Whitney Houston In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame

What kind of crazy, fucked-up world do we live in where Whitney Houston gets inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Judas Priest, Soundgarden and Todd Rundgren are not?

One in which the voters have lost all credibility, putting money over art, debasing the rock ethos and history to the point of irrelevance.

Come on, the only thing Whitney Houston has in common with rock is she O.D’ed!

Then they constantly wank about influences, yup, Patti Smith is gotta be in because she broke ground and influenced those at home. What new ground did Whitney Houston break? Another pop singer, so what? As for legacy…what did we get, “American Idol”? And to tell you the truth, Mariah Carey is more of an influence than Whitney, yup, melisma reigns on TV competition shows.

Or is it because she married Bobby Brown and became a bad girl?

This is execrable, this is sacrilegious, I feel like the Nazi during “Springtime For Hitler”…I knew rock and roll, I was there, these people have NO CLUE!

Come on!

The biggest breakthrough in rock and roll, what built classic rock, was FM radio.

Yup, the Beatles opened the door and then underground FM radio blew the doors off. FM stations played music AM wouldn’t dream of, or if AM played it it was eons late (kind of like terrestrial radio today if you think about it, stuff breaks on streaming services).

As a result of FM we got extended songs. We got side-long opuses. We got album-length extravaganzas. Yup, there’s more rock and roll in “Thick As A Brick” than in any song by Whitney Houston EVER!

But Jethro Tull can’t be in the Rock Hall because Ian Anderson is not warm and fuzzy and the band stole that Grammy from Metallica, even though that was the mistake of the ignorant Grammy voters, not the band.

Have you listened to “This Was”? A blues-rock masterpiece. I mean if you’re lauding Peter Green… And “Stand Up” is enough to induct any band. As for “Aqualung”… And if Kiss can get in based on popularity…were you alive in ’71, “Aqualung” RULED! “Cross-Eyed Mary” still populates classic rock radio, somewhere Whitney Houston was never played.

Kraftwerk? Only the most influential act in electronic music EVER! Yup, Kraftwerk were the progenitors, but according to the Rock Hall that’s not music.

Motorhead. Lemmy was the ESSENCE of rock and roll!

And anybody who doesn’t think Judas Priest has more rock bona fides in one song than Whitney Houston has in her whole catalog has another thing coming.

And Todd Rundgren is the genius behind Grand Funk’s “We’re An American Band”…talk about rock and roll. We’re getting further from our home.

Soundgarden was the first of the Seattle bands to break through.

And when it comes to Pat Benatar… She was referenced in “Fast Times,” she was the biggest female rock act of her era, but she’s EXCLUDED?

Have you listened to “In The Heat Of The Night”? “Heartbreaker” burst out of the speakers like a screaming track opening a Stones LP. Isn’t it all about grabbing listeners by the balls and making them listen? Name a Whitney Houston track that does the same thing, I dare you!

Never mind the definitive version of John Mellencamp’s “I Need A Lover”…talk about ATTITUDE! Isn’t that what rock is all about? Where’s Whitney Houston’s attitude?

And if you purchased “In The Heat Of The Night” because you just couldn’t resist, because you needed more, you were rewarded with Neil Giraldo’s “We Live For Love” to boot. Sure, Benatar had hit singles, but her albums were totally playable, satisfying, whereas Houston was all about hit singles, the definitive lightweight.
And “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” became part of the vernacular.
And the hits were endless, all over MTV when that channel still meant something, stuff like “Fire And Ice”…

“Oh, you’re givin’ me the fever tonight”

There’s more sexiness in the delivery of that one line than anything in Whitney Houston’s catalog…and isn’t that the essence of rock, what’s between the legs?

And with “Shadows Of The Night” and “Love Is A Battlefield” Benatar cemented her place in the firmament, girls started dressing like her…who ever started dressing like Whitney Houston?

This is why we had punk.

This is why the Seattle sound decimated the hair bands.

Yup, rock has a long history of eviscerating that which has become overbaked, pompous, that which is all style and no substance…AND NOW WHITNEY HOUSTON IS IN ITS HALL OF FAME?

Rock was about innovation, testing limits, no one had heard a song like “Bohemian Rhapsody” before it existed…what limits did Whitney Houston test?

And there’s been a constant struggle between artistry and money. Used to be a badge of honor to be into that which was not mainstream but was excellent nonetheless. Those are the acts and albums we treasure.

And you wonder why rock is dead.

You need people to stand up for values, to say no.

This is just like the government, this is just like America today, it’s about what’s expedient, those with the most bucks triumph, they get what they want. Who in the hell pushed for Houston’s inclusion, never mind nomination? Give me the reasons once again, because I’m completely flummoxed. Yup, I want the Rock Hall to defend this position.

But no, it’s faceless. We’re supposed to trust these dudes, and it is mostly dudes, while they destroy not only the institution, but the history of rock itself. Yup, if you were born in the last twenty years you’re now gonna think Whitney Houston was a big rocker, whom we all respected. THAT COULDN’T BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH!

And what did John Lennon sing…GIMME SOME TRUTH!

So the truth is rock is about the people who make it, where they’re coming from, what they have to say. It’s about outsiders who the audience gravitates to, not the reverse. Once you start giving people what they want you don’t deserve to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

If there’s no one to induct, skip a year.

But certainly, install true rockers before someone who represents everything rock fans HATE!

Occupied

Netflix: Occupied_Trailer

When the revolution comes, which side will you be on?

Even more interesting, which side WERE you on?

This is the story of billionaires, this is the story of impeachment.

Now I believe if a Democrat wins the Presidency all hell will break loose, the Trumpers will not accept it. And in a world where the Russians have hacked Burisma, to get info on Hunter Biden to use against a possible Biden candidacy, when the results come in it’s gonna be open season… Were the voting machines hacked? Can you trust the vote? Can you trust the news?

You certainly can’t trust the news anymore. Blame the internet. Blame the Republicans.

While the intelligentsia keeps lamenting the decimation of newspapers, that’s no longer the story anymore…the story isn’t reportage, but believability. Who do you choose to believe?

And it’s not only the ignorant right, but the educated left. Yup, I got e-mail saying I should not get the flu vaccine because it’s got aluminum in it. What next, no treatment for appendicitis, are we all turning into Christian Scientists?

So, if it’s in the NYT or the WaPo, it can’t be true. Yup, that’s what the right believes. And sometimes, up is down.

And the left can’t stop railing against Fox News, as if anybody on the right is listening to them complain.

And if you’ve got a name, and you stand up to the Administration, you’re inundated with blowback from the usual suspects, the same damn people, over and over. This is what bothers me about the mainstream news sources, they live in a bubble, out of touch with the rank and file, they’re behind a wall just like the CEOs. Oh, they’ll tap someone on the shoulder for their opinion, to get a story, but they don’t penetrate the scene. Actually, the scene penetrates you, if your name is big enough. And too many reporters’ names are not. Quick! Name the WSJ and WaPo White House reporters! You can’t!

And we’re living in a “2001” society. Where the machines have taken over. We keep reading about AI, but that’s not the issue. The issue is the aftereffects of the power of the platforms. Facebook has lost control, whilst trying to maintain control. Yup, Facebook employs subterfuge to hoover up your data, but is unable and unwilling to supervise behavior on its sites, saying it can’t when the truth is it doesn’t want to and won’t admit that it’s truly lost control of the content. It’d be like building roads and being unable to contain speeding, accidents. Or flying airplanes without air traffic controllers. And who is gonna tell the truth here and who is gonna believe it and..?

So if you sidled up to the billionaires, if you did it for the perks, believing you should not be left out, you’re gonna be in trouble. There’s a list, and you’re gonna be tainted. The tide has already turned, the mass is against the ultra-rich. The only way the billionaires sustain is if they arm up and shoot us.

As for the impeachment circus… History will not be kind to the Republican Senators who vote to exonerate Trump. They’re playing team politics, they’re afraid of Trump and their constituencies both. They believe that by doing the right thing they’ll end their careers, and it’s all about the personal in today’s world. As for the charges… Oh, come on. Trump trades aid for info. Kinda like Iran/Contra. If he’s not guilty, then I should be able to shoot people on the street, or at least rob a bank.

So today’s world is run by television. And I’m not talking cable news.

The truth is very few people watch Fox or MSNBC or CNN, never mind the antiquated network news. They’re busy watching the rest of the programming. They’re addicted to story, and that’s where the lessons are.

Like “Succession.” That’s where the average person learns how the rich behave, not in endless reporting in the paper.

And there are no lessons in music. That’s pure commerce. Or mindless hedonism.

As for books… The publishing business got exactly what it wanted, which is to keep its reach and influence marginal. What have I always told you, distribution is king? Well, Amazon had every Kindle book under ten bucks, growing the marketplace. The publishers got the right to set prices and raised them to the point where a physical book is often cheaper than a digital one, who’s gonna take that deal?

Yup, it’s all about reaching the masses.

And if you want to do this, you’re best off making a television show.

I take my TV watching seriously, very seriously. Because I don’t have enough time.

That’s what the film business doesn’t understand. Viewing is done by appointment, which is set by me, not them. That’s what’s great about the revolution in music distribution…I can listen anywhere, anytime, as long as I’ve got juice. And the ignorant still believe it’s about the connection, cell service, demonstrating that they haven’t kept up with technology, they don’t know you can synch tracks to the handset.

And those in power have not kept up with technology. Trump may tweet, but he’s got no idea how his phone works. He keeps telling us he’s gonna bring back manufacturing. What next, caning in schools?

So Jesper Berg wants to move beyond oil and gas. And Russia and the EU say no way!

So Russian invades Norway to secure natural resource energy production.

Jesper keeps satiating them, believing they’re gonna leave, that their stay is only temporary.

Bente is elated. Now her restaurant can stay open, all the rich Russians need to eat!

But suddenly she’s a pariah.

The news keeps telling everyone life is hunky-dory.

But the resistance? It is flourishing. And then the question…who on the inside is really on the outside?

Never ignore hearts and minds. That’s what the right wing revolution was all about, that’s why Trump got elected. The white nationalists, those left behind by globalization, they wanted to be acknowledged, they wanted to be recognized, have input, however deluded they might be.

Concomitantly, on the left throngs supported Bernie Sanders. Who right now looks like he’s gonna be the nominee, despite the mainstream informing us again and again that the now fading Biden is the people’s choice and the only electable candidate. Sanders fans are sick and tired of being screwed and are worried about the future, can you say “climate change”?

That’s what Jesper Berg is trying to do. Save society from itself.

But the Russians don’t want this, never mind the EU. As for the U.S? It’s no longer the world’s peacekeeper, it’s staying out, worried solely about its interests.

So Norway is on its own. Who is gonna save Norway?

Or, should I put it who cares about Norway other than the Norwegians?

Yup, “Occupied” is not far-fetched. It’s just a tiny step beyond today’s reality. We live in a global economy, isolationists are screwed. As for those doing the screwing…they’re not worried about the rule of law, they’re just worried about getting what they want. And the result justifies any means.

Come on, it’s not that different in America. Reality is whitewashed. The poor are subjected to cameras everywhere, never mind facial recognition. Commit a crime and you’re going to jail. But if you’re rich, if you’re a white collar criminal? You skate! Just ask Trump himself, who has decimated the IRS, never mind filed false tax returns (read the NYT story for edification: nyti.ms/2Nsq5aq). Yup, your heroes have clay feet. Believe in yourself, nobody else cares about you.

So when you watch “Occupied” you will not stop thinking about reality, truth, today. What would you do? Would you stand by frozen, would you be an opportunist, or would you fight for your country and way of life?

Funny thing, when the chips are down, you’d be stunned what becomes irrelevant, what you’re willing to sacrifice for the cause.

And judgment day always comes. Yup. The choices you made will impact your future. And everything’s on hard drive, nothing eludes those seeking it. They know what fundraiser you went to, they know who you had dinner with, they know everything about you and it’s gonna come back to haunt you, unless you’ve led a clean life.

Yup, when it’s all said and done it might come back to morality, the straight and narrow.

For now, watch this show and get back to me.

Marcus King

The track is “One Day She’s Here.” It’s funky!

Did you watch the Chiefs game? I didn’t, I don’t think I’ve watched an iota of football this year, but I’ve read about Patrick Mahomes, I’ve been following him ever since he broke into the league, you see he’s revolutionized the game. The ground attack, the gut it out play of yore, is history, now it’s all passing, and Mahomes gave it the final push. Yesterday the Chiefs were down 21 after the first quarter, looked like it was over, who can come back from that, especially in a playoff game? Well, Mahomes moved the ball down the field for 28 points in the second quarter. I would have liked to see that!

Reminded me of Steph Curry. An unknown, at least to me, and then he scored 54 points in one game against the Knicks back in 2013 and I had to tune in, I had to see what all the mania was about. Curry changed the game completely, with his 3 point shots. He’s been a marvel to watch. I’d given up on the NBA after wasting too much time watching back in the nineties, but Curry pulled me back in.

This is what we’re waiting for in the music business, an act that comes along and revolutionizes the game. That attracts the attention of not only those paying attention, but those who are not. We haven’t had that spirit in music for a very long time.

Maybe the last time it was Lady Gaga. Well, although uber-talented, most people became aware of her antics, the penumbra surrounding the music, and one can argue that she didn’t make music that appealed to everybody until the remake of “A Star Is Born.”

Before her, or contemporaneous, depending on how you calculate, was Adele. She was a phenomenon, sold literally ten times the number of albums as her closest competitors. Everybody knew her name, she permeated the universe, she put a dent in it, at least with “21,” and what have we had since?

The Beatles exploded the music business. Nothing like them had been seen before. Frank Sinatra did not write his own songs, he didn’t push beyond traditional genres.

And after the Beatles… Well, we had the British Invasion. And then for years, decades, we had a plethora of great acts, drawing attention across the world. And sure, today your music can be heard worldwide, but it’s hard to draw attention to it, it might end up going unheard. But if there’s mania, something great, the sky is the limit.

And it is not “Yummy.”

The story of today is how Justin Bieber tried to manipulate the Spotify numbers. If only it were a better record. His previous work stood out. Yup, you didn’t have to be a Belieber to love “Sorry” or “Love Yourself,” they rose above all the rest of the crap on the hit parade.

Now breakthrough acts don’t come from nowhere, they’ve always paid their dues for years before they become a phenomenon. Then again, what we’ve got today is social media phenomena, it’s so much easier to do that than to make great music, to play you’ve got to PRACTICE! Marcus King has been playing since he was 3, almost always off the radar. And prior today I never got him.

Now if you read the BuzzAngle report, you’ll find “Chris Stapleton’s ‘Traveller’ album was the biggest Country album over the past five years with more than 1.3 million album sales and the fourth most purchased album over the past five years.” The music didn’t sound like what was on country radio, and when Stapleton broke through all his contemporaries testified, loved when he won awards, because not only did they acknowledge his talent, he was a giant middle finger to the country music establishment, especially radio, you didn’t have to do it their way to succeed!

And those who normally don’t pay attention did. Stapleton was even on Howard Stern.

So Marcus King is playing music derivative of sixties electric blues. He’s not really breaking any new ground, but astoundingly the material on his new album is more than serviceable. It always comes down to the song, Clive Davis was right about that. And it seems like a lost formula. So many acts, especially rock bands, have skill, but they’ve got no songs!

So I was reluctant to listen to the new music. And the fact that Dan Auerbach cowrote and produced…I saw that as a negative, as I’m not really a Black Keys fan, and he’s the flavor du jour, but you can’t put lipstick on a pig.

But stunningly, the Marcus King cuts that have already been released from “El Dorado” all resonate.

How can this be?

This music is far from the Spotify Top 50. We’re told every youngster wants to be a rapper or a DJ, but Marcus King is only 23.

Not that King is unknown, assuming you’re deep into the “Relix” world. But none of those acts seem to break out of that ghetto, no matter how lucrative it might be.

I mean listening to Marcus King is like being transported to back when, and he doesn’t sound like a remake, or a copy. Sure, he’s not pushing the envelope, but if you like this kind of music you’ll listen to the songs and be dancing around the house, you’ll be elated.

Hip-hop won the internet. But that was years ago. Now everybody under thirty is on the same page. They’re not attached to CDs, they’re not bitching about streaming payouts, hell kids in today’s Army weren’t even born when the Twin Towers came down! Yup, time keeps passing.

Now in the limited, pre-internet world, sales made sense, the rankings made sense, because the scene made sense. But today, with Bieber asking his fans to put his music on endless repeat, what chance does a non-hip-hop/pop track have to break through? Essentially none.

Which is why it’s gonna take a long time for different genres to gain traction. You’ve already got to be a fan of this music to come across Marcus King on a playlist, which means there’s little of the virality that breaks acts today.

But there could be.

One Day She’s Here Spotify

One Day She’s Here YouTube

Your Favorite Movie Song-SiriusXM This Week

Tune in tomorrow, Tuesday January 14th, to Volume 106, 7 PM East, 4 PM West.

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Twitter: @lefsetz or @siriusxmvolume/#lefsetzlive

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