Wednesday, October 14, 2015

For Those About to Rock: Rock n' Roll Hall of Fam 2016, part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of my 3 part series, For Those About to Rock, where we go over the 2016 nominees for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame and predict who gets in and who gets the shaft.  You can read Part 1 here if you need to catch up.  For the rest of you, let’s tackle the next 6 nominees!

The J.B.'s - This nominee is just begging to piss me off. The J.B.'s are a pretty well known group in the world of funk. They started out as James Brown’s band and consisted of the legendary “Bootsy” Collins and his brother “Catfish” Collins, Bobby Byrd, John Starks, Johnny Griggs, Robert McCollough and Darryl Jamison. Most of this configuration of the band peeled off and joined Parliament Funkadelic (HOF class of ‘97).  They had a few hits like “Pass the Peas," “Doing It To Death” and “The Grunt”. The latter included that famous squeal that Public Enemy sampled. They’re an awesome funk band to listen to but I don’t think their material and influence are worthy for the HOF. If the HOF didn’t royally fuck up the “Sideman” category, I’d say go for it, induct them in as sidemen! But as performers? I’m all set. The J.B.’s as Brown’s band didn’t make James Brown, and away from James Brown they didn’t do anything that significant. Once again, three singles isn’t enough.

Chaka Khan - Every time I think about Chaka Khan, my mind conjures up Jon Lovitz screaming her name at the end of his performance in The Wedding Singer. His declaration is warranted though since she is the incomparable “Queen of Funk."  It’s difficult to not induct her. She was the focal point for the funk band Rufus and had hits with “Tell Me Something Good” and “Sweet Thing” before Khan struck out on her own and first hit it HUGE with “I’m Every Woman” and then crushed it in 1984 with her album I Feel For You. She’s won 10 Grammys, sold 70 million records worldwide, seven gold singles, seven gold records, and three platinum albums. She’s an icon. She deserves induction and its difficult to see the HOF refuse her. Plus, inducting a woman only serves to make the HOF look better considering their horrid track record of recognizing female artists (The Runaways, Pat Benatar anyone? ANYONE!?!?!?!?).

Los Lobos - Also known as “that band from La Bamba” Los Lobos took what Ritchie Valens started and expanded it worldwide. They were Grammy winners before world fame found them from the La Bamba soundtrack and pushed a Latino influence into the rock world during the 80s. They fused Tejano with rock, blues and R&B to create a sound and style all their own. Listening to the many styles of music they play on their album How Will The Wolf Survive? leaves no question this is a group filled with master instrumentalists. Los Lobos proved that Latino music can succeed in the world of mainstream rock music. Their presence in the mainstream music world helped keep the door open for the many latin artists that overtook the pop music world in the late 90s. Do they deserve induction? Shouldn’t even be a question. It’s overdue. Will it be this year? We can only hope.

Steve Miller - Guitarist who came up in the psychedelic San Francisco music scene in the late 60s playing psychedelic blues. He hit it big in the 70s with hit songs “The Joker," “Take The Money and Run," “Fly Like an Eagle," “Abracadabra” and “Rock’n Me”. These songs are mainstays on the classic radio dial and really helped define the era of music in the 70s. Some people will have a problem with just Steve Miller being nominated without his band that made up the Steve Miller Band. I originally felt that way until I learned the list of band members throughout the career of the band is way too long. Steve Miller should be inducted. His guitar playing and psychedelic rock that made him successful is easily recognizable. He can easily be listed among the great guitarists in the history of rock music. However, I’m not sure this is his year for induction.

Nine Inch Nails - Second nomination for NIN in as many years as they’ve been eligible. In my opinion they should’ve been inducted last year; I wrote that Trent Reznor helped break industrial rock music into the mainstream and his influence can be heard in industrial bands today. It still remains the key argument for his induction. The Downward Spiral is his key album, in my opinion, and why he didn’t get in last year is beyond me. Maybe voters didn’t think he was first ballot material? If so, they each need to be smacked with a hammer. He gets in this year.

N.W.A. - Last year I also wrote that N.W.A. should be inducted because they redefined hip hop, establishing “gangsta rap” and influencing so many artists for the generations to come, from Snoop to Kendrick Lamar. However, as contrary as this sounds, I’m cringing at the thought of their induction this year. They just had their biopic Straight Outta Compton released earlier this year and its going to be corny, as well as an obvious publicity/marketing/tourism/legitimacy grab if they also get inducted in the same year. Even though I agree with their induction, I know I have to grin and bear it through all the marketing shit that is going to come along with it. I wish they had gotten in last year.

Up Next in Part 3:  The Smiths, The Spinners and Yes. Also, my predictions on who gets in!

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