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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Being literal and doing what is right

News came today that this years inductees into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame are some legendary figures.
Those include Rush,  Heart, Randy Newman,  Public Enemy, Donna Summer and Albert King.
I would venture to say that most of you know of the first 5, but very few know of Albert King.
I am Canadian. I certainly have heard of Rush. Now, I have to say that I have never liked their music, but for a few songs. And I know that there are also lots of other Canadians that feel the same way. And just as many, and likely many more who just love them like they are Led Zeppelin or the Beatles. In any event, I don't deny that they are Rock And Roll legends and certainly deserve to be in the Hall of Fame, and probably did long before this day.

The band Heart are legendary for two reasons. They have many great Rock And Roll songs that became anthems. They lasted as a group for a very long time, most of that at the top of the heap. And, the reason they certainly deserve to be in the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame is simply that they were the first group of women to really play hard Rock And Roll like the boys and make a success out of it. They were pioneers for all that came after them. There is no way they should be excluded from any place that claims to be the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame. Even if they were a group of men they should be in there. They play all out Rock And Roll and they did it better than most.

I have been to the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame. It is a great venue, with tons of artifacts and things you will never see anywhere else. Many of the displays take you a long time to go through if you want to see it all. However, if you pay attention, you will notice that it is not really the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame. Why do I say that?
Simply put, there are many other forms of music that are not even remotely related to Rock And Roll. Two of those are disco and rap. In fact, one of the biggest displays is of rappers, who get more than there fair share of space in the Hall.
I am very literal, so that is something I take issue with. I love disco. And I love Donna Summer. She is the Queen of Disco if you asked me. If they have the Dance Music Hall of Fame, or the Disco Music Hall of Fame, then certainly she should be one of the first inducted. But Rock and Roll? I can't think of one of her songs that has any elements of Rock And Roll. Many forms of music came before Rock And Roll and influenced it and many came after it because they morphed out of Rock and Roll. I would say that Disco and Rap music both were not either of those.
Public Enemy was very influential in the formation of rap and were pioneers. If they have the Rap Music Hall of Fame, then again, they should be one of the first to get in. But Rock And Roll. Nope. 
Now, while Public Enemy and many other rappers, and Donna Summer and some other Disco artists are in the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame, both Todd Rundgren and Neil Sedaka are not. This just isn't right. There are many more as well, but these are two glaring examples. 

Finally, Albert King goes in this year. Albert King was a very influential Blues artist in his time. I don't think anyone who has made a career out of Rock And Roll would dispute that a good portion of what they do is derived and formed from what the blues artists that came long before them did.

So, should there be more Blues artists in the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame? I say yes. Not all of them. But the ones who influenced artists like Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison and those that came after them should. That is the right thing to do.
Just as putting Todd Rundgren and Neil Sedaka, who in addition to being artists themselves, both wrote and produced many of the Rock and Roll hits that got others into the hall.
To me, if you are The Rock And Roll Hall of Fame, that is the right thing to do. Adding rappers and disco artists who just passed away, is pandering and undermines what your brand stands for. It is the wrong thing to do. And it makes me think that the Hall is not as valid because of it.   
If you are going to call it The Rock And Roll Hall of Fame then you have to act like that means something. 


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Daily profile about a specific artist,their life, their work and their impact