Monday, March 15, 2010

Induction Monday

It's that time of year again. Time for the media to pick apart a selection committee's snubs and whether those selected are worthy or not. No, I'm not talking about the NCAA tournament. (Syracuse? The West? What were they thinking?) I'm talking about tonight's 25th annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. It'll also be broadcast live on Fuse at 8:30. Now, much talk has been made about the tonight's inductees. Let's give the rundown:

ABBA - Arguably the number 4 best-selling artist of all time with over 370 million records sold, the is group is currently taking its lumps by critics as not being rock and roll enough. You would think that figure I stated earlier would be enough to get a pass but some out there question how much of ABBA is rock. The truth is the line between rock and pop is so blurred, who really should care? How is ABBA any different from Paul McCartney's solo career which he was inducted for in 1999. ABBA was so big in the 1970s, they outsold Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd worldwide. They continue to sell 2 to 3 million records a year and have influenced pretty much every pop act that followed. Table the debate. It's also good for the Hall to recognize influential artists outside of The US and UK.

Genesis - Genesis has long been over due for induction. Always in the shadow of Pink Floyd and other progressive rock bands, Genesis was no less impressive, selling 150 millions albums worldwide. Not to mention launching two huge solo careers with Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins. Genesis also had the impressive feat of going from deep progressive rock to pop music in the transition from the 1970s to the 1980s. A great addition from a very underrepresented genre. While punk might have been to fight the bloat of prog rock, prog rock is still an influential part of rock history, spreading from jambands like Phish to metal bands like Coheed and Cambria.

The Hollies - This is the only selection I have a problem with. Many people go "Who are the fucking Hollies?," including this author and I even know tunes by the Hollies. They didn't sell a lot of records, especially in the United States. I didn't think them anymore influential especially when grouped with their peers in the British Invasion. Sure, without them, we might not have had Graham Nash or "Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress" but I'm not sure they're solid enough to be in the Rock Hall. If Don Mattingly isn't in the Baseball Hall of Fame, then the Hollies shouldn't be in the Rock Hall. I'm sure this was done just to placate Steven Van Zandt.

Jimmy Cliff - Another long overdue induction in my opinion. If Bob Marley is the worldwide face of reggae, Jimmy Cliff is the man who kicked open the door to lead the way. To use a rap analogy, Jimmy Cliff is reggae's Grandmaster Flash to Bob Marley's Run-DMC (And I guess that makes Eric Clapton the Blondie of reggae.) Cliff in his role in The Harder They Come pushed reggae worldwide as millions bought the soundtrack album fearturing the legendary title track, "You Can Get It If You Really Want," and "Many Rivers to Cross." Cliff continues to perform worldwide including a slot at the upcoming Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. Another key step in the Rock Hall's move to show how rock and roll has influcenced the world.

The Stooges - In the words of Cameron Crowe's Lester Bangs character, "Iggy Pop! Amen!" And in the words of this writer, "About fucking time!" The Stooges have always been one of the Rock Hall's longest time snubs. In my opinion, there are three bands than influenced the alternative music of the 1970s (punk, glam, early new wave): The Velvet Underground, The Modern Lovers, and The Stooges (with MC5 very close). Seriously, do I need to say more? Just listen to Raw Power and you'll know why they belong.
All in all, I think a very good list that fills some Rock Hall holes. Again the only glaring problem I see is the Hollies really weren't that important to rock history. Please, if you know more, school me on it.

On to the snubs, who should maybe have usurped that Hollies position or maybe some of the other ones:
The Modern Lovers - Listen to their one album and tell me that isn't amazing for being from 1972. You could release that record today and it'd be a 10.0 on Pitchfork.
Joe Cocker - Highly influential singer one of the last great solo acts of the 1960s that can be let in without a debate.
Deep Purple - Early metal band that influenced the genre
Stevie Ray Vaughan - Kept blues guitar alive in the 1980s as Clapton was too busy fucking around.
Yes - Another hugely important progressive rock band.
Joe Tex - Great soul singer who should be right alongside Sam Cooke and Otis Redding
Darlene Love - One of Phil Spector's stars. As important as the Ronettes and Shirelles.
KISS - As much as I don't like them and think they really aren't great musically, you can't deny they love to rock writing such anthems as "Detroit Rock City" and "Rock and Roll All Night" plus their merchandising legacy is one that pervades our culture today.

Those are some glaring omissions I feel should be in consideration right now but we have our inductees. Enjoy the ceremony!


  1. The Hollies have had to date 32 UK Chart Hit singles, 23 USA Chart singles (More USA chart singles than the already-inducted Dave Clark Five and, in fact, they had 19 chart singles, admittedly a number were bigger hits.

    Hollies singles have achieved over 300 worldwide separate chart placings, and over 60 album chart placings.

    The Hollies records, including compilations, have charted worldwide in FIVE different decades from the sixties to today.

    The Hollies have had many overseas hits, including a number of chart-topping singles with songs never issued as UK singles.

    Between 1963 and 1970, the Hollies duly matched the Beatles in terms of their actual number of "official" issued singles UK chart hits with 22 each. (The Beatles releasing their first two singles a year before in 1962)

    In that "Swinging Sixties" time period up to 1970, the Hollies had MORE UK chart hits than The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, Manfred Mann, The Searchers, and Herman's Hermits.

    Up to 1970, the Hollies had TWICE as many UK Chart hits as The Who, The Small Faces, and The Animals, and THREE times as many UK Chart hits as The Yardbirds, The Troggs and The Move.

    The Hollies have had MORE UK Chart hits than Gerry & The Pacemakers, The Swinging Blue Jeans, Freddie & The Dreamers, and Billy J.Kramer with the Dakotas (none of whom are in the Hall of Fame) all combined between them.

    They have had more UK chart hits than The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield & C,S,N (& Y) combined.

    The Hollies have had more UK chart hits than: The Moody Blues, Cream, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Traffic, Free, Bad Company, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple & Jethro Tull.

    There's more. Commercial success in the U.S. is not the only criteria to be inducted.

  2. The Hollies were FIRST to cover & duly put a George Harrison song into the UK Top Twenty, in 1965 (FOUR YEARS before George could do so himself), thus boosting George Harrison's songwriting cause to George Martin and Lennon & McCartney.

    The Hollies covered & promoted songs by Graham Gouldman (of 10c.c.), Paul Simon (who thanked them), David Ackles, Judee Sill, Emmylou Harris, Bruce Springsteen (who also thanked them !) & Nils Lofgren, among others. Paul Simon visited The Hollies at their hotel in New York to THANK them for covering his song 'I Am A Rock' in Bruce Springsteen later did likewise visiting them backstage at the Bottom line club, New York, & thanking them for covering 'Sandy' in 1974.

    The Hollies "Evolution" album in 1967 saw album cover designers Simon & Marjike come to the attention of The Beatles (For "Sgt. Pepper") and photographer Karl Ferris to Jimi Hendrix who got him to do the USA sleeve of "Are You Experienced ?" after seeing the "Evolution" album cover.

    The Hollies spotted & signed up young Elton John to their Gralto Publishing Company, in the late sixties.

    The Everly Brothers covered 75% Hollies songs for their 1966 album "Two Yanks in England" helped by Hollies band members.

    Drummer Cozy Powell said he became a Drummer after watching Hollies drummer Bobby Elliott in 1964 ("Here I Go Again"), and has influenced as did Ian Paice (Deep Purple). Phil Collins (Genesis) has also cited Bobby Elliott as a influence on him as a Drummer.

    Eric Clapton said Tony Hicks guitar on "Air That I Breathe" was the "Most Soulful" he had heard, and wished he had played that intro!

    Beach Boy Legend Brian Wilson has paid tribute to the Hollies & their music.

    The Late Great Pete Ham originally named his band Badfinger as "The Iveys" in tribute to his Favorite vocal harmony band The Hollies and had them rehearse "Just One Look" over and over until their vocal harmonies were really tight.

    The Hollies groundbreaking "Leasing back" deal in 1966 (" A Hollies Recording") broke new ground for artists. It was a move followed by others who formed their own Labels & companies.

    The Searchers and Paul & Barry Ryan both covered The Hollies "Have You Ever Loved Somebody" in 1967, while Hollies hits have been later covered by Gene Pitney, Herman's Hermits, The Monkees, Linda Ronstadt, Simply Red, The Righteous Brothers, The Fortunes, The Shadows, Cilla Black, Olivia Newton-John.

    Graham Nash co-wrote "Walker Brothers" member John Walker's UK Hit "Annabella" in 1967

  3. The Hollies contributed a song "Wings" to the same Charity album as the Beatles "Across The Universe" for the World wildlife fund in 1969, and have done MUCH Charity work, often for children's charities.

    Allan Clarke co-wrote the single "Find Me A Family", sung by The Hollies as the theme tune to the UK TV Show "Find A Family" re finding loving homes for unplaced young children in 1989.

    The Hollies were the first Band to do a Vocal tribute album devoted to one artist, "Hollies Sing Dylan" in May 1969 (which reached No. 3 in the UK Album chart) and tribute albums now being common in popular music.

    The Hollies also have cut a "Buddy Holly" tribute album, and kicked off a Holly Tribute album "Not Fade Away,"reuniting with Graham Nash & Recording with Buddy Holly's Lead vocal on "Peggy Sue Got Married".

    The Hollies were also prolific Songwriters with two Notable "in house" Songwriting teams of first "Clarke-Hicks-Nash" (aka "Ransford" up to mid 1966) (Sixties) and later "Clarke-Hicks-Sylvester"(Seventies) , plus working either individually or in pairs such as Clarke-Nash, Clarke-Sylvester, Hicks-Lynch, Clarke-Benson etc. … overall they wrote TWELVE of their albums (including the odd cover on a couple of those) , plus many other tracks on their singles A & B sides, other album tracks & EP Tracks.

    The Hollies were one of the FIRST Artists to write & Record an Ecology themed song, in the Clarke-Hicks-Nash song "Signs that Will Never Change" re the balance & beauty of Nature, Recorded on 2 May 1967, and later Clarke-Sylvester wrote "Look at Life" cut in September 1969.

    The Hollies music did much to promote strong harmony vocals. Clarke-Hicks-Nash, later Clarke-Hicks-Sylvester, & aspects such as Graham Nash singing three part harmonies on "Carrie Anne" in 1967, & unusual instrumentation, with Imaginative arrangements over the years.

    The Hollies in fact featured "Sound Effects" on a recording ("Too Many People") in 1965, before even the Beatles did the following year on "Yellow Submarine" in 1966.

  4. The Hollies were one of the first bands to feature unusual tape effects on their records ("Crusader" in August 1966, and "Try it" in September 1967), plus the early use of Mellotron ("Wings, in January 1968) and synthesizer ("Don't Give up Easily" in September 1969). They also featured harmonium, gong, bells, glockenspiel, banjo, kettle drums, sitar, tablas, guitar/sitar, Rickenbacker guitar, twelve string guitar, Spanish guitar, harpsichord , and many other unusual instrumentation on their Recordings...also Caribbean Steel Drums ("Carrie Anne" 1967 etc) , together with imaginative orchestral arrangements ("King Midas..." "He Ain't Heavy..." "Confessions of A Mind" etc) & skilled early use of Echo effects on their recordings ("So Lonely" 1965 ,etc).
    They were highly regarded by their peers and they have featured MANY famous musician & artists friends guesting from John Paul Jones (later in Led Zeppelin), Jack Bruce (Cream) & Burt Bacharach to the likes of 'Mitch' Mitchell (Jimi Hendrix Experience) to Elton John to Alan Parsons to Rod Argent (Zombies/Argent) to Gary Brooker & B.J.Wilson (Procol Harum) to Joe Lala (Manassas) to John Miles, Mike Batt, and Rob Davis, among others who have appeared on Hollies recordings over the years.

    Allan Clarke, Graham Nash, Tony Hicks, & Terry Sylvester have guested on others Records too (Graham Nash, Allan Clarke & Tony Hicks played perscussion on early Rolling Stones album tracks like 'Little by Little'. They were all thanked, among others, by Andrew Loog Oldham on the sleeve of "Metamorphosis" album). Allan and Terry guested as vocalsists on The Alan Parsons Project and on recordings for The Scaffold, etc) while Tony Hicks produced Taggart's 1974 album for EMI.

    Along with The Byrds & Buffalo Springfield, the Hollies were the third Foundation group for C,S,N, ( & Y).

    The Hollies Management received a letter from the New York Fire Department advising their Recording of "He Ain't Heavy...He's My Brother" had been adopted as their theme song after the Tragic events of 9/11.

    The Hollies have been Awarded an Ivor Novello Award for their outstanding Contribution to Music.

    The Hollies, now in their SIXTH Incarnation continue to record & tour regularly....

    How much more does an artist need to do to get in?