Sir Isaac Newton stated succinctly in his Third Law of Motion that for every action there is an equal but opposite reaction. Although we have learned that this law works only macroscopically and not at the atomic level, we often see the law being played out in life itself. Which brings me to what is happening right now.
One week ago, with my beautiful bride out of town, I connected with my younger son, grabbed a bite to eat then visited our favorite record store in Muncie, Indiana. To me, since my physical change, visiting a record store is one of the more relaxing activities in which I can engage. I had two outstanding “finds” that day, First, I got a copy of a bootleg R.E.M. concert album from 1984 that was used to play on a radio station. The second was more sentimental, in that I finally found another copy of the first album I ever purchased, that included all the cards that hand not been punched out AND it contained the “money” that was originally included. That album was Alice Cooper’s Billion Dollar Babies. Man, was life good.
Unfortunately, the next day my step-dad called to tell me my very frail 81-year-old mother with dementia had fallen and gotten hurt. Immediately, I knew she had broken her hip, which X-rays proved at the hospital. Now, I am dealing with her being in a rehab center, which I understand is best for her but am worried that she may never get out of there. It is so sad to witness a creative spirit slowly being snuffed out. And when that spirit is your mother, very little is more painful to watch. Since Mom had always recognized and encouraged my writing, I am dedicating the entry to her.
Believe it or not, but my mom was never threatened nor insulted by the music I would bring home, including Frank Zappa’s Sheik Yer Bouti, with such tawdry songs as “Broken Hearts Are for Assholes”, “Jewish Princess” and “Bobby Brown”. The only thing she would say was something like “Are you going to play that music around your kids?” Well, I tried to keep those questionable albums away from them until they turned 13. But, they got into those albums when my wife and I were gone.
So, all of us rock fans awoke last Friday to the news that Bob Dylan had been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, thus becoming the first rock artist to do so. At the time, I did not know how to process this information. I mean, my favorite book of all time was a Nobel Prize winning book, A Confederacy of Dunces. But, Dylan? Sure, his lyrics are light years ahead of the normal rock star. So, I went and read his lyrics without listening to the accompanying music. You know what?!?! Those lyrics mostly hold up as poetry. So, I am fine with the award. I just wonder if the bard himself is, since the committee cannot reach him. My advice to Bob is to take the award and the accompanying accolades and be done with it. Anything else will simply hype the situation up to unmanageable levels.
Now, let’s tackle the other major new release of the week, the nominees for the 2017 Class of Inductee into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The nominating committee must be commended for a fairly well-rounded list. My guess is that only five of these acts will be inducted in April 2017. The nominees are listed below.
- Bad Brains – An all-black punk band that incorporated reggae and jazz into their unique sound. This hardcore band is very deserving of this award, but I feel strongly that other acts should be inducted before them, such as Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, Hüsker Dü, and Fear are all more worthy.
- Joan Baez – Bob Dylan’s sidekick on the folkie scene in the early 60s. Very deserving of this award.
- The Cars – The new wave band is back on the list for the second time, so this may be their year.
- Chic – For crying out loud! Just put this band in now, so we can end the Susan Lucci “jokes”. Is this the 12th consecutive time they have been nominated? Enough all ready!
- Depeche Mode – I love Depeche Mode, but not ahead of The Cure, The Replacements, New Order, Joy Division, The Smiths, among many others for the ’80s college rock slot.
- Electric Light Orchestra – To me and people my age, this band is a no-brainer. To my millennial boys, they would rather listen to Magical Mystery Tour Beatles instead.
- J. Geils Band – My favorite party band of the ’70s and ’80s is very deserving of induction.
- Janet Jackson – The second most successful Jackson should definitely be inducted thi year, since she was left out last year.
- Jane’s Addiction – Okay, so, Depeche Mode was nominated as was Jane’s Addiction. The Led Zep of college rock radio will probably be left on the outside looking in.
- Journey – THE mega-band of my high school years boasts one of the finest singers in all of rock history, although the guys in the comedic classic Baseketball used Steve Perry as a “burn”. Still, there is no denying the longevity of this band’s music, specifically “Don’t Stop Believing” (Thanks Glee!).
- Chaka Khan – The funk and disco diva herself deserves induction, but I am not sure it will be this year.
- Kraftwerk – Here is a band that had very little success in the States, but who casts a HUGE shadow over much of today’s music, let alone how they influenced the music of the ’80s. They are synonymous with the synthesizer sound.
- MC5 – First we got the Stooges in. Then Alice Cooper followed. Now, we are ready for other influential Detroit proto-punk band MC5.
- Pearl Jam – This is their first year of eligibility and they WILL be inducted! My favorite band on this list.
- Tupac Shakur – Another nominee in his first year of eligibility. Since no other hip hop artist was nominated, let’s get ready to induct the late great 2pac!
- Steppenwolf – The band that coined the phrase “heavy metal” has finally been nominated. I don’t really find them Hall-worthy, but director and Rolling Stone magazine founder Jann Wenner might make that decision for all of us.
- Joe Tex – The long time popularity of this soul icon cannot be denied any longer. His omission from the Hall is a crime!
- Yes – Well, the prog rockers have been nominated once again, so this is probably their year for induction.
- The Zombies – If you are a power pop fanatic like I am, you know how important this band is to the genre. Still, I would have preferred my beloved Big Star for this nod, but at least my favorite type of music has been recognized in the wake of Cheap Trick’s induction last year.
Well, I cannot believe there are 19 nominees this year, since the list is usually only 15 acts. Maybe, we will get a big class finally! After the last couple of year’s worth of a lack of performances, maybe by having a larger class, the induction ceremony will be worth watching by more people than by just the hardcore rock fans like us.
My picks for induction are Pearl Jam, Tupac Shakur, Chic, Journey and Janet Jackson. My next five in order are The Cars, MC5, Yes, Kraftwerk and Electric Light Orchestra. Then, I would say Joe Tex, Chaka Khan, Joan Baez, Depeche Mode and J. Geils Band. And to wrap it up, I’d go with The Zombies, Jane’s Addiction, Steppenwolf and Bad Brains.
Who do you think will be inducted? Let me know below.