Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees for 2021

Billy Preston, Kraftwerk, Todd Rundgren, LL Cool J, finally

Here are two possibly contradictory things. I know that who gets, or doesn’t get, into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame doesn’t equate with their talent, commercial success, or “worthiness.” And, for the most part, I am really quite happy who got in this season. Here was my wish list. Maybe next year for Chaka Khan and Devo.

“The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame reveals its 2021 Inductees, celebrating the most diverse list of Inductees in the history of the organization.”

Performer Category

go gosTina Turner – for a time, she and Fela Kuti were vying for the top spot on the fan ballot. In the end, Tina won going away. I didn’t vote for her because she was already in, with Ike Turner and I chose to vote for those who weren’t in at all. But I’m not complaining, as I have two of her solo albums.
The Best 

Carole King – she ended up sixth on the five performer ballot. I didn’t vote for her either, as she was in as a songwriter with Gerry Goffin. But no complaints here, even though Tapestry is the only album of hers I own.

The Go-Go’s – came in third in the fan voting. I voted for them and saw them perform 30 years ago in Albany. 
We Got The Beat 

JAY-Z – near the bottom of the fan vote, but an understandable pick.
Song Cry 

Foo Fighters – in the top five of the fan vote. I didn’t vote for them, primarily because Dave Grohl was already in the Rock Hall with Nirvana. But I like Grohl. He’s been Touring in a Van, Interviewing Rock Stars and; Performing with His Daughter. 

Todd Rundgren – YES! His third time on the ballot is the charm. He’s been my #1 or #2 pick each year. Nazz, Utopia, solo work, plus producing.
Appropriately, Just One Victory 

Early Influence Award

Kraftwerk – it was on the ballot about a dozen times. Not this year, but they got in anyway, and that’s great.
list from J. Eric Smith.

Charley Patton  – Wikipedia says (April 1891 (probable) – April 28, 1934) he was an American Delta blues musician. Considered by many to be the ‘Father of the Delta Blues’, he created an enduring body of American music and inspired most Delta blues musicians.
Spoonful Blues 

Gil Scott-Heron – an inspired choice. In case you don’t know, “his music… influenced and foreshadowed later African-American music genres such as hip hop and neo-soul.”
We Almost Lost Detroit 

Musical Excellence Award

This is an odd category. It used to be the “sidemen” award for folks such as Motown’s James Jamerson or Hal Blaine of the Wrecking Crew. But, under the new title, it has included Ringo Starr.

LL Cool J – I’ve been pushing for him for years, and I voted for him this year, but he was in the bottom two of the popular vote.
I Need Love 

Billy Preston – MY FAVORITE CHOICE. Nearly a decade ago, I made the case why he should be included. 
My Sweet Lord (live)

Randy Rhoads – I must admit, I know the name, but not the body of work from Quiet Riot and Ozzy Osborne

Ahmet Ertegun Award

Clarence Avant – read the Wikipedia article about the Black Godfather, who made black music more visible.

Yeah, there are more musicians to get in. But I must make my annual appeal for Estelle Axton in this category.

Underplayed vinyl: Reflections – Gil Scott-Heron

The first song I remembered from Reflections by Gil Scott-Heron, before playing it again, is actually the final track, B-Movie, mostly about Ronald Reagan.

Gil Scott-HeronGil Scott-Heron would have been 70 on April 1, 2019, reason enough to bring back a category on this blog. Underplayed Vinyl means records I used to play a LOT as LPs, but as I got into CDs, haven’t played nearly so much.

His “collaborative efforts with musician Brian Jackson featured a musical fusion of jazz, blues, and soul, as well as lyrical content concerning social and political issues of the time, delivered in both rapping and melismatic vocal styles by Scott-Heron. His own term for himself was ‘bluesologist’, which he defined as ‘a scientist who is concerned with the origin of the blues…’ Scott-Heron is considered by many to be the first rapper/MC ever…”

I have some other music by him. We Almost Lost Detroit appears on the No Nukes album. He co-wrote and sang on Let Me See Your I.D. on the Artists United Against Apartheid album Sun City. Most importantly, I have the epic The Revolution Will Not Be Televised on a compilation of 100 Years of Black Music.

Reflections (1981) is the only full Gil Scott-Heron album I own. The first song I remembered, before playing it again, is actually the final track, B-Movie, mostly about Ronald Reagan. It’s astonishing how relevant the lyrics still are. Just change the names of the players.

The idea concerns the fact that this country wants nostalgia
They want to go back as far as they can…
Even if it’s only as far as last week
Not to face now or tomorrow, but to face backwards

Reflections features:
Storm Music (Gil Scott-Heron)
Grandma’s Hands (Bill Withers)
Is That Jazz? (G S-H)
Morning Thoughts (G S-H)
Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler) (James Nyx, Marvin Gaye)
Gun (G S-H)
‘B’ Movie (Intro, Poem, Song) (G S-H)

Gil Scott-Heron, born April 1, 1949, died too early, on May 27, 2011 at the age of 62. I have found no cause of death, though “he disclosed in a 2008 New York Magazine interview that he had been HIV-positive for several years, and that he had been previously hospitalized for pneumonia.”

Pieces of a Man album (1971), the first cut being The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
Winter In America (1974)
We almost Lost Detroit (1977 studio version with Brian Jackson)
Reflections album (1981)
Artists United Against Apartheid: Let Me See Your ID (1985)
Several National Public Radio pieces

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