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  • Writer's pictureNeil Rajala


I’ve given both of these topics their own post in the past, but I’m cutting them down to size this year. They both deserve a look because they’re news items of note to music fanatics, but what I have to say about them this year is shorter, if not sweeter. Besides, I found some excellent new February releases that I’m anxious to review next.

2023 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominees: The first thing we have to grapple with is what to call the hall of fame now that it’s clear that nominees and inductees are no longer limited to rock and roll artists. They haven’t been for some time, obviously, since the doors were open to hip/hop and rap artists back in 2007. Country music’s been part of the mix since Jimmie Rogers in 1986, followed by Hank Williams the next year. Miles Davis swept aside the barriers to jazz artists in 2006. So what’s left? The Everything-But-Classical Hall of Fame? A little clumsy for marketing and signage (and keep an eye out for Yo-Yo Ma, you never know.)

Anyway, here’s the 2023 nominees list, in order of their current vote totals, with just over 1.8 million votes cast as of today. The number following the name is the number of times they’ve been on a HoF ballot. A lot of first timers this year, giving the 1980s and early 90s serious love.

Cyndi Lauper – 1

George Michael - 1

Warren Zevon – 1

Soundgarden – 2

Iron Maiden – 2

Willie Nelson – 1

Joy Division/New Order - 1

Kate Bush - 4

Rage Against the Machine - 5

Sheryl Crow - 1

The Spinners - 4

The White Stripes - 1 (1st year eligible)

Missy Elliott - 1 (1st year eligible)

A Tribe Called Quest – 2

So what can be said about the list at this point? HoF voters love their 80s music, Cyndi and George are pulling away from the pack. I'm personally thrilled to see Warren Zevon looking like a shoo-in, and I'm actually surprised to see the combined Joy Division/New Order ticket doing so well. I wouldn't have put the two bands together any more than I would have put, say, the Beatles and Wings up for a joint vote, but the hall is simplifying things for the masses, I suppose.

Other than Warren, and possibly Joy Division (but not New Order), none of this year’s nominees hit me as glaring omissions from the hall. Kate Bush seems to be losing her mojo after the Stranger Things boost, and I doubt RATM is ever gonna connect to the populist zeitgeist enough to carry them in, despite the rabidness of their remaining fans. Maybe Iron Maiden will get a participation trophy like Judas Priest did last year. Soundgarden was, for me, the least interesting of the big three grunge bands but Chris Cornell has a Jim Morrison-like appeal that might be enough to get the surviving members up to the podium. The Spinners could, and probably should, get in under the same “influencers” loophole as their peers from back in the golden age of radio. But the big vote driver this year, like last year, is MTV. Just ask 2022's inductees Duran Duran, Pat Benatar, the Eurhythmics, and Lionel Ritchie. Maybe they should have their own wing.

2023 Record Store Day List: Live albums - lots and lots of live albums this time. It’s possible that labels are responding to what’s popular among the RSD fanatics who stand in line every year for first dibs. But are the throngs really buying that many live albums, or are the labels running out of studio albums to excavate? I have no idea.

This year’s list is the usual mix of novelty items – Queen songs performed as lullabies, a 3” Doors single (you have to buy the player, too, if you don’t happen to have a mini-turntable lying around), and too many of the decidedly not-great-sounding picture discs – some deep catalog favorites, and some intriguing archival compilations. In recognition of the fact that some vinyl buyers, like me, will never buy a picture disc because they sound noisy and lack dynamics, the RSD folks have left that little fact off of the descriptions of a few this time. I was very keen to pick up the newly remastered version of ELP’s epic Brain Salad Surgery, for example, until I did some research of my own and discovered that it’s actually one of those, a detail missing from the official list.

My personal “if money were no object” list this time out is 25 titles long. But money is an even bigger object this time out. My rough calculation is that prices have increased about 10% to 15% overall since last year’s list. I have to think the industry’s gonna hit a consumer breaking point if prices keep rising like they have over the last year, but I think we’re still in a place where record labels are pushing to see what the vinyl collector (not music fan) market will bear. It’s gonna take some kind of backlash to slow it down, but I haven’t really seen signs of that yet.

My “based in reality” list is much shorter. Warren Zevon’s last album, The Wind, is finally getting a reissue, as is Joe Strummer’s last, and greatest, post-Clash record with the Mescaleros, Streetcore. Love ‘em both, need ‘em in my collection. Son Volt’s Doug Sahm tribute, Day of the Doug, definitely has my curiousity piqued. And one of the glut of live albums will likely be coming home with me – a Stevie Nicks show from the Bella Donna tour that was included in a huge CD box set a while back and is reportedly a killer. The other 22 titles on my longer list will likely be relegated to fall-backs or Plan Bs if I can’t find those four.

If you’re an RSD person, let me know what’s on your shopping list. If you’d like to check out the list and see what’s on it, you can do that here:

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2 comentários

22 de fev. de 2023

The R&RHoF and Record Store Day are both stupid, contrived nonsense though everyone is going to have a sentimental favorite (or two) in the former and a title (or two) in the latter they like. In my case IRON MAIDEN is long overdue as is JOY DIVISION/NEW ORDER. Of the latter, ardent JOY DIVISION fans sneer at the later, dance/pop NEW ORDER but the first NO album and singles seemed a logical extension to JD. Cyndi Lauper? OK, whatever. Rage'? They only had their debut album (and a couple of singles) but they were monumental game changers even if Tom Morello was a middle-class born-and-raised "revolutionary" with daddy issues and a tendency to flip out if he isn't seated in…

Neil Rajala
Neil Rajala
24 de fev. de 2023
Respondendo a

I agree it’s pretty easy to dismiss both as irrelevant hyper-commercialized crap – but what fun would that be? At my (our) age, what am I gonna do instead – join a volleyball league? Ranting about something in the world is more my speed these days. Hey you kids, get offa my cloud!

Once everybody that had to be in a R&R HoF was in, around year 10, it’s been a popularity contest ever since. There are still innovators, but they’re innovating on stuff that was invented by the founding mothers and fathers, so nomination becomes a matter of opinion and preference. Be on my side, I’ll be on your side and everybody’s rockin’ down by Lake Erie.

RSD concerns…

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