Sunday, October 12, 2008

The winner and top ten runner ups

"Cock Rock Hall of Fame" and its follow up ("Sexism and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame") resulted in many, many e-mails. The bulk were suggesting which women should be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Eliminating suggestions that will not qualify (the next round has to have recorded by 1983), we counted up the the winner. First, the ten who were after.

1) Cyndia Lauper. We had no idea Cyndia was so popular with so many readers. Her first solo album came out in 1983 (She's So Unusual). As part of the Blue Angel, the Hall could have broken the rules and inducted her earlier (as they did with Smokey Robinson) but she is eligible this time next year. Connie's e-mail noted that her favorite song by Lauper was "True Colors" and wondered if we had any favorites. Most of us say "Time After Time," Kat says the cover of Prince's "When You Were Mine," Mike and Jim say "Money Changes Everything," Elaine says "I Drove All Night" and Betty says "All Through The Night."

2) Linda Ronstadt. We'll highlight Denver's e-mail here, "It is impossible to believe that the Eagles, her backup band, her backup band!, is in the Hall but she's not. Heart Like A Wheel remains one of the finest albums of the 70s and Simple Dreams is right behind it." Linda was only ten votes less than Cyndi. They were the two closest. The rest more or less fall within a few votes of each other.

3) Stevie Nicks. Stacie, "Stand Back! Talk To Me! Edge Of Seventeen! Anyone Falls In Love! Nightbird! Stop Draggin' My Heart Around! Leather and Lace! I Can't Wait! Rooms On Fire! Sleeping Angel! Violet & Blue! Blue Denim! Too Far From Texas! Juliet! How is this woman not in the R&R Hall of Fame!" Good question. If you don't count her hit duet with Kenny Loggins ("Whenever I Call You Friend"), Stevie's been eligible for solo induction for the last two years (the ones inducted last year and the decision process going on right now).

4) Pat Benetar. Molly thanks us for noting Benatar and says, "She really rocked it hard and there wasn't a man or woman into rock back then that didn't know her and didn't rock out to her even if they pretended otherwise. Pat Benatar was the s**t! No one could touch her. She had one hit after another and those albums had gems that were never singles like 'Never Going To Leave You.' I was listening to 45s when she came out with 'Heartbreaker.' I actually had it on 45 and on bubble gum. There was this little booklet that reproduced the album cover and you opened it and there were the lyrics to 'Heartbreaker' and you had a big old wad of gum that looked like a record. She was the album I ever got and I got it on cassette tape. I was 13 and had all of her 45s. But I didn't have any albums at that point. I asked my Dad for the Police because it was my birthday. He went to K-Mart and they didn't have the Police. So he described me to the guy working the music section and he was sent home with Pat's Live On Earth! My mother nearly had a meltdown over 'Hell Is For Children,' but like I pointed out, the title was on the cassette cover and Dad bought it for me anyway. After that I got all of her earlier stuff on cassette and started updating with each new album. I'm on CDs now but between my cassettes and my CDs, I have all of her albums. Ain't no rock in the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame until they let Pat in."

5) Carly Simon. There's not an e-mail we can excerpt here. People wrote lengthy testimonials to Carly (which we agree with) outlining just how amazing she's been as a recording artist and songwriter. We can note Billy's question which was how many years has she been overlooked? The answer is she could have been inducted as early as 1998 -- and earlier if they wanted to use her recording work with sister Lucy Simon. There are a large number of omissions from the Hall but we'd agree this one is really shocking.

6) Joan Jett. "You mean to tell me," wrote Tommy, "that the woman who loved rock and roll can't get into the Hall of Fame? You mean to tell me that the person who carried the torch for rock all this time even while every five years someone's writing 'rock is dead' can't get into the Hall of Fame? Just for that first one-two punch of 'I Love Rock and Roll' and 'Crimson & Clover,' they should have inducted her. She never had to do another damn thing. Joan Jett is, was and will always be rock and roll."

7) Heart. Ann and Nancy Wilson prompted the same kind of essays Carly Simon fans produced. Biggest surprise was how so many wrote in citing their favorite song -- the must hear track -- and there was no clear winner. Heart fans are album listeners. They don't just go for the obvious single, they cite the deep tracks from the album. After praising the sisters' rocking band, they generally made clear their dream Heart album. It's not a 'live' one in front of an audience. It is a live in that it's not heavily mixed and produced in the studio and more raw. Ideally, they just want Ann, Nancy, a drummer and a bassist. They want a raw sound and for it to include some cover songs of sixties hit (two to three seems to be the ideal suggestion) that they've done live but never recorded, one track from a seventies album redone (a non-single track) and six new songs plus a new version of "Little Problems, Little Lies" (from Ann Wilson's solo CD last year, Hope & Glory) that, as Carey notes, "is bass heavy, really heavy on the bass."

8) Laura Nyro. Marty's e-mail stood out the most here, "How can you induct her influences and not her? How can you induct her copycats and not her? How can they forget just how radically she reshaped popular music. There has never been anyone else like her and even her copycats get it wrong. I have a feeling they'll continue to pass over her due to the fact that she won't be able to show up to perform at their big event." (Nyro is deceased.)

9) Dionne Warwick. Tammi set us straight, "How can you induct Ricky Nelson and Bobby Darin and not induct Dionne? That voice. Those songs. The tension. She wasn't escapist fare. Even in her lightest songs, there was always this feeling of loss. As important as Dusty Springfield and a woman who really changed the musical terrain. She's probably the most successful non-Motown crossover artist of the 60s. And every one of her songs is a mini-movie and when the lyrics don't provide the ending, her vocals do."

10) Tina Turner. "OMG," wrote Mark. "Are they waiting for Private Dancer to be eligible?" [Turner's Private Dancer was released in 1984 which would mean if they are she wouldn't be eligible until the fall after next.] "1984 through 1987, the only woman in rock that got any respect and serious play on the AOR [Album Oriented Rock] stations was Tina. I take it a huge insult that she's not in the hall as a solo act because she reminded the whole world how to rock in 1984. We might still be plagued with Scritti Politti and Oingo Boingo were it not for Tina."

All those who e-mailed on an artist who did the first recording in 1984 or later were not included because next year's inductions can go back no further than 1983. For anyone disputing Tina's inclusion, she was rocking solo well before 1983. Along with "Ball of Confusion" (1982) and "Acid Queen" (from the film Tommy), Tina's solo career also includes the Phil Spector produced "River Deep, Mountain High." (Though billed as an Ike & Tina recording, Ike wasn't allowed in the studio for it by Phil.)

And the most requested?


Cher. And that's by over 131 votes. If you were running the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, as Gene noted, she would be in it. What was most interesting about the e-mails on Cher, more so than any other artist, was how she has different fans of specific periods. There are those of who you favor her sixties recordings (and Dave wrote that he is not sure how to forgive us or Kat for not mentioning "Dream Baby"). Of that period, there's a huge element who demand Cher do a folk-rock album immediately. Then there's the crowd that loves the early seventies work including Hobbs who e-mailed that "In case you don't know, Nirvana sometimes performed 'Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves on stage." Then there's what we like to think of as the tabloid crowd who pledge their allegiances to not only "Take Me Home" but also "I Paralyze." Twenty-three people even wrote in attesting that her early eighties Black Rose (punk) period was her best. After the sixties, the clear winner is her eighties work. Lori wrote, "No one did a power ballad like Cher." Then there is the "Believe" crowd. Reading the e-mails, we got the feeling Cher could do a free, three hour concert where she only sang songs she's recorded and some of you would still carp! But that's okay, sooner or later, we all love us some Cher. Let's hope it's sooner than later for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame which could have inducted her years ago. The rule it is has to be 25 years since your first recording. As a solo act and as part of Sonny & Cher, she started hitting the charts in 1965 (and was recording prior to that).
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