoming the prototypical indie band, when indie music was still college music. It was just after they broke up that their style of music took off (Paul Westerberg’s contributions to the soundtrack of Singles is almost like him passing the torch to the acts that would bring alternative rock to the mainstream). Will the HoF continue to ignore them and other influential bands that never had major popular success (Big Star, anyone?) to the point of irrelevance? Probably, but let’s hope not.
I just voted yesterday, you can vote now.
Previous poll: Joy Division v. The Cure
This isn’t my competition, more like a side game. Nerve posted this article, but I thought it was relevant.
I’m in The Cure camp on this. While I like some of Johnny Marr’s guitar work, I can’t stand Morrissey. I know he’s Irish — don’t care. That’s why I put the Cure in my playoffs and not The Smiths. I’m sure Morrissey is loosing sleep over that, but he can soothe himself with a big pile of money, I’m sure. And for those of you who prefer The Smiths and their irritating lead singer, write your own damn blog.
P.S. Gonna try to finish the next game soon. Hopefully this weekend. I’ve been busy.
P.P.S. And if you like The Cure, be sure to vote for them here
Today’s game is a tough one for me. Some people may be under the impression that I’m a fan of all these groups. I’m not. I’m trying to be inclusive and be fair about bands that are deserving. Not my personal hall, but a representative selection testifying to the majesty of rock. I do enjoy both these bands, so this game is tough for me.
Cheap Trick is a stealthy famous band. Masters of the ephemeral art of the pop/rock hook, they made catchy songs that everyone loves and don’t weigh you down. Their best stuff doesn’t have complicated, deeper meanings, alternative chord progressions and they didn’t write any concept albums, just songs with a good beat that you can dance to. Why, exactly does a rock band have to be more than that to be great? Not quite punk, not quite new wave and so popular in Japan they’re called the “American Beatles” (a comparison they’ve always embraced). Despite never really having monster commercial success, they’ve made their bones as a touring band, and are heard by millions doing the themes for “That 70’s Show” and “The Colbert Report.” Fun without being silly, loud without being heavy, light but not insubstantial, often imitated but still unique, Cheap Trick holds a unique place in rock history.
There are some bands that are so obviously missing from the HoF that it’s hard to understand why they aren’t there (Flea deserves admission as a sideman with all the groups and songs he’s played on) The Red Hot Chili Peppers have been so popular and successful for so long I would just assume they would be in. Maybe it’s because they aren’t a band whose best years are in the past . Maybe it’s because they don’t seem like they released their first album 27 years ago (until you look at some of their old stuff and see how young they look). Maybe it’s because they’ve grown from a wild funk/party band to something more substantial and still sound like the Chili Peppers. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe Neil Diamond has contributed more to the history of Rock and Roll than they have. Or maybe with 6 top 40 songs, 5 top 10 albums and 6 Grammy awards, I’m not.
One band is known for having a lot of guitars, the other is known for having had a lot of guitarists. Now you vote
Next post: Joy Division v. The Cure
Previous post: Def Leppard v. Steppenwolf
The final round of metal madness will have to wait for a round of the indie/alternative division. Rock music, at first was not always a super-popular or commercial form. It really mainstreamed in the 70′s, particularly as baby boomers got older. Production quality improved and albums and artists became more sophisticated and in many ways professional. But there was a counter to that. Inspired by the Velvet Underground, the Stooges and MC5, bands like The Replacements, Big Star, and Television avoided the big rock star trappings of Eagles, Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin, with a simple, straight forward, less polished sound. Influenced by punk, but not always punks themselves, they often worked outside the mainstream of big record labels, stadium concerts and FM radio by releasing their music on smaller labels, playing clubs and college radio. Not that they necessarily chose to avoid the mainstream and the financial success that came with it, but they carved a path that would subsequently be followed by groups like The Pixies, Ani DiFranco, Nirvana and the White Stripes.
The Jam started off as a punk band, but even then, with their suits (and alleged conservative politics) were different. Instead of rejecting their musical heritage, they embraced it, and thus were labeled “new mods.” As they evolved, their music became much more melodic and even soulful, thanks in part to Bruce Foxton’s strong and distinctive bass lines. But Paul Weller really set the group apart with his sharp lyrics and proto-Morrisey vocals. Another entry in the “much bigger in Briton” category, they influenced the new wave acts (The Smiths) that followed as well as blue-eyed soul (Simply Red) and later Brit-pop groups (Oasis, Blur and all those others).
Sonic Youth. I’m totally mesmerized by them. Somehow their mix of noise and distortion and fuzz and Kim Gordon’s sultry voice puts me in a trance and I can’t turn away. And I’m not the only one. Kurt Cobain cited them as one of his prime influences. Really, every ‘grunge’ band owes them a lot. Pavement? Totally. They take some Velvet Underground attitude, mix in some John Cage experimentalism, add a touch of Neil Young free-form distortion and a sprinkle of The Carpenters pop hooks and you end up with fuzzy, raw, dirty, danceable, groovy rock. Throughout their careers, they’ve supported young and upcoming bands, from touring with Nirvana to producing Blonde Redhead. I read somewhere that they were influential before they were good (not just because they used skateboard video director Spike Jonze and skateboarder Jason Lee in a video), but I disagree. They’ve always remained true to their unique muse, crafting music that’s complex, challenging and out of this world.
Next game: Steppenwolf v. Def Leppard
Previous game: Billy Idol v. X
This match-up is a tough one for me. Two artists very close to my heart are going head-to-head. One, a hard rock superstar from the 80′s. The other a hugely influential punk rock band who never had nearly the commercial success. Billy Idol versus X!
In 1981 the first brigade of punk had (mostly) burnt out (rather than fade away) and disco had overdosed on cocaine. So when former Generation X singer Billy Idol released a remixed version of a Gen X song with a dance beat, “Dancing with Myself” became a big hit and launched him as a radio and MTV superstar. His new music wasn’t quite punk, it wasn’t quite metal (although guitarist Steve Stevens could shred like any metal guitarist), but it had a good beat and you could dance and bang your head to it. For the next several years he was the sneer of hard rock on MTV: Rebel Yell, Eyes Without a Face, Mony, Mony, Cradle of Love. Always innovative, he released the first album to be recorded on a computer (it came with a bonus floppy disc — with a screensaver!). But before that, he did something that will always endear him to my heart, he played a concert in my home town and became my first live rock show.
Detroit had The Stooges and the MC5, New York had The Ramones. London had The Sex Pistols and The Clash. Los Angeles still has their archetypical punk band: X (and in 1981 they had not burnt out). They weren’t the first LA punks to record an album (I think that honor is generally given to The Germs, but who was the first LA punk band? Maybe Black Flag or The Screamers or Zolar X or… the list goes on). But X sounds like Los Angeles to me. A mix of hard rock with a hint of rockabilly, folk and Bakersfield country music. Also one of the few punk bands to feature a woman (But let’s not forget about another LA band not in the hall, The Runaways) They were never big commercially, but their influence can be heard in almost every LA band that came after them. Their sound can be aggressive or tender, angry or wistful. Don’t blame John Doe (in The Bodyguard his cover of “I Will Always Love You.” plays when Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston dance), and don’t be jealous of Exene Cervenka (for having been married to Aragorn). This band rocks and is one of the best things to come out of LA.
Voting is patriotic
previous game: Iron Maiden v. Motörhead
next game: The Jam v. Sonic Youth
First of all, I’d like to apologize for leaving Bad Religion off the bracket and the list of bands that didn’t make it to the bracket. Next year, I promise.
But here’s the beginning of the first round. The first quadrant is devoted to hard-rock bands. Punk to metal. A narrow range, I suppose (and really should include Bad Religion, but again, sorry), but in a way, kinda what rock is all about. So he first game is Bon Jovi vs. KISS!
In my usual timely manner, I’ve come up with a playoff bracket of sorts to determine who, in addition to Spinal Tap, should be enshrined for their rock & roll fame-ness. Like everything I’ve done with this blog, it went from being a pretty simple idea and blew up into something rather elaborate. Fortunately, I couldn’t come up with 64 artists that are eligible and some might say qualify for that shiny building by Lake Erie, but I did come up with way more than 32 (ed. note: I think by now I have come up with enough bands that I could go to 64, but I don’t have the time). So rather than create a crazy, complex double elimination bracket that would have included all the possibly eligible bands, I used an elaborate, complex and completely secret algorithm to choose the participants in:
“The 2011 Tournament of the 2nd Greatest Act not in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!”