Monday, March 15, 2010

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: Class of 2010

Tonight, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame enshrined their Class of 2010: ABBA, Jimmy Cliff, Genesis, The Hollies and Iggy & the Stooges. I happen to fascinated with the politics of the Rock Hall, usually in a cynical fashion, but I still find it a useful guide to identifying important artists of the past. In terms of this class, I'm somewhat familiar with all the artists.

I (like everyone on Earth) am aware of ABBA's hits, though I don't actually have any of them save "Dancing Queen" in my library. I knew Cliff's "Many Rivers to Cross" (a stunning soul hymnal with a gorgeous vocal) well before I grabbed the soundtrack to The Harder They Come, which he contributed to and seems to be a seminal moment in his career, shortly before starting this blog. For the Stooges, I also know a handful of their more important singles. "1969" is a great track, but I'm not really one to enjoy the all-out aggression of their sonic assault (if ever a band's sound necessitated the term, "assault", to describe it, it's the Stooges.) I respect that sound, and the Stooges' role in pushing it to the max, more than I enjoy listening to it. And I have to plead ignorance on the Hollies except knowing Graham Nash (of CSNY) was one of them, though the videos I found on YouTube don't do much to dissuade my notion that they were just a '60s pop band with some sort of lasting influence that others who care more than I could trace.

Then there's Genesis. I have scattered tracks from throughout their career, from their 22-minute opus/something, "Supper's Ready" through to their snappy '80s & '90s hits like "Invisible Touch" & "I Can't Dance." I'm really interested in the band and their transformation after Peter Gabriel left and Phil Collins took over. What I've heard from both ends of their spectrum I've liked, though generally not loved. When I look for '70s prog rock I tend to prefer Yes, and for '80s synth pop they're just one of dozens of bands with hit singles I'm fine with.

That's why I've finally gotten my hands on The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway and worked up the determination to dive into it. In all their catalog, it's clearly the hulking mammoth waiting to be tackled. So here's a rare sneak peak at my itinerary: I expect to have a review up of it this week, hopefully tomorrow if I can digest it all fast enough. I'm sure tonight's ceremony will add a little to my enjoyment of the album as well, and so I must be off to catch it. 'Cause there's really nothing I like more than talented people praising other talented people. (That sentence, and this one, are produced without irony. I really do love watching all these praisefests, so help me.)


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