What kind of crazy fucked up world do we live in where the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame gets the nominations right?
How much do we want to complain about this organization run with an iron fist by Jann Wenner who ultimately decides who gets in based on his own tastes and whims. I mean what exactly are the criteria? If it’s not sales, how could Bon Jovi be nominated? If it’s impact upon society, what next, is Courtney Love going to follow Patti Smith into the Hall?
Never forget, Led Zeppelin was excoriated in "Rolling Stone". Now they’re the biggest band besides the Beatles, far eclipsing the sales of the Stones. Hell, the Stones go on the road and can barely play their own material and Robert Plant refuses to reunite for the cash and still takes chances. But don’t expect Plant to be nominated soon. I’m thinking Lenny Kaye’s got to get in before him. Or James Chance. Or Dino Valente. Huh?
But you can’t argue with the nomination of Neil Diamond, Alice Cooper and Laura Nyro. If Bon Jovi gets in instead of these three, I’m saying Randy Phillips pulled a fast one, or Jon Bongiovi invited Jann Wenner to his house in the Hamptons and wrote a huge check to his favorite charity.
I love J. Geils, they can still kick it today, they blow the aforementioned Ms. Smith off the stage and they’re everything in rock Madonna is not, but they’re purely second class. Sorry, I’m gonna leave ‘em out, but if they get in, based on the bozos who’ve already been inducted, I’ll be thrilled.
Donna Summer broke disco in the U.S. Then again, isn’t it the ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME? Get your own damn hall. But she did make that great rock influenced album "Bad Girls", but if we’re gonna put her in, don’t we induct the mastermind, Giorgio Moroder? Or is image now key and who actually does the work is irrelevant? In other words, do we induct Ke$ha instead of Dr. Luke? Don’t laugh, twenty five years from now Wenner’s kids will be controlling the Hall just like nincompoop Steve Forbes runs his family’s empire.
Some of the other nominations are suspect too. LL Cool J does belong in the hip-hop Hall of Fame, when Russell Simmons builds one, but check back through the pages of "Rolling Stone", how many times was he mentioned? I mean where’s the blueprint here, what are the rules? Chic? Why? Darlene Love, maybe. Joe Tex, sure. Chuck Willis…he’s out of my purview. Donovan, it’s been too damn long, but he won’t get in either. If you want to induct one rap act, I’ll let you get away with the Beastie Boys, for "Paul’s Boutique", but if LL Cool J gets in and they don’t my head is gonna spin.
And I own too many Dr. John albums I don’t play. A talent, but a secondary one. I mean they keep Alice Cooper out forever but now they’re gonna let Dr. John in?
Alice Cooper makes Lady GaGa look like a Little Leaguer. Not only did Alice Cooper make great records, credit Bob Ezrin, he injected theatre into his live show and tested limits. To see Alice Cooper was to be at the edge of your seat, wondering what was going to happen next. It was to be titillated, you needed to go the following year to see what Vince concocted next. And in an era where no one will take a stand for fear of pissing off some theoretical customer, Alice injected himself into politics with "Elected" and sang that dead babies can take care of themselves. If he was breaking today, he’d be public enemy number one. That’s the power of rock and roll, the ability to shake up the establishment. What did Alice sing, "school’s been blown to pieces"? After being inducted, Alice should light a match and then blow the whole affair to smithereens. And I believe they’ll induct him, at least they nominated him, but if Bon Jovi gets in first I’m gonna get Heather Locklear and all the groupies who were screwed to protest. We can only stand inequity for so long.
As for Neil Diamond… Doesn’t he get in just for writing "I’m A Believer"? But no, because he’s so damn successful that middle-aged matrons swoon over him he’s seen as irrelevant, even though he’s had more hits than most people in the damn Hall and "Cherry Cherry" embodies rock and roll to a greater degree than the work of most of those already inducted. I mean suddenly commercial success is something to be ashamed of? What next, induction of Vic Chesnutt or someone who’s never put out a record but played in his garage and influenced Robbie Robertson?
And then we come to Laura Nyro. It’s a crime against humanity that Madonna and Patti Smith and so many of these wankers are in the Hall and she isn’t. But since Nyro was all but retired when she died, and she is dead and she’s got no champion, she’s continually overlooked. Trailblazing women in rock? Laura didn’t try to be a man, she paved her own way and we were mesmerized. Elton John has testified, she was Todd Rundgren’s inspiration, but since she’s deceased and her music hasn’t been featured on "Grey’s Anatomy" she’s not in the Hall?
Forget all the hit covers, more numerous than Chic had in its own name.
Just listen to the albums. Any one of the first three, especially.
The intimacy of "Captain For Dark Mornings" will have you crying the first time you hear it.
"Mercy On Broadway" has a passionate whimsy that causes your jaw to drop, that leaves you positively stunned that a human being can be so talented and alive.
"Poverty Train" encapsulates the pain of being poor. Today, no one even addresses the underclass, they’re just supposed to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, as if you can snap your fingers and live in a two parent home with an SUV in the driveway.
We’ve been waiting for years for Alice Cooper, Neil Diamond and Laura Nyro to get in. Now that they’ve been nominated, can Wenner fix the votes so that there’s no chance they’re excluded? I’d say these artists deserve it, but it’s the public that needs to be clued in, informed how trendsetting and great these people were and in some cases still are. That’s all that’s left of the Hall, the hype, the publicity, induction means almost nothing with all the head-scratchers inside, but if you’re gonna hype somebody, let it be these three.