Friday, August 31, 2018

2019 Rock Hall Nominee Predictions

Not my most daring of predictions.  I'm picking many former nominees, with a couple of newly eligibles.  Predicting what the NomCom will do is always tough.  We only get a smattering of info about their yearly get together.  But it's a tradition that we long time Rock Hall watchers love to do.

Also, must throw in this every year.  Surprises.  Always expect some NomCom shockers.

I'm going with the new standard of 19 nominess.

Bad Company - There's still some life left in the Classic Rock genre. Or should I say the Dad Rock genre? Many will say Free was the better band, but it's with Bad Company that Paul Rodgers' voice became an AOR staple.  And with the current voting bloc having expanded in past years with more AOR acts, Rodgers & Co. would make an easy pick for many of his peers  Bonus:  they are Steven Van Zandt approved.

Beck - Newly eligible, and a few years ago I would have said he was going to sail right in.  But now I'm not so sure that he'll get on the ballot first try, let alone go in first time out. Still, if the Hall wants to keep moving into the 90's, then Beck would be a popular choice.

Bjork - Kate Bush was a surprise nominee last year.  But she could end up as one of those one-time nominees that the NomCom soon forgets about (e.g. Los Lobos, Replacements, Eric B. & Rakim). If she does, then look for Bjork or Sinead O'Connor to take her place.

Def Leppard - They could be a likely Fan Vote winner. Which has meant instant induction.  But will they go on the same ballot as Judas Priest?  I have my doubts. Bet the NomCom mulls this one over real good.

Depeche Mode - Nominated the last 2 years, which means they've got some NomCom support.  But will they appear again?  Or could the Cure or the Smiths return?

Eurythmics - A very respectable 7th place fan vote finish for their first nomination last year.  So, a return is probable.  Last year when I predicted they would be inducted, I asked the question, "who doesn't love Annie Lennox?" A fellow Rock Hall watcher mocked my question when making their predictions, but I still say Annie Lennox is a beloved figure for those of us who followed Pop music in the 80's. But the voting bloc is still shunning acts from that decade.

Go-Go's - Before I get to the Go-Go's, let's tackle the Singles Inductee Category. When Steven Van Zandt surprised everyone at the 2018 ceremony by introducing a new Singles Inductee category, it left a lot of questions unanswered. The point of the Singles Inductees was to recognize important songs by acts that Van Zandt feels have been bypassed by the NomCom or voters.  He didn't word it that way, but everyone knew the truth. The years for the 6 singles ranged from 1951-68.  Does this new category mean that this is the end of pre-70's acts getting nominated? So what happens to Link Wray and Procol Harum? Both had singles inducted, and have been on the ballot in the past. So, the 2019 ballot could answer some of our questions.

So, when I thought of Singles being inducted, one of my first thoughts revolved around great Girl Groups from the 50's/60's that are still not in the Hall.  Previous nominees like the Chantels and Marvelettes.  And the Shangri-Las, who have never been nominated.  All 3 have iconic Singles that could be picked. But I want those groups inducted. But let's say the NomCom moves away from that era and steps into the 80's for the Go-Go's.  With a Broadway show in the Summer of '18, they've been in the news a lot more this year.

Janet Jackson - If there was one name everyone thought would be on the 2018 ballot, it was Janet.  Nominated in 2016 and '17, she has to be back this year.  A World Tour and a Billboard Icon award have put her past achievements back in the limelight.  And if her fans show up at the polls, she could be another contender to take the Fan Vote.

Judas Priest - On the ballot for the first time last year, they should be back, unless Def Leppard takes their place.  Or maybe both take show up.  That combination is already perplexing many Rock Hall watchers.

Kraftwerk - Nominated in 2003/'13/'15/'17, so a 2019 berth could happen. It's obvious many on the NomCom want them in.  But voters have been hesitant.

LL Cool J - NomCom member Alan Light is LL's biggest supporter, and an influential voice on the panel.  LL's  a 4 time nominee (also last year).  From the mid-80's to mid-90's,  he was also one of the, if not the biggest, male Rap act. But I've said it a million times, that his TV career has diluted his appeal to some voters.

Nine Inch Nails - Nominated in 2015 and '16, they've been surprisingly absent from the ballot the last two years.  But Reznor & Co. have been out on tour supporting a new album.  I think they're due to return. If not then Rage Against The Machine will be back for a 2nd nomination.

Radiohead - Their first time eligible in 2018 they get a nomination.  And most thought it was a no-brainer induction.  But they don't get in.  And soon the conspiracy theories come out.  They would be on tour induction night 2018.  Thom Yorke doesn't care about the Hall.  Who knows?  But I think the NomCom will forget all that and and go for them again. This is a band they want inducted.

Roxy Music - Not sure I buy the theory that they haven't been nominated yet because in the U.S. they didn't sell enough records.  Maybe not a bunch of Gold albums, but by now everyone knows who they are and what their music sounds like.  And how influential they were.  Still crazy that they've never even been nominated.

Rufus/Chaka Khan - This would be Chaka's 5th nomination (2 solo, 2 w/Rufus).  But I'm beginning to worry that the heavily leaning Rock voting bloc will shut her out the way they did Donna Summer (until the year after she died) & Chic.  They weren't a disco act, but enough could perceive them that way. And we all know the anti-disco bias of most Rock Hall voters is enough to block an induction. But the NomCom wants her in, so expect her to appear a few more times on the ballot.

Soundgarden - I know a lot of people thought Chris Cornell's death last year would finally get them nominated.  But the NomCom doesn't always do what we think.  Which is why I'm picking them this year.

Todd Rundgren - I don't think the NomCom cares that Rundgren is always ranting about the Hall.  But even more so than Roxy Music, it amazes me that he's never been nominated.  His credentials are solid, and many voters will also be surprised that he hasn't been inducted yet.

War - Other 70's/80's R&B groups were more popular, and if the NomCom wants to lean that way then Kool & The Gang (who had 3 members inducted into the Songwriters Hall this year) and the Commodores were be good choices. But up until the last of their 3 nominations in 2015, War had NomCom supporters.  Maybe they still do.  They are an R&B group that also has some Rock fans.  But we know how poorly 70's R&B groups have done with voters.

Zombies -  Speaking of respectable Fan Vote finishes.  How about a 6th place one for the Zombies last year? But questions remain.  Will the NomCom close the door on 50's/60's acts?  Let's see what happens this year.  A 3 time nominee, it will be interesting to see what happens to pre-70's names. Bonus: Steven Van Zandt approved.

Other names to consider:  A Tribe Called Quest, Commodores, Cure, Devo, Jethro Tull, J. Geils Band, Joe Cocker, Kate Bush, Kool & The Gang, Link Wray, Monkees, Pat Benatar, Rage Against The Machine, Shangri-Las,  Sinead O'Connor, Smiths,  Spinners, Warren Zevon

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Sunday, August 26, 2018

Remembering My Sister

One of the earliest memories I have of hearing Pop music came from my sister's room in the mid-60's.  She was barely 10, and I was 5 years younger.  But she either had the radio tuned to an AM Top 40 station, or she was playing a single (and sometimes an album) she had on her turntable.  As the 60's rolled into the early 70's and she became a teenager, her tastes remained with Top 40 Pop.  It was during these years that I heard the Beatles, Elvis Presley, Monkees, lots of Teen Idols, Motown, Philly Soul, Carpenters, Elton John, many One-Hit Wonders. And a whole lot of other things.  As the mid-70's rolled into the late70's there was the Eagles, Michael Jackson's Off the Wall, Disco, more future Classic Rock classics.

Much like my Dad's LP collection of Country and Pop music, my sister's listening habits had a profound mark on my the eclectic taste in music I have today.

My Sister passed away on August 24, 2018.  She was only 59 years old.  There are many things I wanted to thank her for when she was alive.  But never got the chance.  Life is short and fleeting sometimes.  What I've written above may seem trivial if you knew about her hard life.  But it's something.  I hope she reads this with a smile.  And with love from her brother.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Playlist for 8/24

Amanda Shires - To The Sunset
Shemekia Copeland - America's Child
Cody Jinks - Lifers
Kenny Chesney - Songs for the Saints
Jerry Jeff Walker - It's About Time
Beths - Future Me Hates Me
Posies - Frosting On The Beater

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Playlist for 8/18

Charles Lloyd & The Mavels, Lucinda Williams - Vanished Gardens
Boz Scaggs - Out of the Blues
Record Company - All Of This Life
Internet - Hive Mind
Baby Driver - Soundtrack
Dance The Blues:Mojo Magazine 8/18 - Various
Leonard Bernstein:Humor In Music (1959 TV Special)


Friday, August 17, 2018

RIP Aretha Franklin

She was the one and only "Queen of Soul".  A singer who had an incredible influence on all that followed her.  Aretha was gifted with a one of a kind voice.  One of the first Internet polls I ever participated in was in late 1999.  List the 3 greatest singers of the 20th century.  My picks were easy ones (for me):  Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and Aretha Franklin.  No wonder she was the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Aretha was first signed to Columbia in the early 60's.  The voice is there, but the songs, arrangements, production, etc. is missing what would happen when she left. She made some of R&B's greatest songs at Atlantic Records. But if there was one part of Aretha's career that I think has been somewhat underrated, it's what a great album artist she was during her classic era, which for me was from 1967-72, at Atlantic records.

Now is the time for those who haven't heard these albums to explore her catalog beyond the many compilations that are out there:

I Never Loved A Man (1967)
Lady Soul (1968)
Aretha Now (1968)
Soul '69 (1969)
Spirit In The Dark  (1970)
Live at Fillmore West (1971)
Young, Gifted and Black (1972)
Amazing Grace (1972)

Like most 60's R&B singers, Aretha had trouble adjusting to the late 70's disco era.  She put out a string of lackluster albums that only Aretha's most loyal fans remember.  Then suddenly in 1981 she found the right material and Producers,   1982's Jump To It, Produced and mostly written by Luther Vandross was the start of the Aretha comeback.  1985's Who's Zoomin' Who was the bigger breakthrough.  For the rest of the 80's she was presence not just on the R&B charts but the Pop Top 40 as well.  Her last big hit being a duet with George Michael, 1987's "I Knew You Were Waiting".

Oddly enough, once the 80's ended Aretha's studio output became less and less.  1998's Rose Is Still A Rose was pretty good, but she became a concert draw up until 2017.

Regardless, Aretha Franklin was a towering figure not just in the R&B world but the world of music in general.  An incredible vocalist that inspired generations of vocalists.

There are no other contenders.  And there never will be.  She's the "Queen of Soul".

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Elvis Presley Poll (Top 100 Songs)

The latest Poll I voted in just happens to my #1 Rock artist of all time, Elvis Presley.  Rank his Top 50 songs, plus his Top 5 movies.

While the poll only let us include our Top 50, I decided to include a 100 songs.

1.  Jailhouse Rock
2.  That's All Right
3.  Don't Be Cruel
4.  Suspicious Minds
5.  Mystery Train
6.  Hound Dog
7.  Burning Love
8.  Heartbreak Hotel
9.  All Shook Up
10. If I Can Dream
11. Blue Moon
12. Return to Sender
13. Little Sister
14. Love Me
15. Viva Las Vegas
16. Can't Help Falling In Love
17. Blue Moon of Kentucky
18. Trying To Get To You ('68 Special)
19. Baby Let's Play House
20. Big Hunk o' Love
21. Kentucky Rain
22. It's Now Or Never
23. In The Ghetto
24. (You're So Square) Baby I Don't Care
25. (Marie's The Name) His Latest Flame
26. Too Much
27. (You're the) Devil In Disguise
28. Good Rockin' Tonight
29. Blue Suede Shoes
30. (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear
31. Promised Land
32. Long Black Limousine
33. I Feel So Bad
34. Are You Lonesome Tonight
35. Hurt
36. One Night ('68 TV Special)
37. Fame and Fortune
38. Milkcow Blues Boogie
39. How Great Thou Art
40. Moody Blue
41. Love Me Tender
42. Always On My Mind
43. Hard Headed Woman
44. Crying In The Chapel
45. Tomorrow Is A Long Time
46. I, John
47. Trouble/Guitar Man ('68 TV Special)
48. My Baby Left Me
49. Bossa Nova Baby
50. An American Trilogy  (Aloha From Hawaii Live '73)
51.  Pocketful of Rainbows
52.  I Got Stung
53.  She's Not You
54.  I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine
55.  Shake, Rattle & Roll/Flip, Flop & Fly (live 1956 Dorsey Brothers Stage Show)
56.  Paralyzed
57.  True Love Travels On A Gravel Road
58.  I'll Hold You In My Heart
59.  If You Talk In Your Sleep
60.  Way Down
61.  I Washed My Hands In Muddy Water
62.  Don't Cry Daddy
63.  Steamroller Blues
64.  (Now and Then There's) A Fool Such As I
65.  Fool
66.  For The Heart
67.  One Broken Heart For Sale
68.  Follow That Dream
69.  I Need Your Love Tonight
70.  I Want You, I Need You, I Love You
71.  Ain't That Loving You Baby
72.  Girl of My Best Friend
73.  T-R-O-U-B-L-E
74.  U.S. Male
75.  You're A Heartbreaker
76.  Memories
77.  Surrender
78.  Wonder of You
79.  Pledging My Love
80.  G.I. Blues
81.  Separate Ways
82.  I've Lost You
83.  Mess of Blues
84.  That's Someone You Never Forget
85.  I've Got A Thing About You Baby
86.  One Night   (Studio Version)
87.  Loving You
88.  After Loving You
89.  Like A Baby
90.  Trying To Get To You (Studio Version)
91.  I Was The One
92.  Clean Up Your Own Backyard
93.  Young and Beautiful
94.  Crawfish
95.  I Forgot To Remember To Forget
96.  (There'll Be) Peace In The Valley
97.  Don't
98.  Little Less Conversation (Elvis vs. JXL remix 2002)
99.  Patch It Up
100.  My Way (Live '77 Single)

Notes:  There are no Christmas songs listed.  I could have included at least 4,  (Blue Christmas, Santa Claus Is Back In Town, Merry Christmas Baby, If I Get Home On Christmas).

Top 5 Movies:
1. King Creole
2. Viva Las Vegas
3. Jailhouse Rock
4. Loving You
5. Blue Hawaii

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Friday, August 10, 2018

Playlist for 8/10

Lori McKenna - Tree
Jimmy LaFave - Peace Town
Rodney Crowell - Acoustic Classics
Jayhawks - Back Roads and Abandoned Motels
Lera Lynn - Plays Well With Others
Rocky Mountain Way: 2017 Colorado Music Hall of Fame   (AXS TV Special)
Robin Williams:Come Inside My Mind  (Documentary)
Hannah Gadsby:Nanette   (Netflix)

Saturday, August 04, 2018

Playlist for 8/4

Fleetwood Mac - Future Games
Fleetwood Mac - Penguin
Fleetwood Mac - Heroes Are Hard To Find
Mary Margaret O'Hara - Miss America
John Hartford - Down By The River
Robert Ellis & Courtney Hartman - Dear John
Come to the Sunshine: Summershine Vol. 3 - Podcast
Suffers - Everything Here
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