Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Any Way You Want It

A lot of rock fans are, naturally, up in arms about Tupac Shakur being among the inductees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class of 2017, because, after all, rap isn't rock, right?  Well, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame board long ago decided that it is, and that anyone who argues otherwise is making a claim based on racist, elitist grounds (aesthetic grounds?  oh no, can't be that!), so there's little if anything we can do about that.
But Journey?  Yes?  Are you kidding me?  Journey is one of the reasons rock lost much of its audience (and its coolness) to rap in the first place, because the post-industrial sounds of anger and resentment coming from North Philly, the South Bronx, the West Side of Chicago and East Orange, New Jersey (among other places named after compass directions) sounded a whole lot fresher and cooler to kids than the carbon-copy, automatic-pilot corporate rock that bands like Journey put out in the eighties.  And Yes, which started out as a progressive rock band like Family (yes, Family were overlooked again), got too progressive at the expense of rock - Yes's music became so ponderous and pretentious, they ended up being the poster boys for the reason punk had to happen.  A couple of good tracks like "All Good People" and "Owner of a Lonely Heart" aren't enough to hang your hat on.
For the record, Joan Baez has also been inducted (and about time, too, since she's been just as relevant as Bob Dylan in the folk-rock scene and maybe - maybe, I stress - more so than Joni Mitchell), and so have the Electric Light Orchestra and Pearl Jam.  I'll have more to say on all of this when the induction ceremonies are held in April.  (And the Award for Musical Excellence for Chic's Nile Rodgers?  Well, he did produce David Bowie.  I'll have more to say about that in April as well.)
So, the Pac Man notwithstanding, maybe the members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame board are at least finally coming to their senses by inducting more guitar acts, including Joan Baez?  Don't you believe it.  When Britney Spears becomes eligible for induction, she will be inducted.  Ditto for Miley Cyrus.  After all, Madonna was inducted.     
And Jethro Tull still haven't been inducted.  Martin Barre may be the most underrated guitarist in all of British rock, but the Hall's leadership obviously has contempt for any band whose leader - in this case, Ian Anderson - plays the flute.  

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