Hall Of Fame

It’s time to close the doors.  The Renaissance didn’t last forever, nor did the heyday of rock and roll.

We HATED Chic.  Oh, all these years later we love "Good Times" at Bar Mitzvahs, and Nile Rodgers went on to produce the B-52’s, among others, but to call Chic rock, never mind worthy of a spot in the Hall of Fame, is to not only extend the definition of rock and roll to a limit where it has no meaning but to lower the concept of fame to just that, notoriety instead of sheer excellence.

As for Patti Smith…  Didn’t the New Yorkers get Blondie already?  Do we really think Patti’s on the level of the Beatles or the Stones, even Ray Davies?  Argue with me, then tell me how often you play her records.  I smile when I hear "Kimberly", but wasn’t "Easter" a sellout built around a Bruce Springsteen song?

And, if you get Patti, I guess we west coasters get Van Halen.  Mmm…  Are they going to include one of Diamond Dave’s radio broadcasts in the exhibit?

Grandmaster Flash…  I don’t want to dispute his talent, or influence, but doesn’t he belong in the HIP-HOP Hall of Fame?  Or some other joint that includes last year’s inductee Miles Davis?

Joe Tex…  Maybe in an alternative universe this guy is induction-worthy, but not to the people who can sing all the songs, MULTIPLE SONGS, of inductees previous.

You can’t stay hip forever.  By purging the roster of nominators and inserting young ‘uns, you end up with a board that is clueless as to what really happened.  Isn’t that like asking Charlie Walk to tell you about the great R&B acts of the past instead of Ahmet Ertegun?

The boomers were the experts on classic rock.  Classic rock is dead.  To say it continued into the eighties is to be blind to the MTV revolution that truly defined those years.

You want a museum of MTV?  Including Haircut 100 and Flock of Seagulls and a white satin glove?  Fine.  But to try to tack recent acts onto the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is akin to record companies believing the tripe they’re purveying today is anywhere near as good as what came before.

Yup, today’s music isn’t in the same league as what came before.

Rock changed a generation.  You had to listen to the album to know which way the wind blew.  Now, you like what you’re hearing?  FINE!  But that doesn’t make it classic/memorable.  That’s like saying "Running With Scissors" is in the league of "Gone With The Wind".  That’s like debating "Jackass" vis a vis "The Godfather".

John Lennon would say gimme some truth.

And the truth is we may have had some of that spirit since 1969, but it didn’t last long thereafter.  The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was a tribute to that era and the acts that INFLUENCED that era.

R.E.M. is a good band that would be legendary if someone died, but its main fame is it accompanied the college years of Gen X’ers who decried the fact that they walked in the shadow of the baby boomers.

I’m not saying people should stop making music.  People didn’t stop painting after Raphael, but Picasso is not in the same MUSEUM!

It’s over.  The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s doors should be shut.

The last anomalies should be the aforementioned Blondie and Miles Davis.  Maybe there can be one more nomination year, where the FINAL nominees are voted on.  I’ll even let Patti Smith and Van Halen in.  But then the doors must shut FOREVER!

5 Responses to Hall Of Fame »»


  1. Comment by Danny Fields | 2006/10/30 at 14:51:30

    As for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame…the doors have been shut for quite some time already [James Taylor, anybody?], and properly so. Nobody takes it seriously except old r&b acts still on the road; it’ll up their guarantee about $50 to have Rock Hall credentials. For anyone else, it’s kind of embarrassing to even think about it. When they finally got around to throwing me off the nominating committee (for being too old not to have known what was happening in the 1980’s, I presume, I thanked them. It was a yearly routine–I’d nominate Kiss (not that I like them or their music or wanted to get an all-access pass) and people who were moaning about Ketchup Joe Williams or some bunch of doo-wop nothings would throw paper weights at me. So I guess it wasn’t about fame. At my last meeting, I nominated Yoko Ono, made myself a pastrami sandwich (they always had good catering) and walked out, never to return.

    No Kiss, no Iggy, what was this institution about, affirmative action? Nothing to do with my life, and when they wouldn’t give me or Linda Stein, who managed the Ramones with me for the first astonishing five years of their career, tickets to the induction ceremony ($2500 apiece, I think, yeah, right, I’ll see how much cash I have on me) that was it. Oh, I was offered a seat at the table for press biggies, like Hillburn et al, but you get to sit way in the back, and they put a bottle of water on the table (or was it a pitcher?) while everyone else had dinner. I said no thanks for this generous offer, and besides, there’s something I want to hear at the Met that night.

    So when Johnny Ramone asked Seymour Stein (president of the hall of fame, and president of the record company that first signed the band when I brought it to him in 1975) why I wasn’t there the night the Ramones were inducted, he told Johnny that I preferred to go to the opera. I then had to repair my friendship with Johnny, whom I loved until the day he died. Seymour told me to take the shitty water-pitcher ticket and then "sneak up" to his ringside table. Again, no thanks, I don’t sneak anywhere for my own band.

    That’s when I decided that it’s kind of an evil institution. I mean, thank god the Ramones got in, the very first year they were eligible, which cannot be said of many artists; I had no opera tickets that night, and Linda Stein and I sat in her apartment and sent out for Chinese food, thus saving $5000, though being unable to participate in our own moment of professional glory.

    Cleveland? It was doomed from the moment that city was chosen as its home, with all due respect to they-know-who-they-are.


    Danny Fields

  2. Comment by Al Kooper | 2006/10/31 at 12:57:01

    First off, Danny Fields & I used to haunt Max’s Kansas City together back in the day. I hadn’t seen him in decades untill a Max’s Kansas City Reunion in NYC last year. We yakked for a good hour and hopefully cemented back our friendship.

    His Ramones incident is extremely similar to my Lynyrd Skynyrd incident except he got invited in SOME form.

    I didn’t.

    Jeez, I found them in a bloodbath bar in Atlanta, moved from NYC to GA, started my own label for them, and produced their first three albums. I guess that doesn’t count for very much at the RRHF. So I taped it and I’m watching the segment and I didn’t even rate a fucking MENTION ???? Ronnie Van Zant’s wife gave a special mention to those who helped her late husband in the "early years" and she thanked Tom Dowd, who couldnt even pronounce their name in the "early years."

    How can I take that seriously ??

    Listen, all the things I did in my life don’t fit into any cubbyhole in the RRHF so I’m glad I stayed home and let all the millionaires who cheated me out of all the royalties I never got enjoy the rubber chicken.

    This opens up another category. FYI, I dont get any artist or producer royalties for Child Is Father To The Man, Super Session, Live Adventures, I Stand Alone, (They didn’t even give me a friggin’ gold record for Oddesey & Oracle). No royalties for Free Bird, Sweet Home Alabama, Gimme Three Steps, etc. Obviously I didn’t come into the biz for the money. I came in for the love of music and when the sharks smell that, you’re through financially.

    Managers made sure I was repped by lawyers and all and I’m sure the record companies paid off the managers to get deals like they got for my services. If I hadn’t written so many songs and joined BMI, I’d be homeless in a cardboard box freezing by some river today and when my songs become public domain that’s where you’ll find me.

    For the time being, my songs take care of me like they were my children.


    U’ll shut up now……

    God bless ya, Danny….

    Al Kooper

  3. Comment by Bert Holman (manager of the Allman Brothers) | 2006/10/31 at 12:57:34

    Hey Bob,

    Legend has it that when the Allman Brothers Band first came up for nomination, that Danny Fields was chairing the nominating committee that day. The eligible artists were examined alphabetically. Danny we were told said "They are in, next." This coming from one of the saints of punkdom, an endorsement of the creators of "Southern Rock" (really just punk music from the south circa 1969). When I asked Danny about it, he just laughed and said, "You know I grew up on the Lower Eastside going to The Fillmore long before CBGBs, they are one of the greats from the Fillmore scene, how could I not vote for them." Me personally, I think Danny deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, with Kiss, Iggy & Alice. They were all originals, still valid today and the foundation that wannabees look to steal from in trying to be "different".


    Bert Holman

  4. Comment by Eric Carmen | 2006/10/31 at 12:57:52

    There may some problems with the Rock Hall, but Cleveland, contrary to Danny Field’s indictment, isn’t one of the bigger ones. Not many people I know go to the Rock Hall of Fame for the "educational experience." As important as the delta bues may be to the history of rock, I’m going to see Beatles’ stuff, like Lennon’s handwritten lyrics and the song list taped to the edge of McCartney’s bass guitar. The first time I walked through the place, I was astounded to see that the space given to the artifacts of George Clinton and the Funkadelic was the same size as the space given to the Beatles! There’s an awful lot of stuff from bands no one really cares about in there, mostly because they had a lot of stuff to give them. The Rock Hall should have been "fun", not "hallowed ground." Instead of building a beautiful little theater that seats 200, they should have built a big one that could actually hold a concert by a first class act. Putting in a restaurant of some kind seems like it should have been a no-brainer, so that people wouldn’t have to leave if they get hungry, but I guess that never occurred to them. Terry Stuart has done a terrific job of keeping the place going, but he doesn’t seem to get a lot of help from New York. It really wouldn’t kill them to put themselves out once every four years or so, and hold the induction ceremony in Cleveland. They would regain the support of the town that came up with the money to build the hall in the first place. How can they expect the rest of the country to want to go there, when the music industry wants nothing to do with it. The city of Cleveland really wanted the Rock Hall. They voted for it. They funded it. They built it. They know Cleveland isn’t New York, but they’re the ones who cared. And each time New York thumbs their nose at them, they feel feel a little less devotion to the cause. It is truly a shame that someone like Danny Fields should be relegated to a back table, when his band is being inducted, but it speaks to the bigger problem with the whole industry. Once upon a time, long ago, it was about the music, and the people who made it. Now, it’s about everyone who thinks that THEY were more important than the bands AND the music. And they pat themselves on the back and give themselves bonuses while they try to cram Paris Hilton and The Black-Eyed Peas down our throats, and wonder why the business is going down the tubes. Cleveland didn’t doom the Rock Hall.They need to nominate ROCK MUSICIANS for people to care about it! And they need to occasionally GO THERE to show the world why THEY should go there!

    Eric Carmen

  5. Comment by nduffle | 2006/12/07 at 19:44:10

    I never thought I’d say this, but it’s time to just put every frickin’ rock band from the Sixties and Seventies into the Hall of Fame, and THEN shut the doors. I used to be particular about which bands I thought deserved to be inducted. But no more. That’s because ANY one band that was recorded in the Sixties and Seventies is more worthy than the collective drivel that’s been recorded and passed off as “rock” in the decades since then.

    MY MUSICAL PRAYER – Dear God, when will I wake up from this hellacious dream? Will I EVER get to experience any newly-created REAL music that matters, ever again?? I refuse to believe that it was only a moment in time, Jesus. I mean, I appreciate having been alive then to experience it, no doubt about that, but if I had known that it was all going to come to an end when I hit 25 years old in 1979 – ONLY 25! – then I might have asked for my money back rather than have to live through this frickin’ VOID OF TALENT for the ensuing 25 years!!!

    Tell me something – how is it POSSIBLE that there was such an incredible wealth of genuine musical genius packed into that relatively short period of time? Al Kooper and Eric Carmen, you guys were both there. You both made albums that I STILL play every week of my life. What happened back then? Was it something in the water? And I’m not just talking about the bands, but the writers, the musicians, the vocalists, the performers, the producers, the engineers, everybody. Did God just look down and declare “okay, time for some kickass music on Planet Earth. But it’s only going to last for 20 years?”

    And truth be known, aren’t we really only talking about 15 years? Say, 1962-1977? I have four kids and I’m always trying to impress upon them how incredible it was that The Beatles entire output was recorded in only EIGHT YEARS and that they broke up before any of them had turned 30 years old! That’s just mind-boggling, isn’t it? Or am I the only one who feels that way?

    Okay, that’s enough ranting for tonight. I’m heading off to Al’s Top 50 list of 2006, because he’s BOUND to have found some decent tunes out there somewhere. I don’t know if any of you (Al, Eric, Danny, Bob) will ever read this, but if you do, please know how glad I am to have shared those 15-20 years with you. Your talents then, and now, are valued more than you’ll ever know.


    Nelson Duffle
    Austin, Texas

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