Wednesday, September 28, 2011

And This Year's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees Should Be...

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September 27, 2011: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced its nominees for the 2012 class. See the DMDB blog entry And This Year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominees Are… for details on who was nominated and who looks to be the best bets to get in. Of course, the new roster of nominees stirs a long-standing frustration over who keeps getting passed over. Heck, this subject served as the first DMDB blog entry, How to Get into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in January 2009.

So who has been unfairly overlooked? If the DMDB was in charge of the 2012 inductees, these would be the five to get in. Note: click on acts’ names to see their entries in the DMDB music makers’ encyclopedia.


In February, I wrote a blog entry entitled Why Kiss Belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I’m actually not a Kiss fan, but my argument is that it is impossible to overlook a band that is the embodiment of rock and roll. The popular criticism is that the band uses elaborate stage shows to mask an absence of substance. They may appeal to the crotch, but not the head. Any self-respecting adult would have long ago purged their collections of any traces of the group. Uh, note to the Rock Hall – apparently you’ve forgotten how much of rock and roll is about music which appeals to young adults because it is all about sex and over-the-top showmanship. By the way, once Kiss gets in, make way for the New York Dolls, Judas Priest, and Iron Maiden. That also opens the door to hair bands. Most worthy of induction are Bon Jovi and Def Leppard.

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Gram Parsons

Earlier this month, I wrote a blog entry about Parsons (Country-rock pioneer Gram Parsons died: September 19, 1973). That offers a brief overview of Parsons’ contributions. To sum it up here, writer Radley Balko argues that “Parsons may be the most influential artist yet to be inducted in either the Rock and Roll or Country Music Hall(s) of Fame”. The man who has been called “The Father of Country Rock” has four DMDB top 1000 albums – his own G.P. and Grievous Angel as well as The Byrds’ Sweetheart of the Rodeo and The Flying Burrito Brothers’ Gilded Palace of Sin. Groups like the Eagles and Poco owe their very existence to the foundation he helped build.

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Rufus over Rush? The Hall has rightly acknowledged many R&B acts who have significantly shaped rock and roll. In its first two years, the Hall inducted Ray Charles, James Brown, Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, and Louis Jordan. However, years after the R&B base has been more than acknowledged, the Hall continues to hail R&B acts (the 2012 nominees include Rufus, The Spinners, War, and Donna Summer) at the expense of acts which have been rock first and foremost. This is glaringly apparent when it comes to progressive rock. The Hall has an obvious bias against it, having only inducted Genesis from the genre. Still failing to receive acknowledgement are Rush; Yes; King Crimson; Jethro Tull; The Moody Blues; and Emerson, Lake & Palmer. All of these acts are worthy, but if I could only pick one, I’d go with Rush as the act who best transcended the genre to appeal to hard rock and heavy metal audiences as well.

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Joy Division

The Cure gets a nod this year and I think they are worthy of Hall induction – but not before Joy Division. These two groups most define the genre of goth rock, but Joy Division got there first. In a previous blog entry, I called them “one of the most important post-punk bands for creating the template for goth music” (Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart charts: June 28, 1980). They only released two studio albums and gained a much wider audience in their re-incarnated-as-New Order form, but in launching goth rock, Joy Division also laid the platform on which much of ‘80s alternative rock – including The Cure – was formed. While we’re focused on groups who laid the foundation for the alt scene, The Smiths and Sonic Youth belong on the short list of acts which should be ushered in right after Joy Division.

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Deep Purple

There’s still plenty of others worthy of Hall attention. I seriously considered giving this fifth spot to an artier, influential band like Kraftwerk, Roxy Music, Big Star, or Captain Beefheart. There’s also a serious case to be made for Stevie Ray Vaughan, that rare artist who moved an entire genre (the blues) forward while paying homage to its roots. However, the biggest and baddest act left deserving of enshrinement is Deep Purple. This would give the 2012 class a real dose of something the Hall has too long neglected – ROCK AND ROLL. What rock fan wouldn’t salivate at the idea that Deep Purple, Kiss, and Rush could all share a stage that night? The idea of a post-jam celebration including “Hush”, “Rock and Roll All Nite”, and “Tom Sawyer” just boggles the mind.

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And This Year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominees Are…

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September 27, 2011: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced its nominees for the 2012 class. They are Beastie Boys, The Cure, Donovan, Eric B. & Rakim, Guns N’ Roses, Heart, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Freddie King, Laura Nyro, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rufus/Chaka Khan, The Small Faces/The Faces, The Spinners, Donna Summer, and War. An act is eligible 25 years after the release of its first album or single. The nominating committee is comprised of 40 critics and music experts. Then ballots are sent to 500 critics who vote to determine at least 5 of the 15 nominees to be inducted. Those will be announced in November.

The 15 nominees have been ranked by Dave’s Music Database (number in parentheses after act). This is based on several criteria, including overall DMDB rating, rankings from (a website which has ranked 500 acts not yet voted into the Hall), and the act’s current induction chances as predicted by Included with each act is commentary from both sites. Click on acts to link to their Rock Hall bios.

Guns N’ Roses (1) 1st nomination; first-year eligibility. NH rank: 15, FRL induction chances: 76%

“Many bands have a broad appeal and it is easy to figure out why. Guns N’ Roses exploded on the scene in the late 80’s and despite their dirty look and harsh Metal sound they became instant International Superstars; despite not subscribing to the traditional formula.” NH As (FRL) says, “See you in Cleveland.” F1

2. Red Hot Chili Peppers (2) 2nd nomination; eligible since 2009, NH rank: 5, FRL induction chances: 64%

“The NIHOF committee couldn’t agree on very much unanimously… [but thought] The Red Hot Chili Peppers was as almost as close to a lock to being a first ballot inductee to the Hall. We were wrong, but we don’t think their wait will be a long one.” NH They “will inevitably be inducted. It’s just a matter of when.” F1

Beastie Boys (3) 3rd nomination (2nd consecutive); eligible since 2007, NH rank: 8, FRL induction chances: 82%.

“It’s mystifying why they haven’t been inducted yet. They have some of the strongest credentials of any eligible artist.” F1 “Eventually as more Rap and Hip Hop artists become eligible for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, we suspect that our future NIHOF lists will be populated with them. Until then, we will have to settle for the few we do have, and our next selection, The Beastie Boys seems like a great place to start in respect to the genre.” NH

The Cure (4). 1st nomination; eligible since 2003. NH rank: 13, FRL induction chances: 57%

“Interesting nomination. Certainly fills a void on recent ballots, but it seems highly unlikely they’ll be inducted this year. Also in line for this ballot slot, The Smiths and Joy Division / New Order.” F1 However, The Cure may personify “the gothic image of a band (who ironically despised that label) better than any other group on this list.” NH

Donna Summer (5). 4th nomination (3rd consecutive); eligible since 1999. NH rank: 61, FRL induction chances: 56%

“We don’t have a problem admitting that at NIHOF we don’t have any issue with (and sometimes quite enjoy) the Disco genre. We aren’t sure what the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame thinks though. The Bee Gees are in, and they are constantly trying to get Chic in, but what of the woman most closely associated with Disco, Donna Summer?” NH FRL says to expect her to “be nominated again next year, because she won’t make it again.” F1

Heart (6). First nomination; eligible since 2001. NH rank: 33, FRL induction chances: 17%

“Seattle will be well represented as the Grunge era becomes Hall of Fame eligible. Until then, we think the Pacific North West has good representative in our top fifty with the Wilson sisters, A.K.A., Heart.” NH “Great to see Heart make the ballot after waiting 10 years. They recently made an appearance at the Rock Hall Museum as part of the ‘Women Who Rock’ exhibit.” F1

The Spinners (7) 1st nomination; eligible since 1986 (first year of inductions). NH Rank: 76, FRL induction chances: 8%

“The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame contains many an artist flying the Motown flag. Motown certainly became a star making label and under their label many legends were born. With that being said meet The Spinners, a band on this list who actually became stars once they left Motown.” NH FRL says “It seems likely that they will be ushered in quickly by the Voting Committee, who has probably been waiting for a chance to vote for them for years.” F1

War (8) 2nd nomination; eligible since 1996. NH rank: 57, FRL induction chances: 30%

“The United States of America has often touted itself as the ‘Melting Pot’ of the world. We will let some other website debate the validity of that statement. For now, we will simply slot the ironically named band, War as the band on our list that we think best serves the Melting Pot analogy.” NH As for getting in, there was “not a lot of traction the last time they were on the ballot. With heavy competition this year, they won’t get in.” F1

The Small Faces/The Faces (9) 1st nomination; eligible since 1991. NH rank: 59/131, FRL induction chances: 33%

The Small Faces may “very well the biggest band in England that barely made a dent in the U.S. Incidentally, this could be the biggest factor that keeps them out of the Hall.” NH As for The Faces, the Hall sometimes has an “urgency to induct [acts] based on the name(s) involved…Previous inductions of the two key members; Ron Wood (The Rolling Stones) and Rod Stewart (for his solo career)…[may create less] urgency to induct them.” NH Still, “Don’t count them out.” F1

Donovan (10). 2nd nomination (2nd consecutive); eligible since 1990. NH rank: 108, FRL induction chances: 11%

“When you have an icon in any field there always seems to be a clamoring for alternate versions of the original. Scotland’s Donovan was called by the some as the British answer to Bob Dylan. This wasn’t a very accurate description as Donovan’s musical vision certainly varied from Dylan; or any one else for that matter.” NH “Not sure there is much momentum behind him, but perhaps he fared well on last year’s ballot.” F1

Eric B. & Rakim (11). 1st nomination; first-year eligibility. NH rank: 77, FRL induction chances: 41%

“Huge in hip-hop circles” F1 and “they may have done more to further the genre of Hip Hop than anyone else on the latter half of the 1980’s.” NH Still, “to get inducted into the Rock Hall, you generally have to transcend your genre.” F1

Rufus with Chaka Khan (12). 1st nomination; eligible since 1999. NH rank: 159, FRL induction chances: 10%

“Chaka Khan’s name has been on the ‘Previously Considered’ list for years, but here she gets the nomination with her ‘70s band Rufus.” F1 “Many a band has become best known for launching a career of a lead singer who had gone on to eclipse that of his/her former group. Rufus is likely best known for introducing the world to the sultry Chaka Khan who managed to have a great career on her own. Having said that, the best way for both parties to get in to the Hall is to remember the work they did together.” NH

Joan Jett & the Blackhearts (13). 1st nomination; eligible since 2005. NH rank: 174, FRL induction chances: 16%

“We are going to play the gender card again on this selection. There are musicians who are ranked lower on this list who may have been more successful and played in much bigger venues, but it is our guess that nobody inspired more women to pick up a guitar than Joan Jett.” NH “Another focus of the ‘Women Who Rock’ exhibit. Many people wanted the Runaways to get in first, but the Rock Hall went with the more popular band.” F1

Freddie King (14). 1st nomination; eligible since 1986 (first year of inductions). NH rank: 355, FRL induction chances: 4%

“This year’s left field nomination. Never count these guys out of the voting.” F1 “Like other successful Blues…Freddie King came from the heart of the Texas and brought the Lone Star sound across the country.” NH

Laura Nyro (15). 3rd nomination (3rd consecutive); eligible since 1992. NH rank: 157, FRL induction chances: 31%

“Laura Nyro must have some strong advocates on the Nominating Committee.” F1 “Singer/Songwriters are often applauded for their lyrics as they should be. Few however, seem to be praised for their vocal skills as well. Laura Nyro was a rare talent who was that dual threat.” NH

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Friday, September 16, 2011

100 years ago: "Alexander's Ragtime Band" hit #1

Alexander’s Ragtime Band

Arthur Collins & Byron Harlan

Writer(s): Irving Berlin (see lyrics here)

First Charted: September 16, 1911

Peak: 110 US, 14 GA, 2 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.5 (sheet music)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 0.03 video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

This has been called the first ragtime song DS and is the best-known song about ragtime, JA-6 but “strictly speaking, it’s a march.” DS Ragtime served as a precursor to jazz at the turn of the century and, in its earliest forms, was the work of black composers. “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” was, like the later compositions which were labeled ragtime, written by a white commercial songwriter simply hopping on a trend. LW

Of course, this was no ordinary composer. This was the first big hit for Irving Berlin, LW who with more than 1500 songs composed through his career, LW would become “America’s songwriter” DS and “one of the great architects of popular music in the 20th century.” LW

He initially wrote the song as an instrumental when he was 23. NPR When it struggled, he wrote lyrics NPR encouraging the celebration of ragtime RCG by referencing “the arrival of African-American musicians on the popular scene with their then-new idea of playing standard songs in a more exciting up-tempo style.” WK

It was submitted to numerous vaudeville houses, but didn’t take off until Emma Carus performed it in Chicago. Then Sophie Tucker, Eddie Miller and Helen Vincent all took up the song. RCG After Al Jolson sang it on Broadway, it became a huge hit NPR getting played not just in theaters, but in restaurants and dance halls, giving it a widespread popuarlity that was practically unheard of in the pre-radio era. RCG Thanks to 65 different performers with their mugs plastered on different covers of the sheet music, it became a million seller JA and “the song that most changed the direction of American popular music.” RCG

Eleven versions of the song charted from 1911 to 1947. The most successful was the first to chart – the duet by Collins & Harlan, who were the most famous of all comedy singing teams. The duo had already racked up six #1 hits and 50 charted songs before this one PM which not only became the biggest hit of 1911, WHC but the biggest of their careers. PM


  • DS Don’t Stay Up Too Late (blog)
  • JA David A. Jasen (2002). A Century of American Popular Music: 2000 Best-Loved and Remembered Songs (1899-1999). Routledge: Taylor & Francis, Inc. Page 6.
  • LW Lewens, Alan (2001). Popular Song – Soundtrack of the Century. Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 24.
  • NPR National Public Radio (1999). “The Most Important American Musical Works of the 20th Century
  • RCG The Old Songs (1900-1929)
  • PM Joel Whitburn (1986). Pop Memories 1890-1954 (1986). Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc. Page 92.
  • WHC Joel Whitburn (1999). A Century of Pop Music. Record Research, Inc.: Menomonee Falls, WI. Page 22.
  • WK Wikipedia

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First posted 9/16/2011; last updated 11/21/2022.