Today is the second drop of Record Store Day, and I did not go. Sure, there were a couple of releases that interested me, such as Shaun Cassidy’s 1980 Todd Rundgren-produced foray into power pop and new wave Wasp, a Foo Fighters release under the name of the Dee Gees in which the band covers some disco songs and couple of French-released-on-color-vinyl of Hall & Oates’ Voices and Donna Summer’s Bad Girls.
I decided instead to stay home and play with my grandson who had spent the night with us. I like my decision. As I have stated previously, Record Store Day is just not the same as it was a decade ago when my boys and I would get up early in the hopes of copping a numbered copy colored vinyl reissue of a unreleased Tom Petty EP, or something similar. Now, it’s too commercialized with many of the previously unreleased items getting a full-blown release a couple of weeks later. Record Store Day releases meant these records were special. Now, they are just an early taste of what’s to come.
As I said a while ago, the record companies are attempting to line their pockets and not gear these releases to all of us collectors. Sure, I did go last month because I wanted to get that first-time-on-vinyl copy of an extra disc that Prince included in his 1998 odds and sods boxset called Crystal Ball. That particular album, The Truth, was just released on the first RSD of the year with no intention of further release. Now, that’s the kind of release I am interested in.
Likewise, I picked up two different live Police albums. Those two double albums had been released in the 90s as a two CD set. And since I prefer vinyl over CD, those two albums became my second and third reasons to get up a month ago and stand in the hot sun for an hour before being ushered into the small independently owned record store I prefer to frequent.
But, today, I just wasn’t feeling it. The releases just were not that exciting to make me want to stand in the rain awaiting my turn in the store. Instead, I spent a much more enjoyable Saturday morning hanging out with my old grandson.
The upside to that decision is that I am able to write this blog today after taking our grandson home to his parents and 6-week-old baby brother. So, let’s find out whom I have ranked in the bottom half of my Top 20 snubs.
20. Iron Maiden (“Fear of the Dark,” 1992). If Motörhead’s absence from the RRHOF makes no sense, then what about Iron Maiden? Maiden, Motörhead, Sabbath, Metallica and Judas Priest make up the metal Mt. Rushmore, so Maiden SHOULD be inducted.
19. Judas Priest (“You Got Another Thing Coming,” 1982). And if you put Motörhead and Iron Maiden in the Hall, then Priest HAS got to be inducted with them, or even before. If these guys were inducted then we’d finally live in a world in which Eddie Trunk is not bitching about a lack of metal in the Hall. And, wouldn’t it be worth it?
18. Pixies (“Debaser,” 1989). As one of my favorite late-80s bands, Pixies might seem like a longshot choice. However, once again, this is a Velvet Underground thing. This band’s sound was like ground zero for many of the alternative bands of the 90s, most importantly Nirvana. The whole “loud-quiet-loud” (and its converse) of verse-chorus-verse was a Pixies construct. Nirvana only perfected it.
17. Hüsker Dü (“Makes No Sense at All,” 1985). Looming even larger than Pixies over 90s alternative music was this band. Their abrasive yet melodic pop punk sound directly paved the path for Green Day, The Offspring and so many others. As one of my favorites still not in the Hall, I have pledged to make these guys one of my “Big 3” to write about over the coming years in a very small effort to get them inducted.
16. MC5 (“Looking at You,” 1970). Very few were ready for this band when they burst onto the scene in 1969 Detroit. They arrived shortly after The Stooges, adding to that band’s aggressive stripped-down rock music a set of political firebrand lyrics. These guys not only foreshadowed the whole UK punk scene, but their political ferocity has only been matched by Rage Against the Machine. Sure, they didn’t sell squat, but look at who they begat.
15. The Smiths (“How Soon Is Now,” 1984). By 1984, the sound of college radio was the guitar-based jangle of R.E.M., along with their British counterparts The Smiths. While R.E.M.’s guitar sound was more American and owed much to the sound of The Byrds, The Smiths were less jangle and more swirling, as if the New York Dolls and The Kinks collided while on acid. Oh, what a beautiful sound it was that The Smiths continue to span less talented clones.
14. Johnny Burnette & the Rock & Roll Trio (“Train Kept a Rollin’,” 1956). This group was a huge influence on the whole rock movement of the 60s, and it was far more reaching of an influence for a rockabilly band. Just in case you don’t recognize the song title that I included, go look up and stream the versions of that song by The Yardbirds and, even more definitively, Aerosmith. These guys have been overlooked for far too long now.
13. Willie Nelson (“Always on My Mind,” 1982). Yes, I know that Willie is essentially a country act, but his whole country outlaw image he began in the 70s is just so rock & roll that he appeals to many of us rock aficionados. I bet he’s something on an influence of 75% of today’s rockers. He’s become something of a latter day Johnny Cash in musicians’ eyes.
12. Big Star (“Thirteen,” 1972). First, this low ranking may come as a huge surprise to my fellow Hall Watchers since I am constantly pimping these guys on Twitter. And, while the band is number one in my heart, my head is doing the rankings now. Big Star got some big reviews with their debut album #1 Record. But distribution problems killed that album, as well as their two subsequent releases. Then, in the mid-80s, college rock radio artists like R.E.M. and the Replacements began pimping Big Star in interviews. So, 80s alt rockers like myself got turned onto Big Star, turning the 70s power poppers into THE cult band of the 80s and 90s. For my money, they are every bit as important as The Velvet Underground. By the way, Big Star is the second of my “Big 3” for the RRHOF (the third artist will be introduced next time).
11. Wu-Tang Clan (“C.R.E.A.M.,” 1993). This was more of a corporation than a group or even a coterie. Nine emcees with one visionary man at the center holding the whole thing together. When you have that many egos coming together, then the leader better be strong, and Wu-Tang had it all. I have been shocked each year when the nominee list is released with no Wu on it. Now that LL Cool J is finally being inducted, maybe the Wus will finally get their due.
And, now we are left with the artists whom I feel are most deserving of a RRHOF induction. Until next time, peace and love everybody.