Monday, September 28, 2009

The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame

We're continuing to receive comments about this year's batch of Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Nominees ... here are just a few of the latest:

When will Bobby Vee be nominated?
His career spans over 40 years and he's still rocking in casinos, State Fair concerts and big and small Venues ... He had the hits and the gold records.
In 1999 we delivered a petition with over 10,000 signatures on it asking for him to be nominated to "The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to the Cleveland headquarters.
There were signatures of some big 60's groups and individual artists as well as a lot of fans ... yet after all these years, STILL no nomination.
What a shame. Such a nice guy, loved by his fans and he takes care of them. Respected by other artists.
Well, that's my story.
I agree with you on this year's nominees, and your daughter's observation of The Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Show the ugly politics of the Hall.
Gary Weber

Keep Rockin' and keep the faith.
We've covered a number of times now the politics involved with who does and doesn't get nominated ... and the fact that SEVERAL petitions with 10,000 signatures have regularly and routinely been ignored by the nominating committee, who CLEARLY seem to have their own agenda and ideas as to who deserves to get in. It really IS a shame that the opinions of the fans don't count at all ... certainly SOME sort of "weighted" balloting could be worked out ... but that isn't what the powers that be want and therefore it doesn't happen. (kk)

>>>By the way, my daughter pointed out that The Red Hot Chili Peppers had THEIR first hit in 1991 ... or 18 years ago. What happened to the 25 Year eligibility rule??? (kk)
The Peppers released their first, eponymous LP in 1984. That makes 'em eligible. Doesn't make 'em worthy. Hey, I like 'em, but . . .
As for the Hollies --- It's about damned time!! They'd better get in.
... Ed44
The Hollies have long been at the top of our "Deserving and Denied" List ... how on earth have these guys continually been overlooked? Maybe The Hall will get it right this time, rather than wait for a couple of members to pass away first ala The Dave Clark Five. (kk)

>>>The nominees for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2010 have been announced; please let me know which 5 you believe will be elected (TJBeatlesFan)
Donna Summer; Kiss; Abba; Hollies; Darlene Love (because if Phil can get in for producing records, then Darlene should be there for being his instrument – under several titles).

Bob Mayben

Regarding the R&RHOF nominees, if you actually make a qualifier for the HOF to have made Rock 'n' Roll Music, about half of the nominees wouldn’t qualify. To me it’s a pretty sad list. Donna Summer isn’t Rock no matter how you cut it, and they should stop putting in all this fringe crap, while ignoring the real thing! If they don’t finally get the Hollies in, they are insane, but that’s kind of a given, considering all the drek they are filling it up with. Let’s all get our Girls and go dancin’ to LL Cool j. Yeah Baby! Shheeshh!

Here are my RRHOF nominee opinions:
Donna Summer -- one of the three dominant disco era acts [Bee Gees, K.C.] many hit records, even rocked out [Hot Stuff] --- YES
Red Hot Chili Peppers -- started in the mid 80s -- hugely popular alternative rock act, much more funk influence than most -- YES
Genesis -- I'm not a fan. Had two long careers, one of so called progressive rock, the other more pop oriented -- YES
Kiss -- I'm not a big fan. Typical 70s era rock band. Beth becomes the first so called power ballad. Have to credit for masks and stage show -- YES
Abba -- some will question whether their music is rock and roll. Hugely successful international pop group with great vocals -- YES
Those would be my top 5 deserving entries
Opinions on others:
Hollies -- I love them. My heart says put them in. In England they were much more popular than here.
Stooges -- I consider myself a well rounded rock and roll fan that's been exposed to many genres of music ... I've heard Iggy Pop solo but am not familiar with any Stooges material. I cannot consider them RRHOF worthy when so few people [I'd say less than 2 percent] have even heard them once.
LL Cool J -- popular 80s rap artist -- I guess he would rank third in the 80s after Grandmaster and Run DMC. Is Salt N Pepa next?
Chantels -- the first popular female vocal group - fit in with the doo wop groups though an early influence of the girl group sound. Short but excellent hit making career.
Laura Nyro -- belongs in the writers wing of the RRHOF
Darlene Love -- made many excellent records in 1962-1963. The voice of the Wall Of Sound. Sang background vocals on all sorts of hit records. Definitely belongs as a contributing artist. As great as her records were, they were unfortunately not all that popular. I think I just talked myself into wanting to elect her.
Jimmy Cliff -- might rank as the #2 most important reggae artist. I guess that's a good case for him.
Mark The Shark
The fact that The Stooges have been nominated something like seven or eight times now shows you that SOMEBODY wants them in ... but the voting committee just can't seem find it in their hearts to rank them in "The Top Five". (Remember, only the Top Five vote-getters actually get inducted.) And keep in mind that that 2% "familiarity factor" didn't keep The Velvet Underground out of The Hall. I cannot help but wonder ... how many times CAN you be nominated anyway??? Shouldn't it be like the OTHER Hall Of Fames ... where, if you're not voted in after the fourth or fifth ballot, you're no longer eligible? This method would also help toward opening up some spots for some of the other artists who DO belong in The Hall. (kk)

Here's my handicapping of the Jann Wenner and Cronies Hall of Fame: LL Cool J will be the rapper chosen (like Run DMC), Laura Nyro the composer who never had a hit on her own (like Leonard Cohen) and the Red Hot Chili Peppers the recent artist (like Madonna). They will toss a bone to the Hollies (like they finally did with the DC 5). Darlene Lovecan't be blackballed by Phil Spector anymore and she's "in" with people like Paul Schaeffer, so she'll make it, too.
-- Ron Smith
I was probably most surprised by The Chantels ... I just wonder how they even came up for consideration with so much focus on the "new kids" all the time. (kk)
The Chantels were nominated before -- in 2002. Clearly there's enough oldies fans on the nominating committee to get them this far. But I have to ask, "Why them? Why not Connie Francis or Neil Sedaka or Neil Diamond or...??" The Stooges have been nominated eight times. Don't be surprised if Jann Wenner finds some way to slip them in -- hopefully not by pulling a "DC5" on the Hollies.
-- Ron
That would be the ultimate upset again ... but it'd be more like Wenner to induct LL Cool J over The Hollies. (kk)

Hi Kent -
So glad to hear The Chantels made the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!!!
In case you didn't know, Arlene Smith (lead singer) and the Chantels were the first popular girl group to make it big and set the standard for other girl groups that followed like The Shirelles, The Ronettes, The Supremes and others ...
They are best know for their ballad "Maybe" that reached a high of #2 in 1958. Its sound influenced producers and musicians. They followed with records that never reached that high status, but made a comeback in 1960 with their hit "Look In My Eyes" (one of my favorites).
Congratulations to a real pioneer group of Rock and Roll!!
For the record, they're not in YET ... simply nominated. The list of artists we published are this year's twelve nominees ... only FIVE will make the final cut for induction. (Personally, from the handicapping we've seen, The Chantels seem to be one of the LEAST-likely artists to get in ... but we have heard some very positive things about them.) In all fairness, PART of this "unfamiliarity" can be blamed on oldies radio ... how many Chantels songs do YOU hear played on the oldies stations anymore? The Chantels had four Top 40 Hits between 1958 and 1961: Maybe (#15, 1958); Every Night I Pray (#32, 1958); Look In My Eyes (#14, 1961) and Well, I Told You (#28, 1961). Of that list, you MIGHT hear "Maybe" once in a blue moon. Taking it to a much grander scale, Connie Francis (who STILL hasn't been inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame) had 41 Top 40 Hits, including 16 Top 10's and THREE #1's!!! Yet when is the last time you heard any Connie Francis music played on the radio? Out of sight, out of mind. You CAN'T tell me that oldies radio can't find a spot for an occassional spin of "Who's Sorry Now", "Stupid Cupid", "Lipstick On My Collar", "Everybody's Somebody's Fool", "My Heart Has A Mind Of Its Own", "Where The Boys Are", "Don't Break The Heart That Loves You" or "My Happiness" once in a while. No, not everyday ... 'cause it doesn't fit today's oldies format ... but once in a while?!?!? 41 Top 40 Hits ... and you MIGHT hear two of them all year long!!! Now that's just wrong! (kk)

About the only thing I can say as to the 2010 Rock Hall nominees: well, at least they recognized Darlene Love. I mean, give me a break. It took them this long to recognize one of the most talented and distinctive vocalists of the 20th Century? I mean she's only been singing on hit records since 1962. Gee, that's ONLY forty-seven years. And, like The Beach Boys, she's from Hawthorne, California, no less. Did you keep her waiting long enough, Jann?
Yea, I'm pleased The Hollies got in, even Jimmy Cliff. I'm amazed the "Queen of Disco" made it past the Jann Wenner Memorial Screening Committee. What? Jann salutes "disco" again? I thought he despised the genre. I thought that was what kept the Bee Gees out for so many years.
Hard to keep out ABBA, ditto, Genesis. The late Laura Nyro represents the annual 'hip factor' -- kinda like Leonard who?? from the Class of '08. I might even stretch and say The Chili Peppers deserve it --- but NOT for another few years, ditto KISS. As to 'early influences,' I'll accept The Chantels -- if they promise to induct The Crickets and The Rock and Roll Trio in 2011. Fair enough?
So, once again, us die-hards wait for Chicago, Jan & Dean, Quincy Jones, Brian Wilson, Paul Revere and The Raiders, and at least another dozen 'stars' that are far more worthy and deserving than "The Stooges" and "LL Cool J."
As far as Pat Boone making it -- the guy that introduced MILLIONS of white kids to 'black music' in the mid and late 1950's, well, Pat -- even though those white bucks are a bit dirty and out of fashion -- we'll continue to remember you! You're still one of my heroes.
Fred Vail
Treasure Isle Recorders, Inc.
"Music City, USA"
Again, as of this writing NONE of these artists have "made it" into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame ... they're just this year's batch of nominees. Eventually FIVE acts will be inducted (after the voting committee has their say.) The five "most deserving" in my mind from this year's list would have to be The Hollies, ABBA, Genesis, Darlene Love and Kiss ... with honorable mention to Donna Summer, Laura Nyro and Jimmy Cliff. That leaves The Chantels, LL Cool J, The Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Stooges in my "What the hell are YOU guys doing here?" category ... but again primarily because of all the other GREAT artists who did FAR more than these artists to advance and promote the rock and roll genre. (Of course my Top Five Most Deserving Artists overall would have to be The Hollies, Neil Diamond, Chicago, The Guess Who and Pat Boone.) kk

Kiss makes sense ... they helped to bring a whole new genre of glam rock to the forefront. As long as Jann Wenner is on the committee, Kiss will NEVER make it into the R&R Hall of Fame! They never got any respect (or any covers of) Rolling Stone!And where are The Monkees??
Mark (Computer DJ 61)
Unless you or I take over The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Nominating Committee, I don't think we'll EVER see The Monkees on the ballot. (kk)

In my opinion, Darlene Love DOES deserve her spot in the RRHOF, as do KISS, The Hollies, ABBA, Genesis, Jimmy Cliff & Donna Summer. I can name 3 of Darlene's solo hits, right off the top of my pointed little head, "Wait 'Til My Bobby Gets Home", "Christmas Baby (Please Come Home)" and "Today I Met The Boy I'm Gonna Marry". She sang lead on "He's A Rebel" that producer Phil Spector credited to The Crystals as well as being a member of Bob B. Soxx & The Blue Jeans, plus her group The Blossoms sang back up on dozens of hits, including Duane Eddy's "(Dance With) The Guitar Man" plus the fact that she's a staple on Letterman's annual Christmas show, so she's still in the public eye at least once a year. On top of all that, she's a wonderful person and an excellent interview (I interviewed her a few years back, and she gave me very honest answers to some probing questions). The Chantels and Laura Nyro deserve their spots as well, but c'mon - LL Cool J, and The Red Hot Chili Peppers going in before artists like Neil Diamond, Quincy Jones, or even Carole Kaye (the only female member of The Wrecking Crew) who played bass on hundreds of hits over the years.
It's like the nominating committee (yeah, I know it's really only one guy who makes these final decisions), picked one from column A (disco), one from column B (British 'art/rock' groups), one from column C (reggae artists), etc.
Sad that so many classic acts are being overlooked and ignored. But I don't want to get Kent started on all that again.
Doug Thompson
Lol ... yeah, I know ... I wouldn't want to put you through the torture of my Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame rave-out again!!! (Lol) I, too, believe that Darlene Love deserves a spot and, as you pointed out above, perhaps it IS as a solo artist since her work involved working with so many different artists. I can see Laura Nyro going in as a SONGWRITER ... but not as a Rock And Roll artist. (Meanwhile FAR too many other prolific rock era songwriters have never even been mentioned!) The fact that The Red Hot Chili Peppers have even been nominated ahead of SO many of the artists on our Deserving And Denied List is exactly what's wrong with the whole Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Process. (The GOOD news is that a few of the artists on our D&D List from a few years ago have since been inducted ... it's just been a very slow process. As I suggested in my final tantrum, the Hall really ought to consider one mass induction of about 40 artists who we ALL know belong there yet continue to be overlooked by the committee ... if only as a way of retaining ANY sense of credibility ... televise the thing on PBS where the audience is there for these older artists ... and make things right. (kk)

... and, speaking of Laura Nyro, it was interesting to receive this email this week ...

Hi Kent.
Well, I'll never listen to "Wedding Bell Blues" the same way again. The song
was written by Laura Nyro, so we asked Alan Merrill if there really was a "Bill."
How would he know?
His aunt was married to her Laura's uncle and Alan would come by after school

and hang out with Laura when she wrote all her early songs. Alan later became
a pop star in Japan and then moved to England where he joined the Arrows and
co- wrote "I Love Rock And Roll." I'll hit you with that story another time, but as for "Wedding Bell Blues,"
Alan told us:
Around 1958 or so my mom (the Jazz singer Helen Merrill) was dating a married man named Bill Carter, a b-film actor. He was married to Trink Wiman, heiress to the John Deere fortune. My mom and Bill co-owned a jazz club named The Night Owl (not the Greenwich Village rock venue) and were having a very passionate and public relationship. The club was quite possibly funded by Ms. Wiman's money. The affair was so serious in fact that Trink had private detectives invade our apartment at 1040 Park Avenue in '59, I was there and remember it. The ensuing newspaper scandal was the reason we left to reside in Europe for many years.
This was big family gossip of course, and Laura listened to it as a child and later wrote about it. My mother could never marry Bill, and didn't. Her timing was bad. Seeing a married man was a big deal in the '50s, but that the wife was such a wealthy heiress upped the ante. The affair ultimately cost Carter his marriage in 1960, with Wiman divorcing him, I guess Carter blamed my mom for his losing his grip on Wiman's fortune, and their relationship soured. He met and married actress Elaine Stewart, that is after breaking up with my mom in Europe sometime around in 1961 while I was in boarding school. My mother seethes at the mention of his name now and refuses to discuss him, although she did confirm the story of the affair (and Laura admitting to her that it was the inspiration for the song) when interviewed in Michele Kort's book about Laura's life. My mom was not amused at Laura's incisive lyric, but in fact Laura was an investigative journalist as an artist and got the story spot-on in the song. A zinger from my mom's perspective, but a big winner in terms of sale for Laura!
Here's the link to the "Wedding Bell Blues" Songfacts:
Be Well,
Carl Wiser
Interesting story ... and not one I had heard in conjunction with this song before. Thanks for sharing, Carl ... FH Readers can check out the whole interview at the links above. Laura Nyro's hit list was QUITE impressive in the late '60's (although again, not as a recording artist herself.) Blood, Sweat and Tears, The Fifth Dimension, Barbra Streisand and Three Dog Night scored HUGE hits with tracks like "And When I Die", "Wedding Bell Blues", "Blowing Away", "Save The Country", "Stoned Soul Picnic", "Sweet Blindness", "Stoney End" and "Eli's Coming" (kk)

Meanwhile, we've still got The Hit Parade Hall Of Fame honoring artists based on their actual chart performance and votes from their fan base. (Gee, what a concept!!!) If you find THIS option appealing (rather than just settling for the opinion of a committee of one), be sure to check out THEIR website:

Click here: Welcome To The Hit Parade Hall Of Fame

... and, speaking of The Hit Parade Hall Of Fame ...

Greetings, Kent,
Hope you're doing well. Have not had enough time these last two months to read each and every article, link, comment, etc., in your wonderful newsletter. However, in going through some old e-mails, I found a link to the current Nominees for the Hit Parade Hall of Fame, which I did click and voted for several. I could not find where it set a limit as to the number of votes you have.
In the process I overlooked "Chicago" as being a 2008 inductee and clicked on yet another link to send in additional nominees. I included Jan and Dean, Chicago, and my late and dear friend, Ray Peterson on that form.
When I realized that Chicago had already been inducted this past year, I looked for a link to John Rook's e-mail address but could not find one. I clicked on his company web site, but still no e-mail -- at least not that I can find. (NOTE: he sure has a great assortment of other 'stuff' on his site there, however. I could spend several hours just 'browsing.' :)
So, if you have John's e-mail addy, please send it along.
Fred Vail
John Rook's website would take DAYS to thoroughly peruse ... SO much information on there, including excerpts from his forthcoming book ... and reminisces about SO much from the early days of rock and roll ... definitely worth the trip. Meanwhile, the best way to reach him ... especially in matters pertaining to The Hit Parade Hall Of Fame ... you can always drop John a line at ... he LOVES hearing from other music fans out there!


Stay tuned tomorrow as we rerun our list of The Top 40 Deserving And Denied Artists Overlooked by The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Nominating Committee! EXCLUSIVELY here on The Forgotten Hits Web Page!