Friday, January 19, 2007

Cleveland, HELLO

Now that we finally got a subject going that actually has gotten more posts than some Husker Football articles ("Brandon Jackson, the 5th round of the NFL Draft is about to begin, don't worry, we'll answer the white courtesy phone when it rings..."), it's necessary to dissect this whole Rock and Roll Hall of Fame process. Plus it's fun to find some of those old youtube clips and visit Van Halen's wikipedia page for the first time.

According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's Official website, here's exactly what they set out to do, which is really in line with every other Hall of Fame:
  • " recognize the contributions of those who have had a significant impact on the evolution, development and perpetuation of rock and roll by inducting them into the Hall of Fame...Artists become eligible for induction 25 years after the release of their first record. Criteria include the influence and significance of the artist's contributions to the development and perpetuation of rock and roll. "

In baseball, football and basketball's hall, you can't become eligible until five years following your last game. The idea of 25 years after their first hit makes perfect sense, because these fuckers either die or never retire. Sort of like Michael Jordan, which is why he's not in Basketball Hall yet. In baseball, if you die mid career ala Roberto Clemente, you immediately get on the ballot the next election. Which must have been what Kurt Cobain was thinking.

Here's where the whole process needs to take a page from Cooperstown:

  • "The Foundation's nominating committee, composed of rock and roll historians, selects nominees each year in the Performer category. Ballots are then sent to an international voting body of about 1,000 rock experts. Those performers who receive the highest number of votes, and more than 50 percent of the vote, are inducted."

Baseball's Hall famously (or infamously) requires 75 percent to get in. That seems about right here. It should be an exclusive club, but I was looking at my previous post where I offered my opinion on a bunch of acts who are eligible for the R&R Hall but aren't yet in. Looking back I was a bit too biased. I mean, I put Big Star and Todd Rundgren as locks and now I realize hardly anyone's even heard of Big Star and people know Rundgren mainly for "Bang on the Drum All Day." So the question would be for these 1,000 rock experts as to whether or not they can be non-judgmental when it comes to music. Maybe that's why they put the number at 50 percent, who the hell knows.

The R&R Hall has already taken some ideas from baseball, now offering a wing for non-performers (song writers, journalists, disc jockeys et al, which means that David Fricke will start campaigning anyday now) and now a category for backup musicians so that Donald "Duck" Dunn and Matt "Guitar" Murphy can start practicing their speeches.

So getting back to Big Star. Yeah, I was quick tanointnt them into this little Hall of Fame a bit too soon because they're all over my ipod. That and bands like the Replacements and REM list Big Star as influences. I had no idea that lead singer Alex Chilton had moved to New Orleans, was there whehurricanean Katrina hit, and was actually missing for a week following the devastation. Big Star's more a small cult favorite than anything I guess. In fact, there's literally nothing on them at youtube, save for a Replacements performance of their song actually called "Alex Chilton". But I finally found a clip of Chilton singing "September Gurrls" with Big Star, not an older clip but it's still something. Oh but it gets better. That famous 1960's song "The Letter" by the Box Tops? It was actually SUNG by none other than 16 year old Alex Chilton! OK, now I sound like Casey Kasem, but that tune was #1 for four weeks in 1967. The Box Tops of course never had another big hit, and Chilton would go on to form Big Star and inspire Michael Stipe and Paul Westerberg, among others, to follow suit. Big Star may never get into the Hall of Fame, but maybe some sort of veterans committee should seriously start looking at Alex Chilton:

And here's about the only Big Star clip available from youtube:

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