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Rock Hall: It's Like a Jungle Sometimes (Expanded)

By RD Heldenfels Published: January 8, 2007

Here's the official declaration:


New York -- The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation today announces its inductees for 2007. The inductees are:

Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five (Kid Creole, Cowboy, Grandmaster Flash, Melle Mel, Mr. Ness, Raheim)
R.E.M. (Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, Michael Stipe)
The Ronettes (Estelle Bennett, Ronnie Spector, Nedra Talley)
Patti Smith
Van Halen (Michael Anthony, Sammy Hagar, Alex Van Halen, Eddie Van Halen, David Lee Roth)

The five inductees will be honored at a ceremony on March 12, 2007 at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. Presenters and performers at the induction will be announced in February, 2007. “We couldn’t be more proud to honor this unique, diverse group of rockers, rappers, singers and poets. This is what rock and roll is all about,” said Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation President and C.E.O., Joel Peresman.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel on March 12, 2007 will also honor Ahmet Ertegun, legendary founder of Atlantic Records. Ertegun, who was a crucial figure in the careers of artists ranging from Ray Charles to Aretha Franklin to the Rolling Stones to Led Zeppelin, was instrumental in founding and was the Chairman of the Foundation. The Rock Hall Museum in Cleveland’s main exhibit hall is the Ahmet Ertegun Exhibition Hall.

The 2007 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, R.E.M., The Ronettes, Patti Smith and Van Halen were chosen by the 600 voters of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation. Artists are eligible for inclusion in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25 years after their first recording is released. (end release material)

I may post some notes later. A few brief thoughts: Very happy about Grandmaster Flash, since ''The Message,'' quoted above, is one of the great songs, period, let alone one of the great moments in hip-hop. The Ronettes, as much as I love their songs, make me more ambivalent since the greatness of their singles probably rests more on Phil Spector's production than on the vocal artistry displayed; Darlene Love, in contrast, has sounded remarkable even when not backed by the Wall of Sound. No big reaction one way or another about R.E.M and Van Halen, listenable and often refreshing both, or Patti Smith, who is less interesting to me as a ''poet'' than as the maker of some great songs.

(Added notes:) I'm feeling even more iffy about the Ronettes after looking at the nominees who did not get in -- Chic, Dave Clark 5, Stooges, Joe Tex. Well, three out of four. I admired Joe Tex more than I loved him, although he was good -- and his semi-sung monologues were a precursor to hip-hop. Chic, though, was remarkable; ''Good Times'' is a musical epic, relentless, danceable, a song with a permanent place on my mp3 as something always good to exercise to. Stooges belong because of Iggy, no argument. And the Dave Clark 5 too often get brushed aside as second-tier, not-the-Beatles British invasion when they had a monster sound -- ''thumping great hits'' in the name of one DC5 collection -- ''Glad All Over''/''Do You Love Me''/''Bits and Pieces''/''Can't You See That She's Mine'' is pure frat-rock, not merely sing-along but scream-along. (end expansion)

Since I'm talking about music, I should mention that I've had some thoughts lately about Al Green, James Brown and the nature of musical love that I've been meaning to post here. Something about the ambivalence of love in Green's songs (as in the song title ''Love and Happiness,'' which suggests the two things are different) and his wistfulness, in contrast to Brown's more direct pain (please please please, indeed). I hope to expand on those notions sometime, too.

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