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Posts Tagged ‘The Cure’

OK, so I’m not losing sleep over who gets into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but the latest batch of nominee’s reminded me of how haphazard this process can be.  This year voters get to pick from a wide variety of artists, which includes overlooked bands like The Zombies and MC5, singer/songwriters like Todd Rundgren and John Prine, genre pioneers like Kraftwork, and Rage Against the Machine, 80’s phenoms like The Cure and Devo, dancefloor divas like Chaka Khan, and Janet Jackson, or popular favorites like LLCoolJ, Stevie Nicks and Def Leppard.  It’s not that I have a big issue with any of these artists, it’s that there are so many other deserving candidates who seem to have been forgotten.  USA Today ran an article in recent days naming what they considered to be artists that were “snubbed” (e.g. Blink-182, Bone Thugs N-Harmony, Jane’s Addiction?), and while they did name a few I hadn’t thought of (e.g. Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, Snopp Dogg, Kate Bush),  they left off what I considered to be the more obvious choices.  The three groups that jump to my mind are the Doobie Brothers, Boston, and The Guess Who.  Each one of those bands produced at least a half dozen classic songs that are still being played on the radio 40+ years later.  Their credentials are far superior to many of the other artists who are already in the hall.

In many cases, members of popular bands are also enshrined for their individual careers (e.g. Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, John Lennon…).  Along those lines, I believe that a singer like Paul Rodgers should be admitted for his work in bands like Free, Bad Company, The Firm, and Queen.  Similarly, Sammy Hagar (Montrose, Van Halen, solo career), Ronnie James Dio (Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Dio) and Steve Winwood (Spencer Davis Group, Traffic, Blind Faith) should qualify for their stellar careers.  With bands like Journey and Cheap Trick already recognized, it’s hard to understand the exclusion of bands like Foreigner and Styx.  Similarly, if Deep Purple was worthy, so is Bad Company, and if Bon Jovi belongs, so do The Scorpions.  I don’t mind newer acts like Radiohead being nominated, but I don’t want to see some of these classic acts forgotten.  If you need further proof for the artists I mentioned, listen to the following:

  • The Doobie Brothers: Long Train Running, Black Water, China Grove, Jesus Is Just Alright, Taking it to the Streets, Listen to the Music
  • Boston:  More Than a Feeling, Foreplay/Long Time, Piece of Mind, Don’t Look Back, Rock and Roll Band, Feelin’ Satisfied
  • The Guess Who:  American Woman, These Eyes, Undun, No Time, Share the Land, No Sugar Tonight
  • Paul Rodgers:  Alright Now (Free), Bad Company (BC), Ready for Love (BC), Shooting Star (BC), Feel Like Making Love (BC), Satisfaction Guaranteed (The Firm)
  • Steve Winwood:  Gimme Some Lovin’ (Spencer Davis Group), Can’t Find My Way Home (Blind Faith), Low Spark of High Heeled Boys (Traffic), John Barlycorn Must Die (Traffic), Arc of the Diver
  • Sammy Hagar: Bad Motor Scooter (Montrose), Heavy Metal (solo), I Can’t Drive 55 (solo), Dreams (Van Halen), Right Now (Van Halen)
  • Ronnie James Dio:  Man on the Silver Mountain (Rainbow), Heaven and Hell (Black Sabbath), The Mob Rules (Black Sabbath), Holy Diver (Dio)
  • Foreigner:  Cold As Ice, Long Long Way from Home, Feels Like the First Time, Hot Blooded, Urgent, Juke Box Hero, I Want to Know What Love Is
  • Styx:  Lady, Suite Madame Blue, Come Sail Away, Fooling Yourself, Blue Collar Man, Renegade
  • Bad Company:  Bad Company, Ready for Love, Seagull, Shooting Star, Feel Like Making Love, Rock and Roll Fantasy
  • The Scorpions:  Holiday, The Zoo, No One Like You, Rock You Like a Hurricane, Still Loving You, Winds of Change,
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1.    ABBA Songs:  Quite possibly the guiltiest pleasure of all, much of ABBA’s music was kitschy and light weight; yet irresistible nonetheless.  Though never to be mistaken for high art, these songs still sparkle and dare you not to sing along.  Favorite – S.O.S.

2.    Three Dog Night Hits:  This bands eclectic catalog and shifting vocalists made them hard to pin down; but their knack for producing catchy songs, that get stuck in your head, is undeniable (e.g. Joy to the World, One, Celebrate, Liar, Shambala, Mama Told Me Not to Come, Never Been to Spain, Black & White).  Favorite – Liar

3.    Electric Light Orchestra Records:  Despite their progressive rock trappings, ELO was first and foremost a pop band.  Jeff Lynne’s penchant for Beatlesque hooks, combined with a group full of genuinely talented musicians, produced a bowl full of ear candy that’s still fun to dip into.  Favorite – Evil Woman

4.    Bread Ballads:  Though the lovelorn themes of their ballads could be a little overwrought at times, David Gates expressive rendering of these songs makes them hard to resist.  Favorites – Everything I Own & Guitar Man

5.    Michael Jackson Hits:  Though dubbed “The King of Pop” and posthumously hailed as some kind of pop culture martyr; few of Michael’s songs could actually stand on their own merit lyrically or musically.  Ultimately it was his genius as a performer that breathed life into them and rendered them unforgettable.  Favorite – Off the Wall

6.    Pre-Disco Era Bee Gees Hits:  Arguably, songs like “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart”, “Lonely Days” and “Run to Me” were the ultimate showcase for the collective vocal talent of the brothers Gibb.  They possess a timeless quality that their later disco era hits often lacked.  Favorite – To Love Somebody

7.    ZZ Top’s Pop Songs:  Though many a rock purist lamented when ZZ Top traded in their crunchy blues rock sound for the “Eliminator” era pop sheen of hits like “Sharp Dressed Man” and “Legs”, several of those songs have aged rather gracefully; still provoking a volume increase whenever they come on.  Favorite – Sharp Dressed Man

8.    Journey Records:  Although their lyrics were largely standard pop song fare, Journey consistently created well produced and highly listenable records.  Whatever they may have lacked in the lyrical department, they more than made up for with outstanding musicianship and the impassioned lead vocals of singer Steve Perry.  Favorites – Lights & Send Her My Love

9.    Eighties Synth Pop Hits:  In the early eighties, bands like “The Cars” and “Blondie” ushered in a new wave of young artists, many of whom were armed with state of the art synthesizers and other techno gear.  This produced a dazzling array of new sounds, as bands seemed to appear and evaporate on a daily basis.  Though the wave seemed to ebb rather quickly, it left behind a rich cache of pop gems that are still worth listening to.  Favorite Bands – Tears for Fears, The Pretenders, Til Tuesday, The Eurhythmics, The Cure, INXS, Men at Work

10.  Garth Brooks Songs:  Though disdained by many country music purists, Garth Brooks clearly has a way with a song and knows how to connect with an audience.  In the end, we all would probably admit to having “Friends in Low Places” or maybe even to being one.  Favorite – The Dance

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