Sunday, October 30, 2011

Songwriter Hall of Fame Thoughts

Yep, I used to really get into the yearly nominees for the Songwriters Hall of Fame.  But as each year went by, and more and more great songwriters got passed over I lost interest.  I give them credit, they at least have recognized some names that the Rock Hall won't induct, like Hall & Oates and Randy Newman.  And they got Thom Bell and Ashford & Simpson in there.
But the fact remains that they are poor when inducting Rock and Roll names from the 60's onward.
Among names not inducted as of this writing, and the list seems to grow every year.  :

Pete Townshend
Neil Young
Cat Stevens
George Harrison
Jimi Hendrix
Sly Stone
Ray Davies
Dion DiMucci
Walter Becker/Donald Fagen
Elvis Costello
Tom Petty
Jeff Lynne
John Mellencamp
Tom T. Hall

The latest nominees for 2012 have been announced and some of the names above are nominated, so who knows if one or two of these will go through.  But my beef with this Hall is mainly with Rock-era names.  Some titanic names are missing (Young, Davies, Townshend),  and it's a stain on the whole Hall.  How on earth does Bon Jovi get in right away, ahead of the names I listed above?  I'm curious on voting demographics.

List on nominees link below:
SHOF Today: News

Friday, October 28, 2011

George Harrison

The Martin Scorsese documentary that HBO aired earlier this month on George Harrison is very good, even though it misses any mention of Cloud Nine and Brainwashed.  In the Doc, the Traveling Wilburys first album (1988) is seen as Harrison's comeback from years of chart exile.  But in fact it was Cloud Nine (1987 and Produced with Jeff Lynne) that brought Harrison back artistically and creatively. Also, while they do mention some of his non-Beatle production work, nothing is ever said of the hits he wrote for Ringo or even Badfinger.
Also his last album, finished by his son and Lynne, Brainwashed (2003) never brought up.  But otherwise, if you're a Beatle fanatic or/are curious about Harrison as the so-called "quiet Beatle" you'll love it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Playlist for 10/26

Note of Hope - various
Joss Stone -  2003-2009
Merle Haggard -  Working in Tennessee
Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams Sr.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Nile Rodgers on Chic's Rock Hall Snub

Chic have been nominated several times to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame but have yet to be inducted. What are your thoughts on that and do you think you'll get in?

Of course. In my opinion, when we were coming up, it was all rock 'n' roll. In other words, rock 'n' roll was the classification of all of this kind of contemporary pop music and you just figure out what type of rock 'n' roll it was. We weren't doing show music, we weren't doing classical music. We weren't even doing jazz. We were doing this pop thing that was under this broad banner of rock 'n' roll.

We're a funk/R&B band, we're a groove band that other people happened to like and gravitate towards. We were being very opportunistic because we saw that in the discos, they would play music by jazz musicians -- all you had to do was have a great groove. These guys figured out how to get in and so that's what we were. We were these jazz fusion instrumentalists who learned how to write songs.

I love Nile's answer on how Chic defined "Rock 'n' Roll".   This is how I and other define it too, throw in Gospel, Country and a whole lot of other styles, but sadly some people who have no business writing about the Rock Hall don't know what the definition of "Rock and Roll" is.

I must also say that we who believe that Chic and Donna Summer are deserving of the Hall have to give credit to the NomCom for continuing to nominate these two.  Although Chic didn't get in on the ballot this year, they will be back.  But getting in?  Could be tough.  So far, the voters have shown an anti-Disco slant in their balloting.  But someday......

Tommy James

The Tommy James book, Me The Mob and the Music, got a lot of press for its depiction of Morris Levy's Gangsta ties, but an overlooked part of it was how much of a machine the whole process of making records, charting them and pressing them was back during AM radio's heyday of the 60's/70's.
As James points out, records moved up and down pretty fast back then, so you had to have followup singles ready.  Lucky for him he did, and he was able to amass a decent amount of Top 40 songs.  But the process chewed up many others.  So, if you've ever wondered why some people were one or two hit wonders from that era, then check out James' book.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pearl Jam Doc

I've had a hit and miss relationship with Pearl Jam.  Never bought Eddie Vedder's tortured ramblings in the band's early days.  But scattered throughout their catalog are some real tender moments that always made me think Vedder wasn't as beaten up as he appeared on stage or in interviews.  The Cameron Crowe documentary, 20 Years, shows that the band is older and content with their place.  Vedder actually shows a sense of humor, that had been creeping in to his persona, in the last decade.
This is a doc that isn't so much about the band's music, as it is about the band's survival.  How you can go from demos to the studio to the cover of Time magazine in a short  while.  Give them credit, they wavered but never faltered.  They've become a touring band, and like REM did before they broke up, they make albums that try to recapture their glorious run.  But the word is content, and the doc shows that there's no need to think that will change.

Eric B. & Rakim

There must of been a whole lotta people besides me that were surprised that Eric B.& Rakim got nominated first year eligible.  It was most likely NomCom member Reginald Dennis who got them on the ballot.  It was he who pushed for Grandmaster Flash's nomination.    If not Dennis, then it had to be Toure.  Dennis was on Dave Marsh's Sirius radio show Oct. 23 talking a whole lot about the duo.
It will be even more of a shock if they get in.  I doubt that most critics getting a ballot know many of their songs. And will fellow Hall voters give them a chance?    Their influence on their genre is high, though.  But is that enough?
The 2013 ballot bring us Public Enemy, who nobody will have to push to get on the ballot,  because they will get there without  help.  But if no Rap act gets in this year, then the backlog of Hip-Hop names could start building, slowly each year.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Neil Sedaka

A recent issue of Goldmine had an article on Neil Sedaka (bundled with one on Fabian) and at the end of it, the subject of the Rock Hall came up:

Sedaka:  "I deserve to be in it, because there are not many who have lasted so long, who have written so many hits, and I don't mean to boast, but I deserve it. I hope in my lifetime."

Good for him, and he's right, he does belong in there.
Sedaka's never been nominated, but I think his time will come.  Why has the Hall made him wait so long?  Could be that age old thinking  among some that the post-Army Elvis and pre-Beatles era wasn't very good for Rock and Roll.  Of course, this is nonsense, but Sedaka's early records all charted during this time frame.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Playlist for 10/19

Bangles - Sweetheart of the Sun
Van Hunt - What Were You Hoping For
Jayhawks -Mockingbird Time
Ry Cooder - Pull Up Some Dust
Daryl Hall - Laughing Down Crying

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Wishing a very Happy 82nd Birthday to my Mom!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Rock Hall Discussions

A quick Rock Hall discussion back and forth.   This time with Dave Whitaker who runs the Dave's Music Database site.  He recently talked about this year's nominees.
We had a little back and forth.    Discussion is good, no matter what side you're on.  The Rock Hall should be happy that people are still interested in talking about their oft-criticized institution.

Under Comments on the 2012........

Friday, October 14, 2011

Predicting the 2012 Rock Hall Inductees

This is who I'm predicting will be inducted, not who I want.
15 nominees and I'll assume they are sticking with their 5 only policy.  But just in case, I'll throw in  3 wildcards.

1.  Donovan  (for some reason, I think he came close last year)

2.  Guns N' Roses  (should be this year's sure shot)

3.  Heart (by now considered a long-running institution from the days of Classic AOR)

4.  Red Hot Chili Peppers  (A new album means high profile.  This may or may not help.  But this is their best chance of induction they might have)

5.  Small Faces/Faces  (Rod's name recognition may be enough, but I wonder if many voters know any other Small Faces song besides "Itchycoo Park")

Wild Cards:

Spinners (Right, I hope I'm wrong about this.  But I'm just not feeling a first ballot induction.  Even the O'Jays were passed over their first time. Again,  I hope I'm wrong)

Donna Summer (The anti-Disco voters have done a good job keeping her and Chic out.  But I'm betting she's picking up votes every year)

Freddie King  ( If a lot of current Hall of Famers who were influenced by him and grew up with his music  (Eric Clapton to name one) turn in a ballot with his name on it, he could sneak in)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Dave Marsh on the Clovers

Dave Marsh also replied to my query on why the Clovers haven't been inducted yet:

"I didn't even realize they had been.
I'll get on it. But I must tell you, there are very few people left alive in
the music world who "get" vocal group harmony of any kind.
Given the state of singing now, that's not going to improve soon, I don't
think. It's really really frustrating."

So, maybe there's hope for them, as well as the Spinners, in the near future.

Newest Rock Hall NomCom Member is....

Well, it's official, Cliff Burnstein is the newest member of the Rock Hall Nominating Committee.  Dave Marsh leaked his name in a followup email he sent me regarding the Spinners:

"Cliff is new to the committee and a fabulous asset because he loves soul as
much as he loves hard rock."

Burnstein is an interesting add.  An ex-manager of Rush on the NomCom might make fans of them think they have an easy path to a nomination.  But I bet, as with all things revolving around the committee, it's not that easy.  At least it wasn't this year, where Burnstein got the Spinners nominated.  Still, we don't know if he did argue to get  Rush in, and couldn't.  

Playlist for 10/12

Tony Bennett/ Bill Evans
Lady Antebellum - Own The Night
Lydia Loveless - Indestructible Machine
Laura Marling - Creature I Don't Know
Trombone Shorty - For True

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


So, did you hear that REM is breaking up?  Take it with a grain of you know what.  Will they be the Smiths and really never get back together?  Or will they be the Eagles and get back when the money dries up.
Let's face it.  REM as a recording act was pretty mediocre in the last few records.
But they could be a touring act for a long time.  They've got the catalog, but once Bill Berry quit the band, their records lost heart.
Frankly, I'm interested in a Michael Stipe solo record.
And my favorite REM song?  So. Central Rain from 1984.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Nevermind at 20

I knew it was something special the minute I saw the video.  Yes, that's right kids, a video.  When I first heard "Smells Like Teen Spirit" it had that immediacy that all big hits have the first time it hits you.  Back then MTV could make a hit and they played it continually.  
Once the single, then the album.  It was getting great reviews.  I bought it from the single.  Hadn't heard anything else.  No internet back then.  You could go to stores and preview stuff, but unless you took your chances you didn't know what you have.
It was an instant classic.  But it was more tuneful than I thought it would be.  Kurt Cobain had that in him.  It showed up on the followup and on the Unplugged segment.  
Nirvana would have had a varied catalog. As is, it's short.  Their the Grunge caretakers.  But Nevermind's Poppy moments made me think they could have shed that moniker at anytime.  

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Glen Campbell

This Glen Campbell album, Ghost on the Canvas, which may or may not be his final one, has had me thinking for a month now.  Would people care about it if it wasn't for Campbell's Alzheimer's announcement?  It's a good album, kept from being great by questionable production decisions (strings, strings, strings).  Campbell sounds good, still plays good and his people picked good songs.
Yet I still wonder if anyone would notice it existed without his illness.  His last album of covers came and went, and got good reviews.  But it sold poorly.
I'm just throwing this out there, that's all.

Friday, October 07, 2011

90's Nostalgia

Can it be? 90's nostalgia is kicking into high gear this fall.  Nirvana's Nevermind getting deluxe treatment.  There's a Pearl Jam documentary out there.  20 years already?
I'm still not convinced that the 90's offered much musically.  And I'm still waiting to read some sort of revisionist article/book that would persuade me to change that opinion.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

The Dells

Somehow, one of the members of the Dells saw my comments about them getting in before the Spinners and took offense.  That's okay.  I love a good Rock and Roll argument.  Basically, all I've ever tried to say is that the Spinners deserved to be in before the Dells, in my opinion.  I just prefer the Spinners more.  I also mentioned that the O'Jays should have gotten in before them as well.
Michael McGill didn't like it, and I say, good for him.  But I'm not really knocking the Dells.  At least I don't think I ever did.  Just thought that the Spinners and the O'Jays were 2 acts that should have got their before.
Anyway, here's his response:

"Based on what?  Hits, Longevity, Vocal Prowess, Body of Work, Versatility
I suggest you go on Youtube, and really listen and learn about
The Dells.  You think you know about The Dells, you know some,
however there's much more that you don't know.  So I've tried to
send you our Biography, but it wouldn't go through ...I'll try again
Let's keep in touch .....incidentally The Dells are also friends, and fans of
The Spinners & O'jays...... Michael McGill
The Original 1956 "Oh What A Night" was at the beginning of Rock n Roll
The hit list was:
1. Elvis Presley   Don't Be Cruel
2. Fats Domino   Blueberry Hill
3. Bill Doggett     Honkey Tonk
4. The Dells        Oh What A Night
The Dells are Rock n Roll"

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Steve Jobs

He saved the music industry.  Certainly saved the single.  Itunes did what the laggards at the biggest Record Companies couldn't do:  bring the music back into the power of the public.  Given easier access to the stuff they heard on the radio, the consumer once again got engaged with music.
Of course, before Itunes came the Ipod, and I always felt that the shuffle option on it, was its greatest invention.  Suddenly, you had your own radio station in your ears.  What was coming next?

Steve Jobs was some kind of genius.  I think of people like him like I do a Jim Henson.  They come along once in a lifetime.  Apple will invent more great things.  But it will be a long time before they find a spokesman, no make that, a face of its brand like Steve Jobs.

Playlist for 10/5

Girls - Father Son Holy Ghost
Wilco - Whiole Love
Lindsey Buckingham - Seeds We  Sow
Listen To Me - Buddy Holly Tribute
St. Vincent - Strange Mercy

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Dave Marsh on the Spinners

 I emailed Dave Marsh and asked him to do all he can to get the Spinners some votes this year.  Marsh has a radio show on Sirius.  And besides, I thought Marsh, who is a fan of 70's R&B, might have had a hand in getting them on this year's ballot.  His response was surprising:

"I'm on the Nominating Committee and of coruse a huge fan. But you know who
put the name up for the ballot? Cliff Burnstein, manager of Metallica and
Red Hot Chili Peppers. Big league music industry guy with bigger ears. "

Now Marsh can be a prickly guy, so I didn't want to press my luck and email him again to ask if Burnstein is on the NomCom or may have been just sitting in this year, or what he was doing there.  But there his name is.  Let the sleuthing begin.  

One interesting tidbit.  Burnstein used to manage Rush before he became Metallica's manager.  And he was an A&R guy on Mercury while Rush were on that label.  He was also featured in that Rush Doc that came out a couple of years ago.  I mean,  if there's an ex-Rush manager on the committee, you would think he could get them nominated.   
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