Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Rock N Roll Hall of Fame: Class of 2011

The Rock N Roll Hall of Fame 2011 inductees were supposed to be announced on tomorrow but three days before they were announced, Hits Daily Double leaked the five inductees. This year is very different compared to last year. The nominees this year mainly included singer/songwriters but of the this list is pretty good. There are three "finallys", one who got in a little early, and one is an "owl artist" (who-who-who-who).

Alice Cooper
Finally after years and years of being ignored, the one and only Alice Cooper is now in the Hall of Fame. Not only is Alice going in but his band of the same name is going in with him. Alice Cooper was born Vincent Furnier in February 1948. In 1969, he and four other guys formed a band called Alice Cooper, which Furnier would use as his stage name. With Cooper vocals, the band also included guitarists Michael Bruce and Glen Buxton, bassist Dennis Dunaway, and drummer Neal Smith. Frank Zappa signed them to his Straight Records label and released two poorly received albums. When Warner Brothers bought out Straight and signed the band, their third album Love It To Death became a huge success thanks to the
 hit single "I'm Eighteen". With this album, the band started using the theatrics in rock n roll. With more hit albums like Killer, School's Out, and Billion Dollar Babies the band became infamous for their stage shows which included dead babies, snakes, and hangings. The Alice Cooper band broke up in 1974 but Alice embarked on a solo career starting with 1975's Welcome to My Nightmare. Alice had early success with his solo career and had some hits with ballads like "Only Women Bleed", "I Never Cry" and "You and Me". Many of Cooper's solo albums are conceptual and are ignored by many major critics (examples: From the Inside, Dada, The Last Temptation). In some ways, Alice has a cult following. He did make a comeback with the 1989 hit single "Poison". A born again Christian, Cooper is still performs at the age of 62. In his spare time, he plays golf and hosts his own syndicated radio show Nights With Alice Cooper.

Alice has told Rolling Stone that he was "elated" when he heard the news. Alice also seems excited about next year: along with his induction into the Hall, he'll be releasing Welcome to My Nightmare II. When asked if he and the original band  (Alice, Michael, Dennis, and Neal. Glen Buxton passed away in 1997) will get to play, he said yes.

Neil Diamond

It's hard to imagine but Neil Diamond hasn't been in the Hall for a long time...until now. A songwriter and performer of his stature should have gotten in a LONG time ago. Neil Diamond began his career writing songs for other groups. He even wrote the Monkees' "I'm a Believer" and "A Little Bit of Me, A Little Bit of You". Diamond was probably at his peak in the 1970's with hits like "Sweet Caroline", "Holly Holy", "Cracklin' Rose", and "Song Sung Blue". Diamond, who turns 70 in January, still performs. According to Rolling Stone, Diamond has said his induction has made him "feel lucky".

Tom Waits
His name may sound unfamiliar but Tom Waits has had a long and interesting career. Waits started out as a simple jazz and blues singer in the early parts of his career. In the 1980's, Waits got into rock music and started to experiment in different genres. Some of his best known albums include Swordfishtrombones and Rain Dogs. Waits has won a few Grammys and his music has somewhat of a cult following. Waits could be compared to Frank Zappa or Captain Beefheart when it comes to his experimental material. I'm glad Tom is getting in and I just recently purchased Rain Dogs. The only thing that bothers me with this early induction is that I think Captain Beefheart should've got in first then Tom Waits. It's a outstanding album! The Hall is pretty screwed up anyway with who they choose to induct first. From what I know, Beefheart is a big influence on Waits so now as a member of the Hall, he does get to vote in future ceremonies. Maybe Waits could start a campaign for Beefheart. I would!

Dr. John
The blues legend is finally getting into the Hall. Dr. John is probably best known by his classic album Gris Gris and his bluesy song "I Walk on Gilded Splinters", which has been covered by bands like Humble Pie and The Allman Brothers Band. Dr. John is told Rolling Stone that he was "very shocked" when he heard about the news. He didn't think he would get in. 

Darlene Love
Darlene Love is a R&B and soul singer. Aside from that, I have no idea who she is or why she's being inducted (some think it's because Little Steven Van Zandt has been pushing for her to get in, just like he did with the Hollies). Love did sing back-up for Phil Spector records and had a solo career. In the Rolling Stone article, Love sounds very happy and says that she owes Phil Spector her career. Damn right.

Overall, this year's roster isn't bad but not as good as last year. The inductions of Alice Cooper and Tom Waits could hopefully make the nominations for 2012 better. I hope Alice could start a campaign to get Love (the band, with Arthur Lee) into the Hall and Waits could try and get Captain Beefheart. Also with Alice in, this probably opens the doors for more early heavy metal and/or 70's rock bands in (ala Kiss, T. Rex, Judas Priest, Rush).

Update (12/15/10): It was announced that there are three other inductees. Leon Russell is being inducted in the Sidemen category while Jac Holzman (founder of Elektra Records) and Art Rupe (founder of Specialty Records) are being inducted as Non-Performers. The ceremony will take place in March 2011.

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