I am not the biggest fan of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Halls of Fame are so mainstream and rock music to me has always operated best at a grassroots level. But rock music is a form of art and art is generally housed in a museum. Maybe I'd be more supportive if the Rock Hall didn't seem to have a bias against hard rock. I think its a crime that Kiss, Alice Cooper, Iggy Pop, and Warren Zevon to name but a few have been excluded. However, after watching last nights induction ceremony, I've determined no one has been screwed harder than the Dave Clark Five.
While Black Sabbath and AC/DC were forced to wait much longer for induction than a lot of other bands (R.E.M. for instance), they eventually got in the first time they had enough votes. The same can not be said for the Dave Clark 5. The DC5 actually had enough votes to get in last year when Jann Wenner, head of Rolling Stone and the Rock Hall, put the kibosh on their induction in favor of Grandmaster Flash. Seems Jann, who is one of those dudes who discovers that he's gay when he's 50, wanted more diversity in the class of 2007. So the DC5 was left out in the cold. Over the past year the DC5 became the Dave Clark 3 as two members of the band including lead singer Mike Smith, died.
While not a fan of hip hop, I don't dispute its influence on music and culture. But thanks to Jann Wenner's iron hand, a more deserving band was kicked to the curb in favor of political correctness. By all means, Grandmaster Flash should have been the one waiting it out, or they could have just slid both acts in and covered the whole thing up.
I still don't understand what Madonna ever did that was "rock" but considering there are so many "non-rock" acts in the hall I don't hold it against her. She gave perhaps the dullest speech I've ever heard last night tho Justin Timberlake's induction speech was solid. The highlight of the Madonna induction was her selection of Iggy and the Stooges to play her tunes. They tore that stage up. Hopefully next year Iggy will finally get inducted. The man is the godfather of punk.
For about a four record run in the late 80's and early 90's I thought John Mellencamp was one of the most exciting artists around. Before Scarecrow I sorta lumped him in with Bryan Adams as generic corporate rock. But with Scarecrow and its follow up Lonesome Jubilee, Mellencamp truly emerged. I think the latter period Mellencamp has reverted back to generic rock but I give him props for the run he had. His speech last night was nerve grating. When you have to talk about yourself as being a rebel then you aren't much of a rebel. For instance if you have to name your band Danger, Danger then I don't think you're very dangerous. If you are Motley Crue and declare yourselves the "bad boys of rock" then you aren't so bad.
Gotta love the Ventures...Walk Don't Run and the theme to Hawaii Five-O are killer tunes. As a fan of early to mid 70's pre disco soul music I was pleased to see Gamble and Huff get the props they deserve. If You Don't Know Me By Now, Backstabbers, Only the Strong Survive, Expressway to Your Heart, and Me and Mrs. Jones are tunes that any songwriter would have sold his soul to write. As producers their sound was just as unique as Phil Spector's (and Gamble and Huff never killed anyone). Gamble and Huff pioneered the Philadelphia sound which joined Motown and Stax as the three jewels in the crown of soul.
Random thoughts on last night's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony: Billy Joel sure is fat and bald....John Fogerty never ages....John Mellencamp's wife is smokin' hot....I could live to be a 1,000 years old and never understand the appeal of Leonard Cohen....For having a bias against hard rock/metal, they sure love to use Led Zep clips as filler in the broadcast of the ceremony...The Dave Clark Five was better than I gave them credit for in fact, their early work was better than the Beatles (but that changed in a hurry).....I think Mellencamp's music became much less interesting when he parted ways with Kenny Arnoff who is one of the great rock drummers. I think the ceremony should always be held in Cleveland (which plays host in 2009).
I'm off to score hookers for the governor....