Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to Honor ABBA, Genesis, The Hollies and Jimmy Cliff, Also Give Shaft to the '80s

Posted By on Tue, Dec 15, 2009 at 2:14 PM

click to enlarge The Class of 2009.
  • The Class of 2009.

To any rock fan with even the slightest shred of cynicism, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a bit of a joke. That being the case, let's make a little fun of it, as the hall today announced their inductees for next year. The class of 2010 is to include The Stooges, ABBA, The Hollies, Jimmy Cliff and Genesis. So get ready to live in a world where Phil Collins--the undisputed heavyweight champion of supermarket pop--is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The timing of this announcement couldn't be more perfect as, just yesterday, I was criticizing the Hall for dragging their feet on the Velvet Underground for four years. Equally egregious as passing over the Velvets for so long is the fact that the Hall denied The Stooges for 15 years before finally coming around and giving them some love. Never at a loss for words, head Stooge Iggy Pop told Rolling Stone:

We've been rejected seven times, and we would have set a record, I think, if it happened again.... It started to feel like Charlie Brown and the football. I had about two hours of a strong emotional reaction after hearing the news. It felt like vindication. Then I kind of scratched my head and thought, "Am I still cool? Or is that over now?"

click to enlarge Iggy looking "cool."
  • Iggy looking "cool."

Iggy then looked down and saw that he was still wearing Crocs, before remembering that he did a song with Sum 41, and again re-evaluated his "cool" as of late. (We'll just leave Jemina Pearl out this entirely.) I suppose, as far as cool points go, Iggy is a made guy, but he's really testing the cool waters these days. I'm hoping against hope that at the induction ceremony he cuts his stomach up with broken wine glasses, smothers peanut butter all over his chest and then walks across the hands of 2,500 industry suits gathered in the Waldorf Astoria ballroom. It's unlikely.

As far as Genesis is concerned, there's a reason why they've gone through 15 years of eligibility without being recognized by the Hall: They're fucking Genesis. Their biggest accomplishment is successfully rivaling the intolerability of '70s prog with barely tolerable '80s pop, before trumping both with the shockingly vapid "I Can't Dance" in the '90s.

click to enlarge But seriously?
  • But seriously?
Truth be told, I actually have a major soft spot for junk-pop Genesis and the entire Phil Collins oeuvre in general. There is no pop artist I involuntarily hear more than Collins. Filling (or should I say Philling) my car up with gas? Phil Collins is singing about one more night in the background. Shopping for groceries? Phil's there singing about another day in paradise. Waiting for a check-up at the doctor's office? I'm tapping my toes to "Against all Odds." Watching some dude drown some other dude and not intervening? I'm hearing "In the Air Tonight." That's right. Phil Collins provides the soundtrack to all of life's most mundane experiences and activities. Dude's also a badass drummer. Still, he's not Hall of Fame material in my book.

click to enlarge Baller.
  • Baller.
The fact that Jimmy Cliff--whose first LP was released in 1968--has managed to go this long without being recognized by the Hall simply proves that, like most music listeners, their cursory understanding of reggae--one of music's most dense genres--doesn't extend beyond Bob Marley. Jimmy Cliff is a many-river-crossin' baller, so I'm hoping that he does like the Sex Pistols and tells the folks over at the Hall to go fuck themselves.

click to enlarge Now THAT is rock 'n' roll.
  • Now THAT is rock 'n' roll.
That brings us to ABBA. I don't know how y'all feel about this one, but I'm definitely on the "fuck yeah!" side of the argument. Every morning I start my day off on the good foot by throwing on ABBA Gold as soon I get out of the shower. I usually end up dancing around my room nakedly singing along to "Why Did It Have to Be Me" while I pick out my attire for the day and dry myself off with the cleanest towel I can find. Hence, ABBA is the reason I'm late to work almost every day. For generations, the persnickety Nordic foursome have brought this kind of unabashed joy to the world. They should be given a Nobel Prize. Think about it--they're Swedish, and I just know they've prevented murders and atrocities somewhere in this cold, hard world. Since there isn't a pop hall of fame to speak of, I guess the rock 'n' roll one will have to do.

click to enlarge Pwned.
  • Pwned.
Oh yeah, there's also The Hollies. They've been putting out records since 1963, so I guess it's about time they get in there as well. Am I the only one noticing that all these artists have been in the zone of Hall eligibility for ages? Artists become eligible 25 years after the release of their first record. It's a bit sad to realize that not a single artist to have a debut record in the 1980s is being inducted this year. While I'm not going to complain about, say, The Red Hot Chili Peppers getting the cold shoulder, it's a bummer that the Hall couldn't come up with anything from the new class of eligible artists.

It seems as though they've resorted to chumming the oceans of rock 'n' roll past to sell plates at the induction ceremony. Since they're doing that, it might be time for them to consider some of the artists they've neglected for years. In my opinion, if it's Genesis' time to shine then it's also time the honor be bestowed upon The Cure, Joy Division, The New York Dolls, Cheap Trick, T. Rex, The Replacements, E.L.O., Devo, The Jam, Big Star, Love, Nick Drake, Roxy Music, Depeche Mode, Tom Waits, Captain Beefheart, Gil Scott-Heron, INXS (debatably), The Faces, Sonic Youth, The Zombies or hell, even KISS as well.

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