Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Dubious Honor Is Better Than None

I’ve never wasted a whole lot of time or energy on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

For one thing, the idea of a “hall of fame” for music of any kind (or art in general) seems odd. Unlike sports, which have statistics to work with and a career defined by a term of specific years, music is inherently subjective and careers never really end, as long as we’re talking about recorded music, anyway. In other words, Pele, for all his greatness, will never play another meaningful game but I can pull out Selling England by the Pound every day and give it a listen with fresh ears, regardless of its age.

For another thing, the Hall of Fame seems to have an odd definition of “rock and roll.” Admittedly a vague term, it nevertheless seems way off base when describing such members as Madonna or Run-D.M.C. Whatever their value as artists and performers, they reside firmly within genres that neither rock nor roll (Run-D.M.C.’s collaboration with Aerosmith excepted). Shouldn’t the Hall of Fame either change its name or narrow its focus?

All of that is introduction to saying that I’ve never gotten particularly worked up about the absence of many of my favorite bands from the Hall. Aside from Floyd and Frank, progressive rock has been pretty much ignored. That has led to some great uproar in proggy circles, along with petitions and all sorts of other haranguing on behalf of Yes or Rush (in particular). Given the Hall’s identity crisis and questionable standards, who the hell cares, really?

Still and all, it’s nice to see Genesis among the list of inductees for this year’s Hall of Fame class, along with (among others) those hard core rockers Abba (when was the last time Bj√∂rn Ulvaeus bit the head off a farm animal on stage, anyway?). Aside from their later day Collins-era pop success, Genesis were both one of the foundations of prog’s golden age (one of the Big Five, in my book), but their influence ripples through huge swaths of the modern prog world. King Crimson may have been more daring musically and Yes more commercially successful as a prog band, but the symphonic Genesis style is the template for an awful lot of the prog that came afterward, for good or bad.

Besides, there is one thing I do like about the Hall of Fame. At the induction ceremonies, there are usually some good musical moments between the inductees and those doing the inducting (wonder who that will be for Genesis?). It may be the perfect excuse for the five-man Genesis to get back together (hell, call Anthony Phillip in, too!), even if only for a couple of tunes on one night. Wonder if Gabriel can still fit in the red dress?

3 comments:

carpenters in suffolk said...

Everyone dreams to be Hall of Fame candidates. It is really an honour to those who will be selected to have given the award. And regarding about music, it complements the life of people. Honestly asking, who can barely live without music? Music really means a lot.

atlanta gutter repair said...

It feels so enjoyable and entertaining if you are going to attend such bands that would make you rock and roll. I think teens now are getting addicted over this bands and other form of rock music.

Atlanta Roofing Contractor said...

As with any "popularity contest" a Hall of Fame simply means that you're good at a specific thing (music) and you have great PR or political skills. There are people with really bad skills, but with heavy marketing the hype causes them to sell a LOT of music and therefore seem "great". A Hall of Fame also misses a LOT of regional musicians which did not "sell out" or get picked up by a label, and subsequently never became famous.

I say ignore the Hall of Fame's and make your own personal list of Hall of Famers.