Remember me? I used to ramble on about rock and roll and other childrens records. I'll grant you I haven't been around for a while, what with writers block, nobody dying recently and a general irritation with the World's new blog format, I decided to take a vacation. But the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame announced their nominees for the 2014 class of inductees earlier this week, and given such material, you can't keep a good blogger down. Or me either.
Same format that we've always used. I'll give my comments, let you know if I think they should and will be inducted, then you come back in the comments and tear me to shreads. And again, because there are 16 nominees, I'll split the list in half in no particular order. Ready?
It's an interesting list this year. Some repeats, some obvious choices, some maybe not so obvious, some I don't really know, but no outright clunkers. So we'll start at the top with The Paul Butterfield Blues Band. The mostly white Chicago based blues band was up last year, and I said they should go in. Alas, they didn't, and I'm not as strong a supporter as I was. That's not to say they're not very good. They were terrific. Formed in 1963, the core of Butterfield (harmonica, vocals), Mike Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop on guitars, Mark Naftlin on keyboard, Jerome Arnold on bass and the great Sam Lay on drums, they were THE premier white Chicago style blues band of the mid 60's. And they were a blues band, not the R&B show bands that pass for white "blues" bands nowadays. So of course, I'm going to place here a R&B show tune to show them off.....
But the old Charlie Brown chestnut shows that you don't have to be flashy to make your point. Should they be inducted? Yes, their influence was huge. Will they? Probably not.
Hou about Chic? It's the second time around for the Nile Rodgers (guitar)/Bernard Edwards (bass) led discoish group, and I'm going to change my tune a little bit here from last year. My brother took me to task when I called them "just another disco band, abet a very good disco band", and in a way he was right. Not so much for the group itself, but for Rodgers and Edwards. My opinion of the band is unchanged, they're a very good, if a bit pedestrian disco group......
....but Rogers and Edwards had a BIG influence on the music of the era, especially Rogers, who worked closely with David Bowie, Diana Ross, and Madonna....among others....in the early and mid 80's. That Chic has been nominated 8 times and not been inducted might say something. I don't know if it's the continuing rebellion against disco as a musical form, or what but I'm beginning to hold the belief that Rogers and Edwards deserve a place in the hall somewhere. So, should they? Probably not. Will they? Don't think so.
Deep Purple is going to be a big problem. Good, yes. Loud, yes. Popular? Well, you name me a bar band between say, '73 and '85 that DIDN'T play "Smoke On The Water", and I'll buy you a beer. The band went through 3 phases, the first one producing the 1968 top ten hit "Hush"......
....with Rod Evans singing on the Joe South/Billy Joe Royal cover (yes, that's Jon Lord on keys), but it's the 1969/1973 band with Ian Gillan (vocal), Lord (keys), Roger Glover (bass), Ian Paice (drums), and Richie Blackmore (guitar) that I think everyone thinks of when you say Deep Purple. The LP's "In Rock", "Fireball", and "Machine Head" cemented their reputation as a quality hard rock band.....
.....and made them an FM radio staple. But should they be inducted? I'm not sure. The band in it's heyday was very good, but good enough? Will they? Good question.
As a DP sidelight, when Rod Evans left (well, was fired actually) the band in '69, Ritchie Blackmore wanted Terry Reid.....
....for vocals and backing guitar. Alas, Reid was under contract to producer Mickie Most and couldn't get out of his obligation. A similar thing happened when some guy named Jimmy Page wanted Reid for a new group he was forming. Reid couldn't get out of his tour with Cream. Terry Reid gets the award for bad timing.
Peter Gabriel's on the list. No complaints with Gabriel as a singer. He's not my cup of tea....maybe because I got tired of him when we played the crud out of "Sledgehammer"....
.....on 104.9 The River.....but I have this rotten feeling that as a solo artist he's almost an MTV creation. He just doesn't move me. Sorry. So on the should he scale, I'm gonna vote no. Will he? Hope not. Now, your job is to tell me I'm wrong.
Darryl Hall and John Oates are up this year. With sporatic hits from the mid 70's like this.....
.....in 1980 they took control of their act, started writing for and producing themselfs, and put together a string of soul tinged (what do you want, they're Philly guys) hits that for all practical purposes made them the Righteous Brothers of the 80's.
I mean, look up "blue eyed soul" in the dictionary and you'll find their picture. Yes, I think they deserve a slot in the hall. They were the premier male duo of the era, with a varied song list, and the writing talent to go with it. Will they get in? There are a lot of good candidates this year (for once), so their chances are probably 50/50
Another sidelite. Daryl has a very nice video series called "Live From Daryl's House" where he gets together with various artists to sing various songs. It's worth digging up on the web. This is the type of stuff you get.
Now, it's time for the elephant in the room. It's name is KISS. Yea, they're up again. Formed out of the wreckage of Wicked Lester in 1972 New York, bandmates Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley recruited Peter Criss (from a gigs wanted ad in Rolling Stone) and Ace Frehley, came up with the name, took a page out of the Alice Cooper/New York Dolls book on stage presence, and the rest is a high heeled, spangle and face painted history. And to think that 43 years later, they're still packin' 'em in.
You gotta admit, you can't beat sucuess. I'll grant you they're a calculating group. I swear they started out with a business plan, stuck to it and look where they are now. I'd gather one of the most sucuessful (and profitable) rock bands of all time.
KISS does suffer a bit from the J. Giles problem. They put on a terrific live show that doesn't translate well on record, and it wasn't until 1975's "Alive!" LP that they really began to hit the big time. It's hard to get the theratics of their performance on vinyl, but the live LP did just that, and they took off from there, creating rock anthem after rock anthem. And I don't think I've seen a performance where they look bored or disinterested. That's a tough thing for a performer to do.
None of this makes them candidates for induction. Popularity should not be the sole criteria. But there is something about KISS that makes me want to say Yes, Yes on the should they/will they scale.
Well, that's the first six with 10 more to go. Give me a couple of days and I'll go through the next 6, and end up by mid week with the last 4 and some parting shots.
And give me your opinion