I see that ABBA, Genesis, The Hollies, Jimmy Cliff and The Stooges are all going to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year. In fact, the induction ceremony is today.
Music is a subjective thing for sure. What I like you might not and vice versa. And certainly the term "rock and roll" has some very, very broad definitions...and even the whole notion of enshrining in a "hall of fame" the people, sounds and movements that are supposed to be anti-establishment is a pretty iffy proposition.
With all that in mind, here are my thoughts on this year's crop of inductees:
- The Stooges - Definitely worthy of the recognition. This little band out of Michigan shocked audiences and inspired so many others worldwide with their sound and the attitude, antics and out of control nature of their singer Iggy Pop. They are a milestone in the development of "rock" music. They, along with fellow Michiganders the MC5 are the "missing link" between 60s style Beatles, Stones, Hendrix, Who, Clapton pop/psychedelic rock and aggressive 70s Ramones, Dolls, Clash, Pistols, Dead Boys punk rock. If you have not already, my recommendation is to check them out. Get their albums Raw Power, Fun House and The Stooges.
- Jimmy Cliff - Another worthy musical performer for the Hall. Cliff was one of the originators of the reggae sound that came up out of Jamaica in the late 60s and early 70s. Perhaps best known for his performance and songs in the movie The Harder They Come, Cliff songs include "You can Get It If You Really Want," "In Limbo," "Many Rivers To Cross," "The Harder They Come," and others. My recommendation: You like Bob Marley but want some more reggae to add to your collection? Get Jimmy Cliff. He's the real deal.
- ABBA - I am not a big ABBA fan. Catchy synth pop love songs are not my thing. But, I do recognize the impact this Swedish group had. For sure, they had huge record sales that make them one of - if not the -biggest selling band ever. And they certainly brought a sound to the airwaves that was not like anything before. I think you can also say that their sound inspired a lot of other performers - for better or worse. For these reasons I think they're worthy of the Hall of Fame. Recommendations: Check into them if they sound like your thing, but don't ask me to listen to more than SOS and maybe Dancing Queen.
- The Hollies - Not too sure why The Hollies are getting into the Hall of Fame. Sure, they named themselves after Buddy Holly and sure founding member Graham Nash went on to be part of hippy band Crosby, Still & Nash, but I don't think they stack up with the greatest of all time. My recommendation: If you want mid-60s British invasion music, you need look no further than the Beatles, Stones, Who, Kinks, Yardbirds and Them. That'll cover it. Those are the best.
- Genesis - Yes, there is a reason I list these guys last. It's because I don't like them. Perhaps at some way early glam/prog/freakout incarnation of the band when Peter Gabriel was their leader and singer this bunch might have been considered avaunt guard and interesting. But, sadly, that early stage is not what these guys are famous or most known for. No...unfortunately, when Gabriel left in the mid-1970s, the world was introduced to one Phil Collins as he took over singing lead. What followed was a series of very safe, middle of the road, not-very-interesting music filler. This is why I say that they are not worthy of an induction into the Hall of Fame. Unlike the The Stooges, ABBA and Jimmy Cliff, these guys really didn't bring anything to the table. You can read more about my feelings on this band by clicking HERE to see my plan for creating a "Genesis-Neutral World." I think you'll find my thoughts on this matter pretty comprehensive. Recommendation: go out of your way to not listen to this band. Not worth it and so much better music is out there for you.