Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

I watched some of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony tonight. Bits and pieces, anyway. I have to admit to being a little underwhelmed by the inductees this year. I mean .. come on. Madonna? She’s undoubtedly a pop superstar and has left a wide wake behind her through an influential career. But when you think of Rock ‘N’ Roll, is Madonna the first person who pops into your mind? Iggy Pop and the Stooges performed some of her songs, and they’re not in the Hall of Fame. What’s wrong with this picture?
I have no respect for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It’s a house of mirrors. There are a lot of influential artists who haven’t been inducted. There are a lot of pioneering artists from Rock’s early days who haven’t been inducted. They may never be. So far from what I’ve seen the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame seeks mainly to advertise itself, and they seem to induct the people who will get the most attention. Hence Madonna. They’ve already inducted the Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, etcetera. They’re running out of big names to attract attention to their ceremony. And the Sex Pistols, when nominated, told them to fuck off. So what’re they left with? Madonna.
If it’s going to be a popularity contest, that’s fine. But let’s not put on the black-tie monkey suits and pretend it’s something loftier. Iggy Pop hasn’t been inducted. Rush hasn’t been inducted. I don’t imagine Judas Priest will ever be inducted, even they pretty much defined the genre of Heavy Metal. Jaco Pastorius hasn’t been inducted, even though you’d be hard pressed to find a rock bass player who doesn’t list him as an influence. But Grandmaster Flash is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?
I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was founded by a bunch or record industry insiders. They’ve approached the Hall of Fame just as they’ve approached the industry itself. And it’s all about marketing, marketing, marketing.
Nothing I saw in the performances impressed me much. I mean, I liked Iggy Pop, but he was performing Madonna songs, for Christ’s sake. John Mellencamp was John Mellencamp. Likeable enough, but not someone you get terribly excited about. For me, the only real moment of interest was Joan Jett. Has she sold her soul or what? Christ, she looked exactly like she did twenty years ago. Isn’t she supposed to look like a beat up old rock road whore by now? She was one of the hottest women in the room.
I rarely watch the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Nothing I saw this year made me want to change that. I don’t know. Somehow Rock and Roll doesn’t fit too well in a museum for me. Sure, it’s nice for people to be acknowledged for their accomplishments. But when some artists are inducted and other equally qualified artists are not, with no apparent rhyme or reason to it, it’s obvious that it’s a load of crap. Come on. The Dave Clark Five was inducted, but Rush hasn’t been? Yes hasn’t been? If you’re going to induct Grandmaster Flash and Parliament, why isn’t Stanley Clarke in there? The guy revolutionized bass playing.
The Sex Pistols were right. It’s all piss. It’s urine in wine. I’m not drinking it.

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