Sometime this week I read the list of inductees to the ‘Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’ for 2006. In case you haven’t seen it-
Other than whatever songs were on the radio and Deborah Harry’s role in the movie “Videodrome” (good flick, check it out) I wasn’t a Blondie fan.
Miles Davis’s reputation as one of the biggest innovators in jazz history is quite secure. I never saw him as a RandR artist when he crossed over. With all the renewed focus back on the various forms of jazz Miles helped pioneer before going electric,(bebop, bop, cool, etc) I now wonder if he would have chosen the path he took later in life. Was he trying to follow the trends(money) or was he just being a true artist?
The Sex Pistols. Hmmm. Ok, so they helped give Rock and Roll a wake up slap in the face that resulted in more new forms than we can count but I’m thinking there should also be a ‘Rock and Roll Hall of Infamy’. It would be soooo appropriate (and cool) if Neil Young inducted them and then performed “Hey Hey, My My (Out Of The Blue)”.
That leaves Sabbath and Skynyrd. I’m sure there are millions of fans who thought this might never happen for either group. With Sabbath, the fact that all four original members have survived is a minor miracle. (drummer Bill Ward had a mild heart attack in the late ’90s and Ozzy’s mental capacity/health is frequently questioned) Still, when it come to “Metal” no one argues where it began. Lynyrd Skynyrd to me though is the real surprise. Not that they don’t deserve it but most critics didn’t “get” them. It didn’t matter how many records they sold, how frequently their songs were played(still) on the radio or the loyal fan base, many people looked down their noses at them as uncouth rednecks. (there were a few notable exceptions such as the eminent rock critic Dave Marsh) Lynyrd Skynyrd was the closest I can claim as a “home-town” band. Though all the original members were from Jacksonville, they rented a small house near Green Cove Springs dubbed “Hell House” where they practiced regularly while still playing local bars and nearby high school proms. Hearing the noise far off in the distance I knew it was a band but wasn’t close enough, or bright enough, to understand what I was hearing. Depending on their age most people remember where they where when they heard the news about the Kennedy assassination(s), the Challenger explosion or 9/11. In addition to all those(and others) I still remember having breakfast at the Haystack Apartment complex across from FTU in Orlando during my senior year at college when I learned Skynyrd’s plane had crashed the night before.
I liked Skynyrd but too much of a good thing ruins it sometimes. I remember about ’75 or so when their headlining tour brought them back home for a concert in Jacksonville the local radio stations seemed to play their songs continuously until you were sick of them (at least I was). I thought a better build up would be to not play them to heighten the anticipation of the concert.
Sabbath had (and will probably continue to have) a serious impact on my life. They are the primary reason for any present or future hearing loss I experience. This is from listening to their early albums thru headphones at a volume approaching the pain threshold.
Miles and various Skynyrd members have died but the one person who won’t be there and whose presence might turn the event into something else altogether if he were is the Sex Pistols’ Sid Vicious.