Category Archives: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominees

Well, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees are out, and you-know-who was notoriously left off the list. Again.

I’ve learned never to assume anything when it comes to writing this blog, but I have to think that many fans, but perhaps not all, would have liked seeing them included on the list of nominees. Am I right, or no? On the other hand, Duran Duran (notably Simon and John) have openly said during interviews that it’s a non-issue for them. They don’t care. They see it (the Hall of Fame) as a political vehicle and therefore it’s not worth their time. Whether or not this is truth or a carefully worded reply meant to hide disappointment, I can’t say.

Even so, there are groups of fans out there that try to rally support for their inclusion each year. In the past, we (Daily Duranie) have stayed out of the argument beyond echoing what the band has openly said themselves. It caused a few people, including those petitioning to have the band included, to block and unfriend us. Our official position was simple – if the band didn’t even want it, we felt like we shouldn’t push it. Some didn’t like that, and I can understand and accept their fury. I also need to call out what I see as industry-driven BS, as you’ll read below.

Before I go any further, here’s the list of 19 nominees for 2018:

Bon Jovi

Depeche Mode

Dire Straits

Eurythmics

J. Geils Band

Judas Priest

Kate Bush

Link Wray

LL Cool J

MC5

Moody Blues

Nina Simone

Radiohead

Rage Against the Machine

Rufus feat. Chaka Khan

Sister Rosetta Tharpe

The Cars

The Meters

The Zombies

The very idea that Duran Duran continues to be omitted from the list of nominees each year is gross. We’re not talking about a band that never graced a top ten list, or never did much beyond release a few unknown albums. At one point, Duran Duran was the biggest band in the world. They are video vanguards, lifetime achievers, and continue to influence younger generations of musicians and performers. They didn’t just embody the style of 1980 and beyond…they created and drove it.  They’re still creating, nearly 40 years later.

Yet with each passing year, they’re not even given a mention beyond a couple of tweets from well-meaning fans. Not only is the Hall of Fame dismissing the band and their career, but they are also smugly discounting the thousands of fans who have stood by them for the last four decades. The old men might not get it, but the little girls completely understand, and always have.

Last weekend, I finally sat down and watched the induction ceremony for 2017. Yes, I’m behind. The one thing I saw over and over was how the bands thanked their fans for getting them there. Of course I liked seeing that, and it was touching that when it came down to it for the bands being inducted, their fans mattered. I thought about all of the history I’ve read about Duran Duran.  Disparaging comments about the band’s fan base aren’t hard to find. The critics hated that little girls loved this band. As far as critics were concerned, the reason to hate this band was purely because little girls (who are now grown women) loved them. That one highlighted detail created a situation where Duran’s music was never quite taken seriously. Why would it? Girls liked them, they couldn’t possibly understand what good music is about, and therefore the band were pin-up material. Period.

Amanda and I haven’t just seen this written once or twice in books. It has been discussed in every piece of comprehensive band history we’ve ever read, watched, or heard.

Simon addressed this general topic in an interview done just before they appeared on Jimmy Kimmel in 2015. He commented about the critics and their hatred for them and their fans. He believes much of that comes down to jealousy, and that may very well be true. He also commented that much to the chagrin of the critics—many of whom are not still writing or in the industry—the fans of the band, and the band themselves, are still around today. In many aspects, that alone is the best revenge. But is it enough?

I’m not so sure.

Sexism, my friends, is alive and well in the music industry, whether  the performers themselves, the business-side, or the fans. Look at the list of nominees again. Do you see many bands up there that have a predominantly female fan base? I can see a few that might have a sizable percentage of female fans, but none of them to the extent of Duran’s. None. Why is that?

The very idea that a sizable number of Duran’s fan base are women drives people crazy. Even the band tries to even it out in interviews by mentioning the growing number of men in their live audiences. People try to attribute our (female) presence to be about anything but the music. I’ve seen the very words “What would girls know about music?” in print more times than I can count.

Really?

I have heard similar anecdotes from female fans all over, whether they’re a blogger like me, your average concert-goer, or a radio show host. Sexism is everywhere. If you’re a woman, you couldn’t possibly know anything about the band you admire beyond their looks, and the only reason for being a fan is to fulfill that one-night stand fantasy. You know, the one we’ve all secretly held for nearly 40 years now?  The assertion that we’re all fans because we’re still waiting for our one nighter with Simon, John, Nick and/or Roger is pretty astounding.

(Call me crazy, but the last thing I’d fantasize about is going backstage and getting on my knees for a band member, only to be gracefully guided to the exit doors immediately following. Why on earth would I waste FORTY YEARS on that???)

Seriously, people of this world, THINK. We’re gonna have to try harder. It does not have to be like this. We have to be ready and willing to call the bullshit out when we see it and force change to happen, because it is obviously not going to happen on its own.

Now THAT is an effort I can get behind.

-R

How Important is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Anyway?

How important is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame anyway?

As I read through this year’s list of nominees, this question swirled in my head. Sure, Chic is on the list. Again. For the 11th time, they appear on the list. Then there’s Depeche Mode, Yes, Janet Jackson, The Cars…..Tupac Shakur, Pearl Jam, Chaka Khan, ELO (Electric Light Orchestra), Journey, The Zombies, Bad Brains, J. Geils Band, Joan Baez, Kraftwerk, MC5, Joe Tex, and Steppenwolf.  I think I’ve gotten them all.

It seems like every single year I write something about the Hall of Fame. Quite frankly, I detest it. I dislike it to the point where it really isn’t worth my time—yet here I am, writing about it again.

It seems to me that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is the one accolade everyone loves to hate. The process, in my mind, is absurd. The nominating committee of the RRHOF Foundation gets together and comes up with a list of nominees. The list is publicized, and then some 600-historians and members of the music industry vote upon the all-powerful although in the past few years (since 2012) they’ve bestowed that same glorious right to vote upon the public, so our collective opinion is also taken into account. The top five vote- getters are then inducted.

First of all, the nominees, or at least a reasonable percentage of them—are questionable. I could sit and name names, but the reality is, those that I may find odd are the same bands and artists that someone else probably sees as shoe-ins. So, I’m just going to leave it that I find a lot of the nominees to be questionable, and the inductees typically make me roll my eyes.

Secondly, Chic has been nominated ELEVEN DAMN TIMES. Come on now. That alone tells me something is screwy about the process. Yes, Chic is disco. Yes, Americans (in particular) have forgotten just how much disco-elements we use in our music even today. Even so, eleven times?  Unbelievable.

Thirdly, I’d argue that outside of the US, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame means nothing.  Just yesterday, one of my friends commented that they never hear about the RRHOF, and they live in the UK.  I have no doubt that’s true. Many (including myself) say that the heart of the music industry is here in America, which is probably why the Hall of Fame works here – but the rest of the world doesn’t care. I can’t blame them, because really, is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that important anyway?

I doubt it. Each year when Nile, as the sole surviving member of Chic is nominated, he graciously tweets something about being happy to be on that list, but he also mentions how many times he’s been on it. In my head, it’s becoming a terrible joke. What makes him any less deserving than Green Day—a band that has been around for a fraction of the time—but was inducted in 2015, the very FIRST year they were even eligible?  Absolutely nothing but votes.

Who votes? Who decides? The RRHOF description of their voters is remarkably vague. “some 600 historians and members of the music industry, including those who have previously been inducted.” Then there’s the public, of course. Fans are going to vote for their favorites regardless of whether they’re the most deserving. In the same way I voted umpteen times for Duran Duran to win the MTV EMA this year or “Best World Stage” without watching the other nominees to see if their performance really was the best, fans are going to get out the vote for their favorite, and I can’t blame them. But, that does not equate (in my mind) to being deserving of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Ultimately what the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame comes down to is a glorified popularity contest.  The only people I ever see commenting on its importance are those who make a living commenting on such things (the aforementioned music historians), those who have been inducted, or perhaps fans.  As many Duranies mention, in any interview where the band has been asked, they carefully word their answer about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  The band recognizes that the process is entirely political and not at all indicative of any success the band may have had, their continued relevance, or inspiration they may have given to other bands along the way.  It is difficult for me to argue the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in any other light, because I too, see the nominating process and the joke it has become.

Each year I read the list of names, and while of course, there are several on there that should and deserve to be there, there are just as many that I seriously question. Even bands I adore, like Depeche Mode or The Cars, I really have to wonder about. What makes them any more deserving?

Most awards come down to popularity. I’m well-aware that the MTV EMA’s are also awarded based on vote. Is it any different? In some respects, yes I think it is. The EMA’s are not trying to decide the most important acts of our time based on the previous twenty-five years (or more) of work. They reflect a single year, and in many aspects they reflect a single song and how it was received by the public.

Ultimately, this post isn’t going to convince anyone of anything. It’s simply a conversation starter in the same way that morning talk shows might spark discussion. Speaking of which, in case you haven’t heard, Lori Majewski (author of Mad World and fellow Duranie who once  was the editor of her own fanzine named Too Much Information: the Definitive Duranzine ) along with co-host Nik Carter have their  own brand new music talk show called Feedback on Sirius Channel VOLUME. It airs 7-10 AM EST live in all time zones and then repeats as soon as it ends, and is also available on demand. We wish Lori the very best!

-R

 

Odds and Ends

This is gonna be a catch up blog…and it’s written the night before publishing, which almost never happens…but in this case it is because I won’t have time for blogging in the morning.  Tomorrow is a travel day for this California girl!

As I was packing for the convention, I realized that I was forgetting all sorts of fun little things – like my small but mighty collection of Duran Duran pins!  I have them pinned onto a denim jacket I own, and so that was quickly put in the “to pack” pile.  I’ll probably wear it on Saturday during the day…or Friday night… who knows, I just know I’m taking the jacket. I also own a very precious (to me) Dom Brown guitar pick that I have on a chain, and I decided I’m going to bring that.  This is the ONE time that I can wear any and all of my Duran items and be seen as part of the crowd rather than a throwback to 1985 (well, I can still be seen as a throwback, but I’ll be in fantastic company), so I’m bringing it all.  I encourage you to do the same, and we can admire one another’s great attire and accessories!

Not sure if any of you saw the ballot for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year.  I realize that for many, this is a sore subject because Duran Duran has yet to be recognized (and in truth I doubt that they will ever be on that ballot…) – but it’s still worthy of noting. Here’s the list:

  • Nirvana
  • Hall and Oates
  • Linda Ronstadt
  • Yes
  • The Replacements
  • Paul Butterfield Blues Band
  • Chic
  • Deep Purple
  • Peter Gabriel
  • LL Cool J
  • N.W.A
  • Link Wray
  • the Meters
  • Cat Stevens
  • The Zombies
Approximately 5 to 7 on this list will be inducted…and interestingly enough, fans can vote for their favorite.  However, and this is a big however – any and all fan ballots collectively count as a SINGLE vote.  So for however thousands or millions of us vote – the fine people “in charge” of the hall believe our vote is only worth a single vote to the 500-600 other votes they receive from “industry people”. To be blunt, they can shove it. 
While there are certainly some acts on that list that I feel deserve the mention, there are a few that I really, really question.  I suspect industry politics has far more to do with getting on that list than ones career…but I check it every year out of sheer curiosity.  I can’t help it.  What do you think?
I know this is a short blog, but I have a mountain of packing and laundry…so I must bid you good night and farewell.  My next blog will be from Chicago!
-R

I’m living in a pop trash movie

Sometimes it becomes incredibly crystal clear just how much I miss on a daily basis, and today is certainly one of those days.

About the time when the Rock of Roll Hall of Fame nominees begin to be mentioned each year, I start wondering what it must take, exactly, in order to be on that list.  Now mind you, I don’t think enough about this to actually look into it – it’s just one of those things my mind fleetingly recognizes, and meanders past.  I believe there’s some sort of voting, probably a promotional response to getting nominated…perhaps a little payola on the side (how dare I suggest such a thing!)…well, I think you get the idea.  Invariably though, I will briefly think to myself “What does rock and roll really mean these days though?”  Is there actually a categorical description??  There probably is, and no – I’m really not going to research it and report back.  No time.  The point is, I do wonder about what is really considered rock music, and in that same moment, I’ve wondered about pop music and how it fits into the puzzle.

Well think no more, music fans.  As it turns out – and going back to my opening declaration, I’m not sure how I could have missed this (Maybe there’s a blog back there somewhere that I wrote about this very thing….but I doubt it.), but there is actually a pop music hall of fame. I’m sure you’re as shocked by this as I am.  Even better, guess where this fantastical, magical place is located in all of the planet.  Go ahead, make a guess.  I’m pretty sure you’re gonna be way off…unless of course you’ve been better about following the news than I.

*clears throat*   America’s Pop Music Hall of Fame is located in none other than Canonsburg, Pennsylvania.  More on the America bit later.

I’ve studied quite a bit about American Music History – everything from Tin Pan Alley to Hip Hop.  I wouldn’t say I’m an expert by any means, but I have definitely taken more than my fair share of coursework in the area (thanks to that music minor in college).  I just couldn’t remember Canonsburg being a pop music mecca.  I was so wrong.  Apparently Canonsburg, with it’s population of just 12,000 – had quite a history of producing pop stars.  Six of them, in the 1960’s: Perry Como, Bobby Vinton, and the Four Coins – and collectively these stars had over 200 chart hits. So there it is. Live and learn for another day.

This year,  the top 25 nominees have been announced. Voting is taking place now, and will end on October 31. The induction will be in December. The list includes The Monkees, Dionne Warwick, The BeeGees, Elton John, Chicago, The Carpenters and many more. There are many artists who would have never been included in the RRHOF and yet deserve a marked place – even with all of the politics involved – in music history, so here they go.

Originally, I’d questioned the point of calling it America’s Pop Music Hall of Fame. I mean, pop music isn’t just an American thing by any means.  Elton John, for instance, was not born here in the US.  But, he is the third most successful artist in the history of the American charts.  So I guess that gives him his free pass to being nominated…I mean, third most successful and all.  Can’t overlook that, right?  So the whole point of it being “American” (which I still find a little off putting to the rest of the world) is that in order to be nominated, the artist/band/etc should have been a success on the US charts, and hey – Pennsylvania is located in the US, and dang it, it was their idea anyway.

Given the age range of the nominee list, it would appear that we’ve got a while before we get to the point where pop bands/artists/etc from the decade I love most will begin to be nominated, but I’m curious to see where this will go, and where the dividing line between the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Pop Music Hall of Fame will reside.  In my view, it does tend to blur quite a bit as time goes on…but what do I really know?  I’m just a fan.

-R

Is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame really important?

This weekend I checked the Daily Duranie gmail after a week’s absence.  I found a lot of “junk” mail, a couple emails that needed a response of some sort, and an email containing a link to an article regarding the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and specifically – Duran Duran’s current lack of nomination.

I’ve blogged about this subject before.  In fact, you can read my initial thoughts here.   Since that blog posting, I’ve had the chance to trade emails and posts with folks who are a driving force behind getting the band nominated.  My own personal opinion hasn’t really changed, but I have to recognize and even applaud their efforts.  Working to get the band nominated is just another facet to our fandom, and the last thing I wish is to make light of their energy, enthusiasm, and hard work.

I try to remain as open minded as possible, both in “real” life and within the blog, and as such I’m always interested in reading articles about the band, and you never know when an opinion can be swayed.  As it turns out, the article comes from a blogger for Goldmine magazine, and you can read the blog for yourself right here.   The blog sets lays groundwork as to why the band should eventually be included, and for the most part, I believe that goal was reached although my questions about the necessity remain.

Ultimately, my issues with the Hall of Fame are at least trifold:

1.  (and probably most important)  The band themselves do not care about the Hall of Fame.  They’re not interested!  I realize that’s probably a shock to many readers out there, and some are probably asking “How does SHE know?” right about now.   There was an interview done this past winter (I believe it was in December) on what I think must have been a UK morning TV program.  I am trying to find a link to the interview, and if I find it – I’ll bring it here.   There are two interviews I’m thinking of at the moment – in one of the interviews they were doing a cooking segment for some sort of holiday-ish pudding thing, and on the other, I believe they were being interviewed by someone who was a self-described huge fan for a podcast??  I’m not sure, but if anyone knows of the interviews I’m talking about, please send them my way!  The question was asked during the interview, and Simon answered.  I can’t quote him word for word without the video, but his point was that they’ve never once cared about what the critics thought, and they feel (as do I) that being nominated to the Hall of Fame is very much based on politics in the music industry.  The band hasn’t ever really wanted to be that “legitimate mainstream” band – they like being on the outskirts, in the fringe, so to speak – and in Simon’s thinking, if being nominated is important to the band, that means they would be buying into that line of thinking, which at least Simon, speaking for the rest of the band, does not.  That may be a blow to fans who are working so hard to get them nominated, but I can still understand where the band is coming from on this one.

2.  I still believe the band has more to write in their book of history.  To induct the band at this point would be underselling them, in my opinion.  I still believe that their best days may very well lie ahead, and in my opinion to nominate them now is far too soon.

3.  There are MANY other bands out there who have yet to be nominated that I really do feel have given far more to music history than Duran Duran at this point.  I know I’m not alone in saying that.  I still feel their lasting legacy lies far more with the visual media (videos) than it does with the music at this point.  Their time may eventually get here, but I don’t believe that this is their moment yet.

As I ponder this topic, the big question that comes to mind over and over is whether or not being in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is really that important over the long haul.  Is it going to make a difference in years to come?  Is it worth selling one’s soul over?  Part of me almost has to liken the induction to getting a star on the Walk of Fame.  Many don’t realize that it doesn’t take much to get a Star – just money of course – and these days it’s become almost a “vanity” sort of thing in Hollywood.  It didn’t start out that way of course.  Back in the “golden days”, it was a real honor to be awarded a Star, and not many had one.  Nowadays when you walk down the streets of Hollywood, you’ll see stars awarded to not only radio, TV & film stars, but even animal “actors”, and celebrities that have barely gotten to the legal drinking age, much less done work of enough substance to truly appreciate their celebrity status.  It just seems to have lost it’s magical meaning from overuse.  Of course, the R&R Hall of Fame may be different since it takes more than just money to get nominated, but the fact remains that in the end after all is said and done, it’s just another shiny plaque to hang on someone’s wall.

-R

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Every year about this time I see a post on more than one DD message board, and it goes a little something like this “I cannot BELIEVE  ____________  was nominated before DD!!  How can that be??”  Almost every year, I resist from posting a response, primarily because there are several others that have already posted exactly what I’m thinking – which is generally “So what?!?”

I know that probably sounds crass coming from a fan.  It might even seem a little blasphemous to some.  The fact is, and I know there are many out there who are with me on this – why on earth should Duran Duran be IN the Hall of Fame?

Are they a great band?  Well, in MY opinion, yes…but in the opinion of most Americans, and definitely in the minds of most of the people  who nominate, probably not so much.  The fact is, Duran Duran is an 80’s band who only had wide appeal for a very short time, musically speaking.  That doesn’t detract from what we as fans see, and it’s not meant.  Bands like Bon Jovi, (nominated this year), or U2 – as much as I hate to admit it in the case of the latter – they’ve had enormous mass appeal for a very long time.  U2 can still fill up stadiums when they tour.  Duran Duran can fill up some of the House of Blues locations.  It’s just the way it is.  Duran Duran have never had immense success with critics, and although as a fan I can give critics the finger and be done with them,   it seems to me that having the critical acclaim is important (to some) to show that yes, this band has actually influenced musical history over a length of time.

Did they have impact on the industry?  Here is where I think there’s a chasm between the fans – they had a HUGE impact on VIDEOS, yes.  Music??  I have to say probably not as much.  Yes, it pains me to say that – but it’s true.  I really believe that many years from now, the music history books will take a paragraph or two to denote Duran Duran’s influence over the way videos were made and marketed to the public.  I think a lot of fans who have been following the band over the years would agree that it’s in videos where they are likely to leave their lasting mark.  They already have, in my book.

Lastly, and probably most importantly for the fans who like me aren’t concerned about Duran Duran being in the Hall of Fame yet, the band isn’t finished.  In some respects, it really seems that a band shouldn’t be nominated into the Hall of Fame until they’re done and they have their whole catalog to be reflected back on.  To nominate them at this point would seem to be a little unfair to the band, because they just aren’t finished.  It would almost be like assuming their best is behind them – and while I know there are many out there that think Rio was the pinnacle, I’m saying (and others like me), be patient.  Let’s sit back and wait this one out a bit because I have a feeling that the band isn’t quite finished.

Sometimes, even in Duranland, patience can be a real virtue.

-R