Hope you’re not standing on a hot bed of coal, because I’m about to rock your socks off!
Actually, I hope you’re not standing on a bed of coal period; that would not be pleasant even with something on your feet. Nevertheless, this post will indeed rock you as I have prepared another closer look at the most recent inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Similar to last year’s celebration of the better-late-than-never inductions of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Joan Jett, I am diving into the latest list of those who have been chosen to join the ranks of the rockers who have picked before them like a green squeaky alien toy in a Pizza Planet crane game. If you are curious about how the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame voting procedure works, then feel free to consult my post “This Guy is Crying… No More!“. As I said last year, essentially the two main rules for inclusion are this:
1.) It must be at least 25 years since the release of your first album
2.) You must be an influence and a significant contributor to rock and roll music
Now that you know what it takes (without discussing the constant criticism from artists and experts the world over), let’s talk about who had it to get into this 2016 class. This year’s inducted artists and musical contributors are as follows:
Each of these groups/people are wildly different in style, but all have that underlying blues-based rhythm contributing to unique originality in their work. No matter what the prevailing flavor is, each deserves a place in the Rock Hall for fulfilling those two requirements, and for just fucking rocking. Let’s take a look at each with a selection of their best songs.
Known so well for a live album, “Live at Budokan” for such hits as “I Want You To Want Me” and “Surrender“, Cheap Trick’s discography beyond those two songs may be a mystery to most outside of their diehard fans. Still, it’s hard to argue against the impact and continued radio playtime of these songs. Cheap Trick definitely has more to offer though, and it is good stuff. Take a listen to the likes of “Dream Police” and “The Flame“, as well as some of their covers of rock staples that preceded them like “Don’t Be Cruel” and “Ain’t That A Shame“. If all this isn’t enough, they’ve got a new album that came out two days ago.
Originally called Chicago Transit Authority, this jazz-classical-rock fusion decided to make their name easier to print on banners and discern from their hometown’s actual transit authority when they began touring following the 1969 release of their first self-titled album. Chicago brought a big brass band feel to rock and pop rock and is universally known as the rock and roll band with the horns. They were a long time contender for inclusion finally getting their due, especially after releasing hits like these:
“Saturday in the Park” -I remember being stoked to hear this on Saturday, July 4th in a park a few years back.
“Old Days” – Love the guitar in this!
“You’re the Inspiration” – Try not to get stabbed in the head when you hear this song.
“If You Leave Me Now” – One of my favorite melancholy songs. It comes to mind every fall as I say farewell to summer. Also a favorite of Butters Stotch.
This is merely a taste of what Chicago has to offer after 24 studio albums.
SMOKE ON THE WATER! AND FIRE IN THE SKY!
This was the band that I was most surprised to see not already in the Rock Hall when I wrote my post last year. Thankfully, someone listened. In addition to creating the most famous guitar riff in the classic song “Smoke on the Water“, Deep Purple charted hits from 1968 on and still performs today. Often considered one of the three hallmark acts of heavy metal alongside Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, from the “unholy trinity” of British hard rock, Deep Purple is responsible for such hits as:
“Space Truckin’” – Another easy and fun to play riff.
And what might be their best:
You know what it stands for, and you know what they stand for, but most of all, you know where they come from. An earth-shattering musical act who not only sent shockwaves through the music industry, but through the streets of America from the epicenter of Compton, California. But this is all old news to you, especially after last summer’s film release of Straight Outta Compton. Their hits may also be known to you, but they are certainly worth another listen.
The man behind the band named for him, or rather in front of it, Steve Miller is an excellent guitarist/singer/songwriter, but that is to be expected by someone who grew up around Les Paul and Mary Ford. Some people call him the space cowboy, some people call him the gangster of love, but whatever you know him as, Steve Miller is another it-was-only-a-matter-of-time inductee. Such cannot be argued with classics like these:
“The Joker” – Not to be confused with the Batman villain.
“Abracadabra” – I love the sizzling guitar in this!
“Jungle Love” -Everything’s peaches and cream.
And the best that Mr. Miller has to offer:
You felt the Bern long before you ever heard of Sanders, you just didn’t know it. At least I didn’t. This remarkable man is the recipient of this year’s Ahmet Ertegun Award for Lifetime Achievement, i.e. the in-the-background guy category that used to be called the “Non-Performer Award” until they realized it wasn’t a great title given that a lot of the recipients and considerations were also performers, just not as well known as the major acts they ended up helping to greater stardom.
Bert Berns was a man constantly writing music and lyrics for various artists and record companies over a short but prosperous period. Check out this brief biography on him from the Rock Hall’s website and marvel all the artists he has contributed to the rise and success of. Classics like “Twist and Shout”, “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love”, and “Piece of my Heart” were all written by Berns. Yet the song that sticks out the most to me is “My Girl Sloopy” that The McCoys later turned into “Hang On Sloopy” and a hit. A hit that is today the official Rock and Roll song of my home state of Ohio and has the perfect four-second break for us to motion the letters of it.
Thanks for reading! Send any comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy listening to some new music or old favorites, and catch the performances of the Induction Ceremony in Brooklyn this Friday, April 8th whenever you can. In the meantime, I’m going to pick up Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens and rewatch the Han out of it. Be sure to find your way back here next week for some more fun.