Ok, I assume by now you've forced your way through part 1 of the annual why the RaRHoF screwed up blog. If not, it's here.....
....thus saving you the problem of digging it out, and me answering the question "Why didn't you talk about (fill in group name here)?" So in this installment we'll work our way a little further down the list of the 16 nominees for induction. And away we go.....
...and come to a screeching halt. Here I have a problem, and it's called rap. L L Cool J and N.W.A. have both been nominated this year. Where my problem is is not just the double ism but the fact that I'm a 65 year old white guy living in Wenatchee who didn't watch much MTV, and thus have little exposture to the art form. Little enough that I can't really tell rap from hip-hop and it's variants. But we'll take a stab at it.
I've got to give LL Cool J props. He was one of the early practicioners of what could probably be called "non threatening rap", "I Can't Live Without The Radio", "Mama Said Knock You Out" and the classic "I Need Love".....
....the prime examples. Again, I don't know enough about the genre to make an informed decision, but we'll call it a Yes, Yes.
Which brings us to the other side of the coin. If there's an flip side to LL Cool J, it's probably N.W.A., the California gansta-rap outfit. With such notable artists as Dr. Dre, Ice Cube and Eazy-E in their lineup, they were a trendsetter in rap/hip-hop development, and helped make rap popular with a teenage white audience, but like I said, I don't know enough about the genre to make an informed decision.....not that that has ever stopped me before......so I'm going to take a pass on this one.
It also brings up a problem for the RaRHoF as we advance into a position where 80's and 90's artists are beginning to be nominated, but I'll get into that when we wrap this whole mess up.
Has it been 25 years? I guess so, because Nirvana is on the list for the first time, and if there has ever been an absolute lock on induction this is probably it. In their 5 years of exsistance, the band broke down enough musical doors to drive a truck through, taking grunge out of the cellar and moving it squarely into the mainstream of rock and roll, and creating a sub career for John Keister (....totally wallowing in a stinking mass of lameness). And since his death in 1994, Kurt Cobain has for all practical purposes become the Generation X's Buddy Holly.
Again I'm not overly familiar with Nirvana's body of work, although in the early 90's you couldn't escape it, but their influence is undeniable. I don't see the need, but there is an obligation to post a video, so.....
....having done that, I'm going to give the boys from Seattle a Yes, Yes.
Linda Ronstadt creates an interesting problem. Yea, she's a great singer and a wonderful interperter of other people's material. Yea, she had a long career in varied genres and a roomful of gold records. But to induct Linda and ignore most of the pop divas of the 60's and 70's (Dionne Warwick, Pet Clark, Lulu, Helen Reddy, Janet Jackson, Souixie Souix, Tina Turner) who haven't gotten their due. Again I'm not denying that she's good......
.....but there are so many deserving women out there that I really don't think she should be the first choice. So I'm going to say No to the should she, and I'm not sure but probably not to the will she.
At which point we come to the male Linda, Cat Stevens. In a way I'm suprised he was nominated, his reputation taking a beating after his conversion to Islam, his nomination shows a rehabilitation of his (in many cases wrongly) tarnished image. A dramatic songwriter, he took a not really great singing voice and wrung every possible inch of emotion out of it. You could with some justification consider Stevens a male Melanie Safka with more record sales.
In his major run from 1967 through 1975 he crancked out a string of hits that definately weren't shallow. Maybe obvious, but they sure hit a chord with "the masses". I'm going to give Cat a Yes for his first nomination, and a probably not for the reality of the situation.
Link Wray highlites another problem with the RaRHoF. Not a big hitmaker in either the 50's or the 60's, he is to some extent from the Dick Dale school of guitar. His biggest hit, "Rumble".....
......was what could probably be called the first power chord song to hit the charts, and his influence has been cited by people like Iggy Pop and Jimmy Page. Is that enough? I don't think so, at least not for the voters. And again, here's a problem the hall runs into and I'll get into it a bit in the final post. Wray deserves some kind of recognition, but I don't think he's ripe for it in this format, so we'll go No, No.
Well, it's a really pretty Sunday afternoon, and my wife is yelling at me to trim the hedge. There's 4 more to go, and we'll get to them in a day or two. And I'm going to yell at the hall for their nomination practices. That should be fun.