Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Playlist for 9/16

Dr. John - Spirit of Satch
L.C. Cooke - Complete SAR Recordings
Benjamin Booker  -s/t
Smokey Robinson - Smokey & Friends
Liam Bailey - Definitely Now
FKA twigs - LP1
Brad Paisley - Moonshine In The Trunk

Friday, September 12, 2014

2015 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Nominee Predictions

The usual introduction.  Prediciting who the NomCom will nominate is tough.  You have to look at the list of first time eligibles, past nominees, names that haven't been nominated that are big snubs and most importantly, make a few guesses.  Apparently, although Joel Peresman denies this, NomCom members aren't allowed to speak about what goes on at their yearly meeting.  Some info does leak out, but most of them are quiet.

Although I follow all things Rock Hall, I have no special insider information on what the NomCom might do. Doesn't matter what NomCom member you follow on Twitter or Facebook. Some secrets never get out. We know some names members want inducted.  But that's never a sure-fire guarantee for a nomination.  So, some of my picks are mere musings on artists and scenarios.

But you can always expect surprises.  Especially, if like last year, with Tom Morello and Questlove, new members of the NomCom show up.

BTW- Future Rock Legends and I share 12 out of 16 names.  The Bill Withers shared pick has been on my mind for years.  Just karma between us, I suppose.

This year I'm putting up 16 names:

1.  Green Day - First time eligible, and just the sort of 90's name the NomCom wants.

2.  Stevie Ray Vaughan - I've been picking him every year since he's been eligible.  If not him, maybe a sympathetic nod for Johnny Winter or a NomCom fave like the Paul Butterfield Blues Band.

3.  Yes -  Didn't miss induction by much last year?  That's the rumor. Would be 2nd time nominated.

4.  Roxy Music - Incredibly puzzling to think they've never even been nominated.  Not once.  Maybe they need a reunion tour to get the NomCom to notice them.

5.  Chic - Hard to pick against another nomination.  But maybe they give Nile & Co. a rest this year?

6.   Smiths - I think they want the Cure in first.  But this would get a lot of ""will they or won't they show up" dialog going if they got inducted.  A high profile nomination.  The type the NomCom needs.

7.  Bill Withers - A singer-songwriter every year, and Withers as an R&B one would fit nicely.  I first thought about him in  2010 as a backup pick (2011 Predictions ) He would be a perfect pick. Loved by artists and critics.

8.  Monkees -  Always on the shortlist of snubbed acts.  Could also go to the Zombies, Turtles, Paul Revere & The Raiders or lots of other mid-60's era bands.

9.  Nine Inch Nails -As with Green Day, another first-time 90's name the NomCom would love to get to the podium.

10.  Joan Jett & The Blackhearts - Nominated in 2012, 2013. Her presence at the 2014 ceremony only makes this even more certain. But wouldn't it be funny if they instead nominated the Runaways?

11.  Link Wray - A surprise that he didn't go in  last year.

12.  N.W.A - Nominated last two years. They really, really want another Rap act inducted. I've only got one listed here, but LL Cool J could make another appearance.

13.  Kraftwerk - The NomCom likes them, which is usually enough to get back on the ballot.   Nominated twice before, the last in 2013.

14.  Chicago - Real close, right?  So why can't they get nominated?  Not critical favorites for one.   Maybe if they had split up for good after Peter Cetera left?  If not them, maybe another fan fave that's not loved by critics, Bon Jovi.

15.  Deep Purple - Lots of support among the Hard Rock community.  This would be their  3rd time on the ballot.

16.  Replacements - Kind of a surprise nominee last year.  Kids of the 80's were loving their nomination.  Could also go to another 80's fave, Sonic Youth.

Some more first time nominee possibilities that could get on the ballot:  Cars, Cheap Trick, Neil Sedaka, Neville Brothers, Lesley Gore, Turtles, Joan Baez, Paul Revere & The Raiders, Eurythmics, Joe Cocker, Steve Miller Band, ELO, Willie Nelson, Joan Baez, Sonic Youth.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Playlist for 9/10

Elvis - That's The Way It Is  (6CD)
Louvin Brothers - Complete Recorded Works 52-62
Vern Gosdin - Chiseled In Stone
Shooter Jennings - Don't Wait Up

Monday, September 08, 2014

ICYMI: Looking At 4 Genres & The Rock Hall

Below are 4 links to articles I wrote about what R&B, Blues, Country and Non-Performer acts deserve to be in the Rock Hall.

I'm open to any suggestions of names that I might have missed.

R&B Artists and the Rock Hall

Blues Artists and the Rock Hall

Country Artists and the Rock Hall

Non-Performers & The Rock Hall

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Non-Performers & The Rock Hall

Producers, songwriters, executives, DJ's and whoever else had something to do with Rock history.  Below are some names that the Rock Hall has forgot or will get to eventually.  I've decided again to rate their chances from 1-10.  I'm open for suggestions on names that are missing.

Lew Chudd - Imperial Records founder from  1946-1964, which eventually had Aladdin and Minit Records under its wing.  At Imperial Chudd, along with Dave Bartholomew, signed Fats Domino and Ricky Nelson and other R&B and Pop acts.  Bartholomew was inducted into the Rock Hall in 1991.   7

Rick Rubin - Co-founded Def Jam records, which made its impact with many influential hip-hop artists.  Later started American Recordings.  There he produced Johnny Cash's comeback records.  As a producer beyond hip-hop and Cash, Rubin had amazing success with a bunch of artists.   10

Russell Simmons - Along with Rick Rubin, he co-founded Def Jam Records.  Even more so than Rubin, and probably anyone else, Simmons brought hip-hop into homes beyond urban areas through his clothing line, films, TV shows, etc.  10

Robert John "Mutt" Lange - A songwriter and Producer hit machine, Lange was the one many artists turned too when they wanted hit records.  Def Leppard, AC/DC, Foreigner, Cars, Billy Ocean,  Bryan Adams, etc.  In the late 90's he conquered Country music with his then wife Shania Twain.  9

Phil Ramone - Co-founded A&R Recording studios where as an engineer he helped advance recording techniques.  It was as a Producer on records by Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Barbra Streisand and others that he became famous.   8

Bernie Taupin - Wrote almost every Elton John hit in the 70's.  And then continued writing with him off and on from the 80's forward.  Elton was the biggest male solo act of the 70's and Taupin's lyrics had a lot to do with those songs becoming hits and classics.  9

Brian Eno -  His solo records in the 70's could qualify him as a performer, but it's as a Producer/writer on records by Talking Heads, David Bowie and U2 where Eno's reputation has endured.  10

Giorgio Moroder - One of the greatest Producer's during Disco's heyday.  His work with Donna Summer continues to influence to this day.  Had many movie soundtrack hits as well.   8

Arif Mardin - Quite possibly, the most underrated music Producer/Arranger ever.  Started his career in the Jazz field, but when he started Producing and arranging albums by Aretha Franklin, Bee Gees, Chaka Khan, Rascals and many others, he cemented his place in Pop music history.   7

Burt Bacharach & Hal David - Bacharach wrote the melodies, David the lyrics, and together, until 1970, they wrote and Produced some of the greatest Pop records of the era.  Their songs weren't just covered by other Pop singers, but Rock artists as well.  9

Bert Berns and Jerry Ragovoy - Although they had many hits by themselves and writing with others, together they wrote some of the most dynamic Soul sides of the 60's.  Later covered by many Pop/Rock acts.  8

Thom Bell & Linda Creed - Producer, Songwriter, Arranger.  Bell was a Philly Soul triple threat.  At Philly International, his arrangements of Gamble & Huff's classics helped define the Philly Sound.  On his own, his production and songwriting credits (with Creed) on the Stylistics & Spinners classic 70's albums have proven timeless.  8

Ashford & Simpson -Could be contenders in the Performing category, but their credentials as songwriters is equally strong.  Legendary hits for Chaka Khan, Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell, Diana Ross, Ray Charles. Many oft-covered classics.   8

Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis - One of the most successful R&B songwriters/Producers ever, it was there work with Janet Jackson that made them famous.  Yet, before working with her in 1986, they were already writing hits for other artists.  8

Norman Whitfield & Barrett Strong- As Producer on many of the Temptations late 60's/early 70's hits, Whitfield and co-writer Strong pushed the Motown sound beyond its Pop roots and more towards the sound of the era.  Post-Motown, Whitfield scored Disco/Old School hits with Rose Royce.  7

Willie Mitchell - Took over Hi Records in 1970, and soon his Production and songwriting work with Al Green began crossing over to the Pop charts.  His productions on those Green sides proved to be influential with many other Soul records from that era.   9

Lee "Scratch" Perry - Maybe he didn't invent dub, but he took it farther than any other Reggae producer.  A prolific recording artist, it's his production work on tons of Reggae records that made sealed his reputation as an eccentric genius.  8

Sylvia Robinson - In the 50's she was part of the duo Mickey & Sylvia.  Had a solo hit in 1973.  But it was as co-founder of Sugar Hill Records that her legacy remains.  That label helped popularize Rap music on to the national charts.   7

Rick Hall - A songwriter, Producer but most famous as the owner of FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.  It was there that Hall helped define the Muscle Shoals sound and where artists from Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Percy Sledge recorded some of their biggest hits.  In the early 70's he had Pop hits with the Osmonds and Tom Jones.   8

Jimmy Iovine - Interscope Records founder, but it's his Production work in the late 70's/80's that made him. Patti Smith, Stevie Nicks, Tom Petty, U2, Dire Straits and Bob Seger are just some of the names he worked with.  And he co-founded Beats by Dre, whose ubiquitous headphones could be seen over many a music fans ears.  8

Don Cornelius - Soul Train founder, who helped put the sound of R&B into every home within a TV set.  10

Wolfman Jack - Along with Alan Freed and Casey Kasem, the Wolfman was one of the most famous DJ's in Rock history.  His syndicated shows were all about energy and his big personality.  8

Casey Kasem - Co-founded American Top 40 countdown show in 1970.  The show brought different genres of the Billboard Top 40 together.  Syndicated throughout the world, Kasem, outside of Wolfman Jack, was the most popular DJ in the 70's.  8

George Goldner - Founded numerous record labels in the 50's and 60's. As a Producer and Promoter,  those labels and his knack for finding talent resulted in hits for Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers, Chantels, Dixie Cups, Shangri-Las, Little Anthony & The Imperials.    8

Owen Bradley -  Perhaps Country music's greatest Producer.  Behind the boards on those hits by Patsy Cline, Brenda Lee, Conway Twitty among others.  An architect of the "Nashville Sound" which helped Country music cross over to the Pop charts.   7

Tom Wilson - Produced mid-60's Bob Dylan albums.  Early Simon & Garfunkel, Velvet Underground, Mothers of Invention and others.  Before those he Produced Jazz LP's for Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor and others.   7

Joe Meek - He was more than just "Telstar".  Often said to be the British Phil Spector, Meek was constantly pushing the boundaries of early 60's Production techniques.  6

Bob Crewe - Although most famous for co-writing a bunch of Four Seasons hits in the 60's, he also produced hits for Mitch Ryder, the Toys ("Lover's Concerto"). Add to that co-writing "Lady Marmalade", "Silhouettes" and the Tremeloes' "Silence Is Golden", and Crewe remains an unsung figure in Rock history.

Ralph Gleason - There are no Rock critics in the Hall, unless you count Jann Wenner. Although Lester Bangs is the most famous,  Gleason is often considered the first and most important.  His main love was Jazz, and that's where he wrote most of his pieces. He even co-founded the Monterey Jazz Festival.  In 1967, he and Wenner started Rolling Stone andhe started writing more about Rock music.   6

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

History of Pop

Might as well throw in my 2 cents on Bob Stanley's Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Story of Pop Music From Bill Haley to Beyonce. Clocking in at just under 600 pages, Stanley's definition of Pop music should appeal to those (like me) who applaud the Rock Hall for inducting many genres.  Stanley's definition of Pop music is all genres as long as you are in the "business" of selling it to a mass audience.

Like the title says, you get a history lesson that reads very quickly.  There's reasons to cheer on Stanley, who is also a member of the Brit band Saint Etienne.  A definitive chapter on the Bee Gees that is long overdue in any music book on that great group's place in history.  Also welcome appraisals of Hall & Oates,  the Turtles, a great chapter on pre-Beatles Pop (set in 1960), and other fine essays on Hip Hop and the Monkees.

There are some misses that with books like this all come down to personal taste. So, we disagree about Madonna, New Wave and even Huey Lewis. And there was a part of me hoping he was going to go all out and champion every guilty pleasure legend.  But it didn't happen.  But, if the Huey Lewis mention gives you pause, then you'll get an idea of how much is covered here.  I find the early chapters best, and think it loses steam as it reaches Beyonce, but Stanley gets credit. Not since Chuck Eddy's definitive Accidental Evolution of Rock 'n' Roll, has someone tried to cover so much, while trying to shine a positive critical light on those that rarely get much ink in Pop music history books.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Ramones Poll

Another Poll.  This time on the Ramones.  Top 25 songs and albums.  Top heavy with stuff from the 70's, and near the end some from the 80's forward.  Listening back to some of their stuff today it was obvious their debt to the 60's Phil Spector-era.

1.  Blitzkrieg Bop
2.  I Wanna Be Sedated
3.  Sheena Is A Punk Rocker
4.  Rockaway Beach
5.  Do You Remember Rock 'N' Roll Radio?
6.  Rock 'N' Roll High School
7.  Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment
8.  Baby I Love You
9.  Beat on the Brat
10.  Teenage Lobotomy
11.  Judy Is A Punk
12.  I Just Want To Have Something To Do
13.  KKK Took My Baby Away
14.  Cretin Hop
15.  I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend
16.  Pinhead
17.  53rd & 3rd
18.  Commando
19.  Bonzo Goes To Bitburg
20.  I Wanna Live
21.  Needles & Pins
22.  I Don't Wanna Grow Up
23.  Pet Sematary
24.  Too Tough To Die
25.  Merry Christmas

1.  Ramones
2.  Rocket To Russia
3.  Leave Home
4.  Road To Ruin
5.  Too Tough To Die
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