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god is smiling on you but he's frowning, too
n March of last year, I made a prediction for 2007, concerning this year's inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I predicted it would be the first year that a Rap/HipHop artist would be inducted and that the artist would be Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five.

On January 8th, it was announced that this year's inductees were Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Patti Smith, The Ronettes, Van Halen, and R.E.M.

To be fair, I also made some auxiliary predictions concerning The Sugarhill Gang and Sylvia Robinson riding on the coattails of GF+F5. I also was apparently wrong about their eligiblity; GF+F5 have been eligible AND nominated for the past three years running. However, I have to bask in the glory of calling-out the dissenting opinions of lossfound and welfy, who didn't think rap artists would even be included in the Hall of Fame, and to a certain degree, democritus and thawaltzingfool who didn't think this would be the year. Just a moment or two... oh yes, it feels good.

For me, the question still remains: will any more of rap's first old-school be recognized? The precedent has been set and the flood gates are now officially open. I personally don't think The Sugarhill Gang or Kurtis Blow are worthy, though I still think Robinson should get a non-performing recognition someday as a producer and founder of Sugarhill Records. In addition to being instrumental in giving rap it's first hit ("Rapper's Delight"), her duties in that capacity resulted in writing credits on dozens and dozens of rap's early songs, including "The Message". Maybe Afrikka Bambaataa? The second old-school starts becoming eligible over the next 4-5 years. Technically, my beloved Beastie Boys are already eligible, but I doubt they'll get a nomination until 2011 (the 25th anniversary of Licensed to Ill). Run-DMC are eligible in 2009. LL Cool J in 2011 and Public Enemy in 2013.

The Stooges were snubbed yet again, 13 years and counting. I think this year made like, 5 straight years they've been nominated but not inducted. I can't think of any other artist currently eligible that has had more wide-ranging influence than the Stooges. Certainly more than Patti Smith or The Ronettes. As for next year, there are a couple of first-year shoo-ins on-deck: Madonna and Metallica. Sonic Youth becomes eligible next year, too. They're certainly deserving, but if the Stooges can't manage an induction I don't have much faith Sonic Youth will make it the first go-around.

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I think that given the number of times they've been nominated over the years, their association with Bowie, and Pop's somewhat household-name status as a frontman, in addition to their influence, overstated or not, will insure their inclusion. It's not a matter of if, but when.

As far as overrated, man, have you listened to their first album?

I'll agree with you on MC5, though. I always thought they were vastly overappreciated.

i've heard the first coupla albums but it has admittedly been quite a few years. i never thought they were terrifically punk. maybe you're right, i might feel differently now.

i never cared a whole lot for the sex pistols either except when i thought i was supposed to. but i don't think you and i are divided on this issue.

It wasn't until their last album Raw Power that they started to sound punk, thanks largely to Bowie's tinny production values, but I think Iggy's cool, apatethic nihilism as a vocalist and lyricist on the earlier albums was still very influential... particularly upon the likes of Joey Ramone and Johnny Rotten.

I dunno, I still love Bollocks a lot. Granted, the Pistols weren't fantastic musicians. Neither were the Ramones for that matter, but that wasn't really the point. It was about writing good tunes, being a bad ass, and thumbing your nose at bloated, excessive 7 minute rock songs like "Freebird", "Whipping Post", and "Kashmir".

i am not saying that there aren't a few good tunes on Nevermind the Bollocks, but history lately has not been kind to the Pistols. i think a lot of people now see it as less about being a badass and more about making scads of cash. in essence, they were really not that different from the Backstreet Boys. j. rotten did try to prove his integrity, it seems, with some of the early PiL releases... and then fucked it up by the middle of the 80s.

for me personally, the defining moment of punk was the Dead Kennedys' "We've Got a Bigger Problem Now"... which, ironically, is an arguably bloated, excessive 5-minute song involving a remake of a prior "standard" within the band's catalog.

the Pistols weren't fantastic musicians

I've debated this point with people for nearly twenty years now. I think "The Pistols weren't fantastic musicians" is completely part of the Swindle.

Cook and Matlock had no problems bonding as a rhythm section - I'm going to leave Sid Vicious out of any musical discussion for obvious reasons - but what Steve Jones played on that LP is so well arranged and executed that I don't believe that he was a bad guitarist. The isolation of tracks on the "Bollocks" installment of the "Classic Albums" series, I think, proves this.

So I think you either believe that Steve Jones was a better guitarist than he claims he was, or he was some sort of musical idiot savant, or that it was actually Chris Thomas playing on that album, because I don't believe that the guitar lines on "Bollocks" were the work of somebody who was not a very talented musician.

Paul Cook is no worse a drummer than Ringo Starr, and I always quietly suspected that Glen Matlock might have had far more up his sleeve than he ever chose to reveal as well.

My favorite part of that documentary was when the recording engineer did the real-time mixing of the individual vocal and instrument tracks, too. It was rather eye ear opening. It's not that I don't think they were poor musicians. I think they were very capable and had a knack for writing solid, melodic songs. But so does Social Distortion, but who knows all the names of the members of that band? What made the Sex Pistols unique was their moment in time: the on/off stage antics, the political and musical climate, etc. I think they're very capable musicians, but none of them would be 2nd or 3rd string on my all-star dream band.

I couldn't agree with you more, and I'm not saying you did this because you brought it up in a completely different context, but the number one gripe I hear about the Pistols were that they were (a) dud musicians or (b) wrote pointless lyrics, and an informed listen to Bollocks will blow both of those right out of the water.

As you say, the main objection to them would be in terms of the message and the climate, but that's not what you hear them attacked for, it's the things I was talking about, and I find that odd.

Another thing I was getting at was I would see interviews with Steve Jones where he comes over all "I couldn't play guitar or nuthin' when we recorded that LP" - utter fiction, I've been playing guitar for years now and I *still* couldn't think up and pull of what he did!

I'm also mystified by how people love the MC5 so much, I thought it was an American thing I was missing out on. I read a whole bunch about them and how important they were and of course heard "Kick Out The Jams", and then I bought a collection of theres about ten years ago and apart from the lulz provided by "Ramblin' Rose", for me it was very much "uh?"

I think for a lot critics, that MC5 and the Stooges both represented a major shift in American rock music. They were the first bands of note of the post-hippie-free-love-counter-culture. It was rock music that was dangerous and cool again. I think for a lot of critics, the MC5's political/social awareness which bled through in their lyrics compensated for their less-than-inspiring music instincts.

I would suppose that depends whether you call the Doors a hippie or post-hippie band. I also thought that the NY Dolls would be more important in this area than the MC5? Or were they later?

Not that I have any love for the Dolls either - they to me were an overblown pub band, like U2, rather than Part Of Rock's Beloved Pantheon.

I've never been the biggest of Doors fans, but in my mind they were always somewhere between the hippie bands and the noodling excess of blues-rock bands like Allman Brothers and Led Zeppelin. They weren't really peace/love/psychedlia but they weren't really a classic jam band either. Also, despite Jim Morrison's antics, I never got the impression that their music was dangerous per se, not in the way MC5 and The Stooges fell anyway.

I was thinking the Dolls were a little later but I wasn't sure so I consulted AMG for the following information. The Stooges and MC5's first albums were both released in 1969 while the Dolls' first album was in 1973. I've never cared much for the Dolls either and I think the only reason they're even remembered is largely because of Johnny Thunder's notoriety on the New York punk scene throughout the 70's.

Interesting point. I think the Doors were capable of dangerous music - things like "Five To One", "L'America" from L.A. Woman, "When The Music's Over" - certainly things as menacing as some of the Stooges and MC5 output.

Thing is though, people will always remember the Doors for "Light My Fire" or "Touch Me" instead of any of those, just like they remember MC5 for "Kick Out The Jams" rather than, say, "Rocket Reducer No. 62" :), which I think weakens their impact somewhat in a broad social sense.

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