Friday, October 8, 2010

The Hall revisited: A Musicule breakdown the 2011 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees (Part 2)

Last week, we took a gander at half of the latest Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees. At first glance, we may want to call that the better half. Before jumping to that conclusion, let's look at the remaining candidates:

Chuck Willis
Layman's history: A layman's never heard of Chuck

Notable songs I own: None

Factoid: The only knowledge I have of Chuck Willis is a factoid...he wrote the Elvis live favorite "C.C. Rider". 

Worthiness (on a scale from 1-10) and why: 1 This is an easy one. I can forgive electing someone to the Hall most people haven't heard of until you look them up, see the bona fides and say, "oh, him!", but with Chuck, when I looked him up, I said, "him?" I know it's easy to dismiss long forgotten acts, but putting Chuck in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame today would be like electing Lou Bega in 20 years.

Tom Waits
Layman's history: A one of a kind singer/songwriter with a distinctive voice that adds a rich color to his songs. Also known as a solid character actor.

Notable songs I own: Downtown Train, The Piano Has Been Drinking

Factoid: A veteran of more than 25 films, including this year's surprisingly good Book of Eli.

Worthiness and why: 5 I struggle with this one. Tom definitely falls into the innovator category...there's no one out there like him, but I'm not sure music needs more than one Tom Waits. One listen of his original version of Downtown Train, and you recognize his genius, but other than longevity and uniqueness, I'm not sure that gets you into the Hall.

Joe Tex
Layman's history: Some give him credit for being one of the early rap pioneers. He talked over some of his songs. If you apply that theory to rap, you might as well give Rex Harrison the "Father of Rap" title.

Notable songs I own: The Love You Save (May Be Your Own)

Factoid: According to that font on knowledge, Wikipedia: Joe had an ongoing feud with James Brown: Joe believed The Godfather of Soul was stealing his stage moves. That's not all he stole...apparently he also dated his wife.

Worthiness and why: 2 He had a great soul voice...I'm skeptical of the "rap pioneer" label. The Love You Save, however is a great song and was a welcome addition to Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof.

Donna Summer
Layman's history: She was the queen of, and face of disco. For some people that's a good thing. Others, not so much. 

Songs I own: 16 of them, including three versions of I Feel Love and a bulk of her hits like Hot Stuff, Bad Girls and Heaven Knows. 

Factoid: She rode the "more cowbell" instrument of the disco era (the police whistle) to success with Bad Girls (click here to never get "toot toot, ahhhh, beep beep" out of your head). 

Worthiness and why: 9 She and the Bee Gees should be the cornerstone representatives in the Hall from the disco era.

Laura Nyro

Layman's history: A singer-songwriter from the 60s/70s, where she wrote a few hits. A bit too Ally McBeal for my taste, which blatantly skews what I'm about to write. 

Songs I own: Nada 

Factoid: Her best selling single was her recording of Carole King and Gerry Goffin's Up on the Roof. 

Worthiness and why: 1 She falls into "I had to look her up" category, and even after I did...a handful of hits that Carole King could have written better doesn't qualify her.

...although I like the Marry Me, Bill song.

Darlene Love

Layman's history: A singer from Phil Spector's stable of voices. 

Songs I own: Nuthin' 

Factoid: She played Danny Glover's wife in all four Lethal Weapon films. 

Worthiness and why: 1 I wouldn't put her in based my answer to the question, "Does she get in if Phil Spector's not around?" 

LL Cool J

Layman's history: One of the few rap acts to have a long and successful career. 

Songs I own: Plenty: The whole Walking with a Panther album (which is one of my favorite record covers):

It's hard to walk when you're squatting
And who can forget this gem (which was the first inkling LL had acting chops):

Factoid: His career was both launched and recovered from I Need Love. Only he could pull that song off. And Kangol hats wouldn't exist without him.

Worthiness and why: 8 LL gets in because he had a long career, he brought rap mainstream without losing street cred (not that I'm one to talk about rap street cred) and had some really memorable songs. Goin' Back to Cali, still holds up:

He even had his answer to Baby Got Back:

J. Geils Band

Layman's history: 70s/80s rock band best known for Centerfold. 

Songs I own: Centerfold, Freeze Frame 

Factoid: They're best known for Centerfold and Freeze Frame. 

Worthiness and why: 1 They're best known for Centerfold and Freeze Frame. Oh, and lead singer Peter Wolf has some of the lamest dance moves of any lead singer I've ever seen. Don't believe me? Check out their Love Stinks video.

Dr. John

Layman's history: Omnipresent singer/songwriter known as much for where he's from (New Orleans" as he his is music (a blend of styles - blues, jazz, rock, Zydeco, etc.) 

Songs I own: None

Factoid: He appeared in one of the most god-awful films ever made: The Bee Gees/Peter Frampton Sgt. Pepper movie:

Worthiness and why: 4 Even though he's got longevity going for him, I wouldn't necessarily put him in. He's like the George Hamilton of music...known for being well known and not much else.

Layman's history: Donovan was one of psychedelia's first stars, bringing to it a blend of jazz, rock, R&B and a solid song sense.

Songs I own: Season of the Witch, Atlantis, Mellow Yellow, Sunshine Superman  

Worthiness and why: 7 I'd put him in based on three things...the aforementioned songs, the cred and tunesmithing he brought to psychedelic rock AND for what Atlantis brought to this scene in Goodfellas:

Oh, maybe one other reason:

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Hail Atlanta!

(but Go Giants!)