Monday, March 10, 2008

Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame -- Class of 2008

It seemed like a good idea at the time -- enshrine the biggest and best stars of the rock 'n roll era, and give them their own building where fans can come and gape at the very guitar pick Eric Clapton used on "Layla."

Reality has turned out to be a little different. The problem is that the list of the "biggest and best" dried up a long time ago. And so, in a few weeks, we (okay, the shrinking number of people who actually seem to care about these things) will witness the spectacle of Madonna, John Mellencamp, The Ventures, and Leonard Cohen entering the hallowed halls. Let's see:

Madonna -- Possessing dubious musical skills, Madonna flounced her way to the top of the charts via a superb body, provocative panting, and savvy marketing. She also paved the way for artists such as Britney Spears. This is surely worthy of some sort of award. I'm not sure that the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame should be it, though. Maybe a plaque at the Playboy Mansion.

John Mellencamp -- Springsteen Lite for the midwest, Mellenhead had a few feel-good anthems. But that little ditty about Jack and Diane was, in fact, a little ditty, and Mellencamp has alternated between throwaway nostalgia and blowhard political diatribes ever since.

The Ventures -- Nothing like honoring an instrumental surf band 45 years after the fact. "Theme From Hawaii-5-0" was really cool, though.

Leonard Cohen -- Leonard Cohen is most famous for being depressed. He's articulate in his depression, but he can't sing worth shit, and his most famous songs -- "Suzanne," "Bird on a Wire," and "Hallelujah" -- have been made popular (and calling Jeff Buckley's "Hallelujah" take "popular" is really stretching it) by others.

So those are the big stars. Lesser-known producers and songwriters will also be enshrined.

I'm telling you, it's only a matter of time until REO Speedwagon and Toto have their shining moment in the sun. And when that happens, no one will care. Nor should they.


Someone Said said...

The Dave Clark Five are lesser known?

Not in my house! Tsk tsk!

just scott said...

Oh come on Andy, what about "Waiting for the Miracle"? That song was great. But the rest of what you said was pretty true about Cohen. He's good for a drink or ten when you're feeling down though :)
As for The Coug, I was pretty fond of The Lonesome Jubilee and Human Wheels, even if that loses me credibility points.
And Madonna? Yeah, the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame no...but if they had Pop Hall of Fame...definitely.

Adventures with Us said...

I have to say Mellencamp a good run in the mid 80's (Uh Huh, Lonesome Jubilee, Scarecrow, Big Daddy) were all really good albums. Sure he has mailed it in some of the times and maybe not worth the HOF but still had some very worthy records.

HCJoel said...

Hey Andy. Interestingly (and without planning it this way), I was at the Hall yesterday on the day of the inductions for half of a quick road trip to Cleveland (the other half saw us watching the Cavaliers game).

I liked the Hall. A lot. I appreciate the history of rock/popular music. A lot. There are a lot of good artists in there that deserve the recognition as integral or valuable in rock and/or roll. However, there was some shit.

The idea of having to induct someone every year is stupid. This isn't a sports league that requires athletes to be retired five years before eligibility or that allows for comparison of statistics. Madonna doesn't deserve to be in. At all. John Cougar Mellencamp? I like some of his songs. Hall Of Fame worthy, though? That's silly. They need to figure out of it is the Rock And Roll Hall Of Popularity or the Hall Of Fame. The Stones, Beach Boys, Stax, Elvis, Beatles, Janis Joplin, Clapton, Hendrix, all the old-time blues/jazz/doo wop folks... Van Halen? REM? BLONDIE?!? SEX PISTOLS?!? The O'Jays? While I like Percy Sledge's single hit, he didn't contribute that much to rock and roll. Crazy. And that's only looking at the last couple years.

Anonymous said...

"Hallelujah" was on the Shrek soundtrack. That probably made it kinda popular even before the folks at American Idol shined their light on it a week or so ago. I listened to the Jeff Buckley cd as an adolescent of the '90s and thought his version of the song was quite remarkable.