Posts Tagged ‘rock and roll hall of fame

07
Oct
10

And the 2011 inductee is…the Beastie Boys?

I felt compelled to comment on the newly announced inductee’s to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for 2011.  One of the main acts is the Beastie Boys; talented yes, but deserving?  I’m not really sure.

I grew up listening to the Beastie Boys in high school and college; although I must admit that at this point in my life I absolutely dread when I hear “Fight For Your Right”; however, I do remember it as a pivotal song in my early adolescent years that contributed to the legitimacy of Rap as a form of artistic expression.

With that said I still find myself at a crossroads with regard to the recent announcement that the Beastie Boys will be inducted into the 2011 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  First of all, clearly the hall of fame should be “The History of Music Hall of Fame” and not Rock and Roll. Clearly the Beastie Boys are not a rock act, however they may have contributed some influences to the evolution of todays rock music, but only slightly if so.  Actually, if I were to think of a contemporary band that has incorporated both Rap and Rock and would be more deserving of this award I would consider bands like Rage Against the Machine or perhaps 311; clearly these bands have played a larger part in influencing todays Rock/Rap style, no?  Sorry, but the Aerosmith / Run DMC doesn’t count folks, actually that is probably the tipping point for any respect that I had for either of those groups (makes me cringe just thinking back, yuck!).  Yes, Kerry King of Slayer did play guitars on “Fight For Your Right” and “No Sleep Til’ Brooklyn” but I think he has contributed more to Rock than the album Licensed to Ill.

What the Beastie Boys DID do was change the social perception of Rap;  Rap was  no longer restricted or defined to be performed by African-American artists. White kids (and further, Jewish White kids!) could participate as well, and be taken seriously.  Although I’m not sure how much of the African-American community ran out to by anything they have released.  The Beastie  Boys clearly expanded the diversity of that form music as a whole.  Acts like Vanilla Ice, may have inspired some at the time, but as we all know who lived in the 80’s, that reality came crashing down in full form and very little respect was earned in the end. 

When the Beastie Boys originally entered the scene with the realease of Licensed To Ill (1986) I thought they were more of a goof act that was attempting to disassemble the Rap stereotype, intentionally or not.  Clearly after the commercial success of the Licensed To Ill and the release of Pauls Boutique (1989) they were for real, and clearly were intent on making their mark in music business.  Pauls Boutique, although not the strongest follow up album initially,  has become a landmark album for the band and is probably the most popular by hardcore fans if asked today.

Check Your Head (1992) was a much stronger album and in my opinion did much in revitalizing the band after the lukewarm reception that Pauls Boutique initially received.  Subsequent albums have been successful, actually every one going Platinum or multi-Platinum in the US.  Although they have sold millions of albums and touched the lives of many, perhaps inspiring some successful bands today, I still don’t feel that inducting them into the Hall of Fame is still deserving, if it is, ahem, a true “Rock and Roll” hall of fame.  Actually, we know that it isn’t and perhaps my blog entry should be more about bashing the Hall of Fame rather than the Beastie Boys, which is not my intention.

It has been noted that the RR Hall of Fame inductions are kind of a joke; they are not basing their decisions solely on those groups who influenced bands of today, rather on bands that will draw attention (and a crowd at the ceremony) and ultimately increase funding towards its expansion and growth.  There are so many groups from the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s that paved the road for todays music scene and will never be recognized;  the Canadian band Rush (third all  time in album sales under The Beatles and The Rolling Stones!) are not worthy of being inducted this year, but the Beastie Boys are? Huh? It just doesn’t smell right in my opinion.  “Popularity” is what reigns supreme in the induction process and not bands that no longer draw a crowd or are no longer household names.  It’s sad but true, and perhaps the the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has seen its sustainability and longevity in having to take the low road and cater to popular music of today rather than yester year.  Granted they have inducted some old timers, but its often rare.  Oh, don’t forget that LL Cool J is being inducted as well, great.

What are your thoughts about the induction process?

05
Oct
10

Rush – 40 years performing and still loving it!

I know I’m on a bit of a Rush theme in the blog lately, but after the recent announcement by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to (once again) overlook granting praise to these influential guys and the music they have created for 40 years, I felt at the very least, HiFi Central can give them some much deserved “limelight” . 

I came across a recent interview with the band on CNN; it’s an excellent look at why they still play after 40 years; how they see each other, and what their music means personally.  It’s a bit long but well worth the time.  Try not to get snagged by your boss!

Click here to see the interview.

16
Mar
10

Watcher of the TV: 2010 rock & roll Hall of Fame

Normally I eschew award ceremonies (other than the Oscars), but last night I found myself intrigued by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction proceedings, which aired on the Fuse Network (whatever the heck that is).  Being inducted were Genesis, the Stooges, the Hollies, Jimmy Cliff and ABBA, along with some songwriters and music mogul David Geffen.  My initial interest stemmed from one of my favorite bands, Phish, inducting Genesis, another of my all-time favorites (at least during the Peter Gabriel years and early post-Peter years).  The show opened with Phish playing the Genesis classic “Watcher of the Skies,” and it was flawless:

Genesis has had a unique career – with Gabriel, they were a theatrical progressive rock band, known as much for their long, complex compositions as they were for Gabriel’s on-stage costumes and performance art-like expressions.  Following his departure, the band found enormous commercial success with mainstream pop hits year after year, with drummer Phil Collins now captaining the ship.  Phish recognized that era of the band as well, playing “No Reply at All” after singer Trey Anastasio officially inducted the band and Collins, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford and Steve Hackett gave short speeches.  I had heard that Gabriel would not be attending – the official excuse was that he is planning a European tour…but I think it’s safe to say that I’ll never see a complete Genesis reunion show, something that is on my musical “bucket list” (if there is such a thing).

The Stooges had a very profound influence on the punk movement – and they still have that punk attitude and raw power in their music.  Iggy Pop gyrated around the stage, shirtless, in his rubber-limbed style.  And then, quite poignantly, he headed into the crowd during “I Wanna Be Your Dog” – it was a very punk image, seeing Iggy bop around in front of older, stuffy tuxedoed folks who seemed a little uncomfortable but tried to keep smiling.

But the most amazing part of the show revolved around Jimmy Cliff, the Jamaican reggae star.  I was not familiar with much of his music, but I knew he was almost as important as Bob Marley in terms of his bringing reggae music and Jamaican culture to the rest of the world.  As they showed clips of his performances during the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, I began to realize that his brand of reggae was fairly unique – there was a lot more soul and R&B infused into his music, almost like a cross between Motown and reggae.  Cliff’s stage presence was also very entertaining – part James Brown, part Elvis.  I was captivated.  After Wyclef Jean inducted him and Cliff gave a very humble, slow-paced speech, he took the stage…and blew me away.  The first song was “You Can Get it if You Really Want it,” a somewhat straight-forward, high-energy reggae song, but Cliff’s voice was great as he danced around the stage.  He followed that with a slower tune called “Many Rivers to Cross.”  His voice was so amazing, so soulful and passionate – he made Marvin Gaye sound like Tiny Tim. By the end, I’m not ashamed to admit, I was nearly moved to tears.  It really was that good.  Wyclef then joined him on stage for “The Harder They Come,” a fantastic upbeat number.  The crowd gave Cliff a huge ovation, deservedly so.  I immediately purchased “Jimmy Cliff: In Concert” online, and it’s terrific.  I’ve never been a big fan of reggae, but I’m now a huge Jimmy Cliff fan.

Finally, I’m pretty apathetic when it comes to ABBA, so I barely paid attention during their segment on the show (only two of the members attended).  But then keyboardist Benny Anderson went to the piano and Faith Hill sang “The Winner Takes it All”:

It was a fantastic performance – best ABBA ever, for me anyway.
And that’s what I thought of last night’s festivities.  Happy listening.




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