I’ll be honest.
I’ve never liked the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame very much.
The whole idea of a Hall of Fame for music has always just bothered me. I’m not really sure why I’m fine with Hall of Fames for sports; I think I enjoy music and sports in equal amounts, but they exist on entirely different planes, which may be the reason.
It also may rest in the fact the music has more room for innovativeness (spelled wrong). Musicians are constantly taking the music they like and transforming it into something different. Take, for instance, the progression of blues to rock n roll. The musicians motives never changed, but the music did.
With sports, the changes are much more subtle. In the ’30s, baseball was listened to on radios, and it really was the National Pastime. Today, baseball is watched on TV or the internet, and falls into about 1,000th place for National Pastime (when you average out all 300 million people that live here….if you polled males between the ages of 18-35, it would probably be at number 3, behind football and internet porn).
My point being….the way we watch the game has changed, but not the game so much. Sure, guys are bigger and stronger due to better vitamins, more vigorous training, and ofcourse, Steriods, but the game really hasn’t changed much.
With this in mind, its easy to see why Hall of Fames work in sports. With a medium that remains fairly constant over long periods of time, a few choice players stand out above the rest. These are the truly Great Ones, and they deserve to be in a Hall. Ofcourse, Steriods has thrown this all into a tangled mess: without the consistency of ballplayers strength being similar over these periods of time, we’ll truly never know if Babe Ruth would have hit more homers, than say, Barry Bonds, if they played at the same time.
Ofcourse, there was always the problem with comparing the Negro League and Major Leagues before steriods came about, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
The reason Hall of Fames work with sports is that, aside from such issues as steriods, players don’t change much, and the games they play don’t change much. So when someone stands out….they Really Matter.
But music is not sports. Music has never stayed the same: 10,000 years ago, some Cave Man (sorry Geico Guys) took a rock and started banging it, and all the other Cave Men and Women said, “Hey, Great Tune! Let’s Dance!” (or something along these lines).
Since then, music has never stayed the same. It is a contantly shifting animal. Which is why a Hall of Fame for Rock & Roll is stupid. There undoubtably greats in Rock that need to be recognized, but they’re all trying to accomplish different things: the plane is never the same.
All of this is illustrated by three of this year’s nominees for induction in 2009: Jeff Beck; Metallica; and The Stooges (of Iggy Pop fame).
These three respective musicians/musical groups could not be more different. But beyond that….it says something about an organization when it takes thirty years to even induct these legends.
Jeff Beck has been on par with Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Pete Townshend, and every other great British guitar player since the 1960s. He is EPIC. How in the Hell is he not being nominated until now?
Metallica pretty much were the godfathers of the Metal/Thrash scene in the 1980s, and produced record breaking album sales in the 1990s. How in the Hell weren’t they nominated already?
And then you’ve got The Stooges. Their front man, Iggy Pop, is the Godfather of Punk. These guys created Punk Rock, a genre with more sub-genres then any other genre. How in the Hell did it take this long?
But these questions can’t be answered, because Rock & Roll is so big, and so broad, and so damn evolving, that you can’t catorgorize it. Iggy Pop and Jeff Beck are two of the most opposite individuals in the world, and they both influenced opposite end of their respective genre, but they both belong among the greats. Its deeper than saying, “Well, one’s a catcher and one’s a pitcher.” These guys aren’t even playing the same game.
And that is why the R&RHofF bothers me. Will I stop by if I’m ever in Cleveland? Probably. But the problem is that there trying to put all musicians up to the same standard, like in sports, except sports and music are not the same.
(Note: I really rushed this one. Might brush it up later).
Until Next Time,