Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inducts Disco Blogger in the 'Fawning Lackey' Category

It all started when I posted the following piece: The Rock and Roll Hall of Shame, or The Crock and Faux Hall of Disco, Soul and Rap, which questioned the very nature of how artists, and particularly non-rock artists, are inducted into an 'alleged' Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, yet have literally nothing to do with rock, and were never considered rock musicians/performers during their careers; while, at the same time, whole genres of rock are routinely ignored in the induction process. This obviously did not sit well with a few sycophants, brown-nosers and bootlickers who naturally came to defend the status quo. For instance, I received this comment from a certain Tom Lane:
"This has to be one of the stupidest Rock Hall posts ever written.
Uriah Heep, Supertramp, Rainbow, Harry Chapin, Humble Pie and some of the other laughable bands named that you want inducted had me thinking this whole post was satire. It was, right. Humble Pie!!"

I rebutted his rather callow commentary with a comment of my own, pointing out that he failed to read the piece in total (reading comprehension is a lost art, it seems), and that I had chosen six bands (Alice Cooper, Rush, King Crimson, Jethro Tull, The Moody Blues and Yes) as examples of bands that have been totally and inexcusably ignored for induction, while performers like The Bee Gees and ABBA are inducted with apparent glee. Then at the end of my post I listed another 35-40 rock bands that did not have the obvious 'rock star' status that these sterling examples of rock and roll had: The Four Seasons, LaVern Baker, Martha and the Vandellas, Dusty Springfield, Solomon Burke, and Earth, Wind & Fire (all RRHoF inductes). Do you see the irony? Stevie Ray Vaughan and Deep Purple are not in the ROCK AND ROLL HALL but Solomon Burke and Martha and the Vandellas are -- even though they were never, ever considered rock-and-roll artists during their careers.

Needless to say, I let it go after the rebuttal, as it was obvious Tom Lane had some warped agenda to replace Jimi Hendrix's Strat with mirrored disco balls and polyester leisure suits as Hall exhibits. To each his own. That was until a kind reader pointed out that Tom Lane decided to attack again, actually posting this on his blog Most Ignorant Rock Hall Rant Ever?, wherein he continues to ignore the gist of the essay (the six bands who deserve induction), and instead continues to bitch and moan about the list of 40 artists that ended the piece. By the way, here is that list:

Blue Oyster Cult
Canned Heat
The Cars
Harry Chapin
Joe Cocker
Jim Croce
Dick Dale
Deep Purple
Dire Straits
The Doobie Brothers
Electric Light Orchestra
Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Fairport Convention
J. Geils Band
Peter Gabriel (solo career)
The Guess Who
Ian Hunter (solo career)
Humble Pie
Carole King
John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers
Jefferson Airplane/Starship
Mott the Hoople
The Pogues
Procol Harum
Roxy Music
Cat Stevens
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Uriah Heep
Stevie Ray Vaughan
Warren Zevon

Now, from a rock-and-roll standpoint, wouldn't you think that this list represents a great cross-section of rock bands and performers? Couldn't you choose 10, 20, even 30 bands that deserve immediate induction from that list and an apology from the Hall for not putting them in sooner? Why does Tom Lane have such a hard-on about certain bands I placed on the list? If one had actually read my piece (again, that reading comprehension thing), it is quite clear I never said that all these bands deserved induction, rather, that non-rock performers were inducted that took precedence over them and they weren't even considered. Rock performers ignored, non-rock performers inducted. I naturally assumed any imbecile would catch that; unfortunately, some dolts are wading so low in the gene pool that they may well drown in a teaspoonful of common sense.

Now, to Tom Lane's agenda. Going through his several lists of favorites for Hall of Fame induction, I found several questionable, if not downright laughably pathetic, selections. It makes one wonder if Mr. Lane should even be commenting on rock-and-roll at all:

The Commodores
Hall and Oates
Kool and the Gang
Teddy Pendergrass
The Stylistics
Barry White
Donna Summer
The Spinners

Barry White? Donna Summer? What exactly do these performer have to do with rock-and-roll, Mr. Lane? Have you ever heard anyone say "Man, The Stylistics really rock!" What next, Mr. Lane? KC & The Sunshine Band or The Village People? I assume you weren't at Chicago's Comiskey Park on 'Disco Demolition Night' in 1979 when thousands of rock fans were setting fire to disco albums. Were you too busy prepping for a 'Tony Manero Look-alike Contest' at a New York 'Saturday Night Fever Appreciation Day'?

Again, let's drop the pretext of having a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and merely have a Popular Music Hall of Fame if Tom Lane and his sorry, stultified ilk continue to frantically wave their disco balls for these non-rock entities. As I stated previously, it all has to do with selling tickets and homogenizing the process to such an extent that rap and disco are suddenly genres of rock-and-roll. But they aren't. The only reason they are there is so that the Hall can draw from a larger pool to bring in more money. It has nothing to do with music, and certainly not rock music. It has everything to do with the music industry promoting whatever flavor of the month it wishes to foist on the listening public.


Randy said...

Steppenwolf? Steppenwolf???? The band that coined the term 'heavy metal' is not yet in the Hall of Fame? (You can see how well I keep up with this.)

That's like leaving Antonin Dvorak out of the Classical Hall of Fame, if there were such a thing.

Morthoron the Dark Elf said...

No, Randy, Steppenwolf with its iconic 'Born to be Wild' from the greatest biker movie of all time 'Easy Rider', and other top ten hits like 'Magic Carpet Ride' and 'Rock Me', is not in the Hall. You see, Steppenwolf is a rock band, and therefore at a disadvantage to R&B, rap and disco groups, who are more likely to get into the "Rock and Roll Hall" because they never played rock music and were never considered rock performers. You are less likely these days to get inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall if you play rock and roll.

Yes, the logic is asinine, but then so is the induction process. A thing lost on addled sycophants like Tom Lane.

AC said...

* heavy breathing*

Did he seriously talk shit about Rainbow...? What world does this cretin live in!?

Randy said...

No, Randy, Steppenwolf with its iconic 'Born to be Wild' from the greatest biker movie of all time 'Easy Rider', and other top ten hits like 'Magic Carpet Ride' and 'Rock Me', is not in the Hall.

You forgot Zephraim Cochrane making Humankind's first FTL flight to the strains of Born to be Wild. It wasn't that great a movie, but that scene kicked ass.

Morthoron the Dark Elf said...

Yes, AC, Mr. Lane doesn't care for rock bands being in a 'Rock Hall'. If anything, Ritchie Blackmore should be inducted for his work in both Deep Purple and Rainbow, bands that influenced more metal-heads than any other band except for Sabbath. Actually, I'm surprised they inducted Sabbath -- they sound nothing like Barry White.

jhenstern said...

Obviously, I agree with you, Dark Elf. I happen to like The Spinners and The Stylistics, but that is not rock music, and those groups do not belong in the Hall of Fame. The Motown Hall of Fame, if there is such a thing, maybe, but the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, definitely not. Perhaps there is still hope for bands like Jethro Tull, after all they just inducted Genesis. (Probably on the strength of their 80's catalogue, though.) On a related note, thanks for posting the link to the Jethro Tull Board on your excellent blog!


Morthoron the Dark Elf said...

You nailed it, Jeff. The Spinners and The Stylistics are certainly memorable and important bands (The Stylistic's 'You Are Everything' is one of the most beautiful songs ever recorded). But look them up on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, look them up on Wikipedia, or simply do an internet search. They will come up as an 'R&B' or 'Soul' group. Nowhere is 'rock' or 'rock and roll' ever mentioned. Ever. Never.

I've seen Stevie Wonder, The Temptations and Aretha Franklin in Detroit concerts several times. At no time was I going to see a 'rock concert'. I was going to see the 'Queen of Soul' not the 'Hoochie-Mama of Rock'n'Roll. The whole selection process is a ploy to grab money and generate buzz outside of rock circles.

As far as Genesis, I wonder if they would be in the Rock Hall if they disbanded after Peter Gabriel left or, to be fair, when Steve Hackett left after 'Winds and Wuthering' in 1976. Would they be selected for their phenomenal progressive rock albums alone? Or is it based on the commercial pablum spewed out in the 80's? If you were completely honest, you know what the answer would be.

And thank you for the compliment!

Philip said...

While you do include some exceptions like Carole King, for the most part, you're confusing "Rock And Roll" with "Classic Rock". Classic Rock, Arena Rock, etc. are all subgenres of "Rock 'n' Roll." And I find it pretty shameful that there are no Black acts on your list of snubs. Most music experts, in fact, list rock 'n' roll as a subgenre of R&B, though I don't agree with that myself. Soul music is an absolutely integral part of rock'n'roll music. Doo-wop is arguably the first form of rock'n'roll itself, going back to the early '50s.

While I would not object to any of those you list being inducted (except Harry Chapin and Cat Stevens), your definition of what is "rock 'n' roll" is far too myopic. By your definition, it should be called "The Mullet Music Hall Of Fame" or "The Hall Of Fame For Acts That Tour County Fairs If They're Still Alive When Their Popularity Dries Up, Trying To Keep That Smile On Their Face Once They See How Time Has Taken A Baseball Bat To Their Former-Groupies-Now-Possibly-Mothers-Of-Their-Love-Children".

Are their glaring omissions from the Hall? Of course. Does that make any other artist less "rock 'n' roll" because they didn't play raucous guitar riffs? Of course not! Guitar alone is not a mandatory criterion for defining "rock'n'roll music."

And for the record, while he's never singled me out personally, reading his blog, I get the feeling Tom Lane doesn't particularly care about my views about Hall-worthy acts.

P.S. Jefferson Airplane are already in the Hall. Inducted in 1996. Jefferson Starship as a second induction is a shaky argument at best, Starship for the trifecta is outright ludicrous.

Morthoron the Dark Elf said...

First of all, Phillip, it's not a racial thing, so please refrain from such insinuations. How many white performers would be in an R&B Hall of Fame? Not many, because most 'white soul' acts were untalented frauds foisted on the public by greedy record companies trying to sell soul and R&B to white audiences.

I can tell you that the many blues musicians I've performed with over the years would laugh in your face if you called their music rock-and-roll. They've never considered it such. Now, there have been many rock bands who have played blues, but they remain rock bands. By the way, here is a wiki link to the Blues Hall of Fame:


Please notice the overwhelming preponderance of black performers as opposed to white performers. Isn't that as it should be? I'm not complaining, it makes perfect sense. The acts they've chosen are fabulous and I own many of their recordings. But you'll notice the white acts inducted (like Bonnie Rait, Johnny Winter and Stevie Ray Vaughan) devoted the majority of their careers to the blues. They haven't plopped Aretha Franklin or Donna Summers or Run/DMC in there, have they? Your line of argument is specious to say the least.

I talked to a few friends the other day (I guess you would call them 'black' friends, but I don't consider them that way). They've never considered soul and R&B rock-and-roll either. Soul and R&B, like the Blues certainly gave rock part of its genetic footprint at its infancy, but it diverged and is separate at this point, and has been for many decades. So who would you like me to add? Which black rock bands should get in? The Chamber Brothers? Living Colour? Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy?

There came a point in Jimi Hendrix's career when he became very concerned that his acceptance of rock-and-roll was driving a wedge between him and his community -- because they did not listen to rock (watch the film 'Jimi Hendrix' and listen to the interviews, it is very enlightening).

You may consider Soul an integral part of rock-and-roll, but the performers themselves never considered themselves of the genre.
If you don't know any musicians, go to a bar where a soul, R&B or blues act is playing. Ask if they play rock and roll. Then maybe you'll get a clue. Again, I have no problem with a 'Pop' Music Hall of Fame, which the RRHOF is. It simply is and has never been strictly about rock-and-roll.

As far as "The Hall Of Fame For Acts That Tour County Fairs If They're Still Alive When Their Popularity Dries Up", if I understand the rules correctly, a performer cannot even be voted in until they've been in the business 25+ years. So I am indeed championing a whole bunch of bands and performers from the 60's and 70's who have been skipped over for no other reason than a coterie of dubious critics in New York do not care for their type of rock. And it is rock.

In my article I was very specific as to the six bands who have been egregiously ignored:

Alice Cooper
King Crimson
Jethro Tull
The Moody Blues

I gave specific reasons for each. I then listed 40 other rock bands that have been ignored while non-rock bands have been inducted. Some probably don't deserve to be in the Hall, but they are rock performers, for Christ's sake, and the point was they deserve consideration over non-rock performers. Or, better yet, drop the pretense of a 'Rock and Roll' Hall and have a 'Pop' Hall, and I won't mention it ever again.

Thank you for your post.

Philip said...

Again, I did not say the artists you list weren't rock, but that that style of rock is not the only style that constitutes "rock'n'roll." The reason R&B and soul musicians don't consider themselves rock'n'roll is because the term has been bogarted by the classic rock era to mean only the raucous guitar licks style of rock. The irony of this is that we have the British Invasion (spearheaded by the Beatles) to thank for this, whose acts, along with their original compositions came to the States playing covers of songs by the Isley Brothers, Little Richard, the Shirelles, Sam Cooke, and Motown jams. In essence, they re-introduced America to its own music. Ultimately, those R&B and soul musicians often don't realize that what they do is a part of the rock'n'roll diaspora--because that's what rock'n'roll is, a diaspora.

On that note, I have known musicians over the years, and in my opinion, they are the second last people to ask about their style and classification. They usually either give you the spiel about how it's all corporate fascism to have a classification system at all, or they're so desperate to have their band thought of as unique that they won't consider themselves ANY genre, and are hesitant to even list any bands or artists that were influential to them.

As for the Blues players, it's understandable, since the blues were around long before rock, but the two genres have borrowed so much from each other over the years, that once again, I would say they may not always realize how intertwined they are, as in fact ALL musical styles have borrowed from each other, that it soon becomes a blurring.

And maybe that's another reason why the RRHOF does what it does, the DNA of rock'n'roll is found in just about every other format to some degree that calling it part of "Rock And Roll" isn't a complete fabrication after all. I would also note, that for whatever reason, the HOF doesn't actually specify that they must be in title "Rock And Roll" just that contributing factors will usually include having your music be germane to the evolution of rock and roll, which is why I would not be completely averse to the induction of the decidedly-country Willie Nelson, simply because he's been such an influence on rock and roll artists that came after him.

Perhaps that comes off as "addled and sycophantic" to you, but I ultimately find arguing what should be more pointless than arguing within the parameters of "given what already is".

Thank you for the unexpectedly civil reply to my half-snarky comments.

Morthoron the Dark Elf said...

I will have to respectfully disagree, Phillip. We are talking about a profound divergence from the main blues tree that began in the 50's, became pronounced in the early 60's and had become independent by the mid-60's. By ‘64-65, rock artists no longer relied on R&B covers, and integrated elements of the American folk movement (thanks to Bob Dylan), country, and European classicism to create a wholly different and separate rock genre.

Meanwhile, black performers went in an entirely different direction, evolving from the R&B of the 50's (an elemental aspect of rock) into performing soul, then psychedelic soul, then funk – a natural progression easily defined in the careers of Stevie Wonder, the Temptations and Parliament. I'm sorry to sink your revisionist boat, but 9 out of 10 sentient adults will tell you that the Beatles and Stones were rock bands and the Temptations and the Stylistics were soul bands. They’ll also identify the songs themselves by the particular genre, thus derailing your hermeneutic train of thought.
Like it or not, by the mid-60's, rock had become nearly the sole province of white performers and soul of black artists -- as I said completely divergent and separate entities.

Just as the Blues Hall of Fame is predominantly black, the Country Music Hall of Fame is nearly completely white (I scanned the list of inductees, and the only black performer I recognized was Charlie Pride). This merely reflects varying tastes by demographics. It is okay. There is no sense in forcing a homogeneity on the masses that is unnecessary. People and communities can be individualistic and respect the other. Revel in diversity but don't jam revisionism down people's throat.

"I would not be completely averse to the induction of the decidedly-country Willie Nelson, simply because he's been such an influence on rock and roll…"

There once was a reason the RRHOF had a separate 'early influence' section for inductees that influenced rock but, as you show with Willie Nelson, they’re not and have never been rock performers. Unfortunately, the RRHOF is confusing itself. Why would Robert Johnson, T-Bone Walker, Willie Dixon and Elmore James be early influences, while B.B. King, Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker were inducted as performers? They are all bluesmen and never deviated into rock music. It is indeed 'muddying the waters'.

The Isley Brothers, Sam Cooke and the others you mention (like do-wap groups) certainly deserve to be inducted into the RRHOF -- as influences, not as damn rock performers. I revere Muddy Waters, but damn it, he played blues, and in order for Johnny Winter to jam with him, he had to lose the trappings of rock and roll he collected like barnacles through his career, and stick with the blues.

Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley and Little Richard, all great black performers, should rightly be inducted as rock performers because they accepted the genre and were identified by the term, and were in the vanguard with white performers like Elvis, Jerry Lee and Buddy. But there was a definite divergence after the original vanguard, and few blacks ventured into rock. Sorry if that upsets your tender sensibilities, but I am not rewriting history.

As I said on several occasions, if you want a 'Pop Music Hall of Fame', by all means, I can point to a building in Cleveland that would be more than suitable. And from what I've heard, it may soon be available.

"Thank you for the unexpectedly civil reply to my half-snarky comments."

I only treat rude inanities like your boy Tom Lane with utter derision and disrespect. You presented a cogent and well considered argument -- dead wrong and revisionist -- but compelling nonetheless. I’ll tolerate a little teasing, but if you post a "UR Ig'nant Cos IR Smrt" attack on your blog, well, you then get something far less polite.

Thanks again, looking forward to your reply (even though I believe we are at a loggerhead regarding our disparate views).

james nadal said...

Though I stumbled onto this site, I too have been bewildered by the "rockhall" criteria for inductees and would like to add why Arthur Lee and the original Love group are not in. I also have serious doubts about the voting,and think the ceremony is far too outlandish to be credible. Who is really behind all this??? Anyway enjoyed the rants and will visit again!!

Pasquale Severino said...

Harry Chapin belongs in the R&R HOF,Anyone that thinks otherwise can kiss my behind.....