Wednesday, December 16, 2009


As I mentioned in my previous post, tomorrow morning (December 16) I will be on SIRIUS XM channel OutQ's The Morning Jolt with Larry Flick for a full hour (rather than my usual half hour) starting at 9 am ET. My original topic was going to be last minute holiday gifts, but since The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction class has been announced, we'll be addressing that as well. Feel free to call in with your opinions! 866-305-6887.

I've written a lot about The Stooges over the past few years: to me, if they don't deserve to be in, hardly anyone does. They didn't sell a lot of records, were probably never on the radio, classic rock radio doesn't play them today (instead opting for Boston, Styx, The Eagles, etc), didn't get much love in the press during their era. And yet. They influenced David Bowie, Patti Smith, The Ramones, The Clash, The Sex Pistols, U2, R.E.M., Jane's Addiction, PJ Harvey, Hole, Nirvana, Soundgarden, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nine Inch Nails and many more. Music would be really different if they never existed, and I don't know how many other bands you can say that about. They've been eligable for 15 years, they've been on the ballot and rejected I think eight times, but better late than never. Although it is really sad that guitarist Ron Asheton passed away just a few months before this announcement. If you're not that familiar with the band and want to get into them... well, there's no real "best of." But do yourself a favor, just pick up their three albums: 1969's The Stooges, 1970's Fun House and 1973's Raw Power (which I think is getting a deluxe reissue soon). Their 2007 reunion album The Weirdness is cool, but it's the first three that you need, trust me on that.

Jimmy Cliff is the only other inductee that I would have voted for. I don't remember why, but the soundtrack to The Harder They Come was one of the first reggae albums I ever owned. I'm not a reggae expert, but I do enjoy it a lot. Jimmy Cliff starred in that film, and is all over the soundtrack, which is the best non-Marley reggae album ever and maybe the best overall. It has a great song for children "You Can Get It If You Really Want It," a beautiful gospel tune (perfect for funerals!) "Many Rivers To Cross" and a rebel anthem "The Harder They Come, The Harder They Fall," which has been covered by Joe Strummer, Rancid, Jerry Garcia and Cher. "Sitting In Limbo" is another classic from the album. He also has other great songs like "Viet Nam" (not many reggae singers addressed Viet Nam) and "Trapped" (famously covered by Bruce Springsteen). If you're just looking to try out Jimmy Cliff, check out the deluxe edition of The Harder They Come (featuring lots of other great reggae artists like Desmond Dekker and Toots & The Maytals, the later of whom I might also nominate for the Rock Hall) and the 2 CD Anthology, released in 2003 on Universal.

Genesis? Would I have voted for them, despite the fact that I am a big fan? Maybe not. That said, I'll be glad to see a band that has recieved such sharp and venomous critical barbs through their entire career get this great honor. That said, it is terrible timing, because Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett might have performed with the other three, but now that Phil Collins is injured and can't play the drums, the opportunity to see the classic five-man lineup will probably never play again. My suggestion? Have Muse perform a Gabriel-era song, and then have Rob Thomas join them for a Phil-era song. If you are looking to get into Genesis, I would start with Turn It On Again, which concentrates on the Phil era. If you prefer Peter, the best albums are The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway and Selling England By The Pound.

The Hollies? They wouldn't have gotten my vote, although I love some of their songs, especially "Look Through Any Window." Still, I'm sure this is the result of much campaigning by Little Steven, maybe his speech about them will convince me. He is a great advocate of the more poppy '60s-era rock bands, which I respect. I certainly wouldn't own any Rascals or Dave Clark 5 if not for Little Steven. I only have one Hollies CD, Epic Anthology.

ABBA? Sorry - and I know that this may not be popular tomorrow on the radio - but no. Hell no. If this were the Songwriter's Hall of Fame? Sure. I'm not a "rockist" snob - I have no problem with Madonna in the Hall of Fame, or Michael Jackson. They both have a certain edge that makes them rock and roll to me, which ABBA lacks. I just don't think they should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and certainly not over KISS, Alice Cooper, The MC5, etc.

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