Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, class of 2022


Elizabeth CottenI was well-pleased with who got into the class of 2022 for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It turned out that the top eight on the fan poll were selected. * I voted for them

Duran Duran* (934,880 votes), who I voted for as soon as ADD asked; it was a tight race for a while, but DD ran away. I own but one DD album. And it’s the album that people who own only album own, Rio. Here are some videos.  

Eminem (684,237). I own none of his music. But I did see the movie 8 Mile. His channel.

Pat Benatar* (631,299), and they rightly included her partner Neil Giraldo; she led early in the fan poll. I may own something on vinyl. The Benatar Giraldo  channel

Eurythmics* (442,271). I LOVE Eurythmics. I have two or three of their albums, plus the greatest hits. Also two Annie Lennox albums.  One of my favorite MTV videos is Would I  Lie To You. Their channel.

Dolly Parton (393,796); saying that she was undeserving may have been the most rock and roll thing she ever did. I have one of her solo albums, plus the complete Trio albums with Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou  Harris. Her channel.


 Judas Priest (365,999). I own none of their music. Their channel

Carly Simon (335,489). I have three or four of her albums on vinyl, plus one and the greatest hits on CD. But the Simon Sisters show up on a couple of compilations I own. Her channel

Lionel Richie* (302,877). maybe one LP. I have one Commodores greatest hits CD. His channel

The others who got in:

Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis (YES!).  Their channel.

Allen Grubman. If you don’t know him, and I didn’t, here’s a 75-minute  video from the 1990s.

 Jimmy Iovine (yes) – an 18-minute video of the record label owner and producer

Sylvia Robinson -watch the video of The God Mother & Pioneer Of Hip-Hop’s Big Business (R.I.P. Queen Sylvia Robinson)

I’m sorry I didn’t know Elizabeth Cotten, though I know all of her acolytes: Pete Seeger (for whom she was a nanny!); Joan Baez; Bob Dylan; the Grateful Dead; Taj Mahal; and Peter, Paul, and Mary, among many others.  Surely I know her most famous song, Freight Train.

 HARRY BELAFONTE – I’ve written about him here and here and probably a dozen other times

The also-rans on the fan ballot. Devo* (224,723), Kate Bush (207,523); Rage Against The Machine (190,063); Dionne Warwick (186,038); A Tribe Called Quest (145,287); New York Dolls (120,958); Beck (99,771); MC5 (93,666); and Fela Kuti (69,656), who was in the top two in the fan poll last year.

As I have said MANY times, they need to add Estelle Axton!

Rock Hall noms – who to pick?

Sweet Dreams Are Made of This

Pat BenatarThe Rock Hall noms popped up on my email feed recently. While I was pleased with many picks on last year’s ballot, I’m unclear which five to pick this time. Here’s music from each nominee. The top five finishers in the popular tally collectively receive a vote.

Beck (first-time nominee) – worthy, and I have a couple of his albums thanks to a certain party, but I’ll not vote for him because he’s newer to the music scene than some of the other nominees.

Pat Benatar – I don’t think I have any of her albums. Actually, I was won over by this CBS Sunday Morning interview that highlighted both her accomplishments and her “I don’t care” attitude. It’s also a love story with Neil Giraldo, dubbed Rock’s Romeo and Juliet, except that they’re very much alive and well.

Kate Bush – surely I don’t know enough about her body of work, though I own one of her albums.

DEVO – I voted for them last year, and I’m doing it again, at least in part because of the subsequent body of work of the brothers Mothersbaugh, Mark and Bob. I have at least four of their albums.

Duran Duran (first-time nominee) – worthy, I suppose, though I own none of their music.

Eminem (first-time nominee, first-year eligible) – clearly worthy, though I own none of his music; too new to pick. But he’ll probably get in.

Eurythmics – an easy yes, for them and for Annie Lennox’s solo stuff too, which I own, and maybe for her art.

Judas Priest – not my cuppa, but I hear they’re good.

Who the heck was Fela Kuti?

Fela Kuti – a massive international star. “Fela Aníkúlápó Kuti also known as Abami Eda, was a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist, bandleader, composer, political activist, and Pan-Africanist.” He “died on 3 August 1997, in Lagos, at the age of 58, from complications related to AIDS.” I may not have heard of him before 2009 or so, when Fela! the musical was on Broadway. Last year, his fan base came out to vote and he ended up second in the fan vote to Tima Turner.

MC5 – I like them, have one or two of their albums.

New York Dolls – ditto.

Dolly Parton (first-time nominee) – damn, I’m hoping that she gets picked for musical excellence for her impact on the industry, for which she is utterly worthy. I bought the complete Trio albums just last year.

Rage Against The Machine – significant, not just musically, but socially; have none of their work.

Lionel Richie (first-time nominee) – I ended up voting for him, as a member of the Commodores and as a songwriter; if he got picked in the musical excellence category, that’d be fine by me. I have a Commodores’ greatest hits CD.

Carly Simon (first-time nominee) – yeah, yeah, not rock, which is true of at half of the nominees. I’m a big fan, and I have maybe a half dozen albums.

A Tribe Called Quest (first-time nominee) – Hugely significant, though I don’t own their music.

Dionne Warwick – I love her body of work and have at least two of her albums.

The easy picks for me were Benatar, DEVO, and Eurythmics. EVERYBODY else except Beck, Bush, Eminem, and Judas Priest were on my “I’d consider them.” Ultimately, I picked Richie and rotated the fifth vote.

YOU can vote for your favorites here daily until April 29th.

The 2022 Hall of Fame vote (baseball)

A-Rod, Big Papi

A-Rod, 2007
A-Rod, 2007

On January 25, 2022, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America will “announce the results of its 2022 Hall of Fame vote live from Cooperstown… Any electees will be inducted during Hall of Fame Weekend on Sunday, July 24. they’ll be joined by the previously announced legends.

Of the 30 people on the ballot, 13 of them were on for the first time. Conversely, four players appear for the 10th and final time. They could be elected by a veterans’ committee down the road.

By far, the biggest first-timer is Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod, by many statistical standards, is the best player being voted on. As Wikipedia noted, “Rodriguez amassed a .295 batting average, over 600 home runs (696), over 2,000 runs batted in (RBI), over 2,000 runs scored, over 3,000 hits, and over 300 stolen bases, the only player in MLB history to achieve all of those feats.”

The problem is that he was involved in two performance-enhancing drug scandals. I give him a pass on the steroid use prior to 2004. As then-MLB commissioner Bud Selig noted, “at the time of the testing there were no punishments for this sort of activity.”

However, he was suspended in August 2013 for the rest of the season and all of 2014 for his use of human growth hormones. By then, he should have known better. So, if I were a voter, I would pass on him this year.

Similarly, I’d pass on Manny Ramirez (6th year, 28.2% of the voters last year, with 75% needed for induction), who served a 50-game suspension in 2012 for the second violation of the drug policy.

The 10th and final time

In a flip from last year, I WOULDN’T vote for Curt Shilling (10th year, 71.1%). And it has something to do with his public request not to be on the ballot. After last year’s vote, he touted “presidential election-related conspiracy theories; calling for a declaration of martial law; and comparing Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, to a Nazi.

“After the December 31 voting deadline, Schilling doubled down by tweeting his support of the insurrectionists who stormed the U.S. Capitol building on January 6, a move that was a bridge too far for some voters who had otherwise continued to support him.” So, no.

Sammy Sosa (10th year, 17.0%) I would vote no. He was a great home run hitter, but too one-dimensional.

Conversely, I would vote YES on the great players
1. Barry Bonds (10th year, 61.8%) and
2. Roger Clemens (10th year, 61.6%)
who operated before Major League Baseball specifically addressed PED.

Who else

3. David Ortiz, (1st year) – Big Papi, “Played 20 seasons with Twins and Red Sox…10-time All-Star Game selection.” And an interesting character. Even though he played for the evil Red Sox.

4. Gary Sheffield (8th year, 40.6%) long and impressive career. A bit of a hothead, and like Bonds and Clemens, in the steroid accusation period

5. Andy Petitte (4th year, 13.7%) – I owned my bias last year.

In fact, everything I said about
6. Todd Helton (4th year, 44.9%)
7. Jeff Kent (9th year, 32.4%)
8. Billy Wagner (7th, 46.4%)
9. Scott Rolen, (5th year, 52.9%)
last year still applies.

10. Jimmy Rollins (1st year) – speed, power, good glove

I have no idea what the actual voters will do, though I expect Ortiz to get in. 


Six legends of baseball

Hodges, Kaat, Minoso, O’Neil, Olivo, and Fowler

six legendsSix legends were elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame on December 5, 2021. “The Early Baseball Era Committee considered a 10-person ballot whose primary contributions came prior to 1950.”

They selected two. I was unfamiliar with Bud Fowler (1858-1913). Jeffrey Michael Laing wrote the book Bud Fowler: Baseball’s First Black Professional.

“Emphasizing the social and cultural contexts for Fowler’s accomplishments on and off the baseball diamond, and his prominence within the history and development of the national pastime, the text builds a convincing case for Fowler as one of the great pioneering figures of the early game.”

He played for the Binghamton Crickets, or Bingos, in the International Association in 1887, though there are no details on the Baseball-Reference site. In the book That Happened Here, George Basler explores how this 19th-century phenom was forced from his team because of racism. (h/t to Cee)

Bud Fowler“Playing second base, his best-known position, he established himself as a star. By the end of June, he was hitting .350, with 42 runs scored, and was acknowledged as the best player on the team. But he was gone only a few days later, after playing only 34 games, when nine white players staged a revolt by signing a letter stating that they would no longer play with a black man… 

“On July 14, two weeks after Fowler’s release in Binghamton, International League club owners — stung by complaints from white players and press comments that it was becoming a ‘colored league’ — voted to approve no more contracts with African-American players. The American Association and National League, two major leagues, followed suit shortly thereafter. The “color line” would last until 1946 when Jackie Robinson began playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers organization.”
Extraordinary effort

Buck O’Neil (1911-2006) was not only a star first baseman and manager in the Negro Leagues but an inexhaustible promotor of its history and legacy. He played primarily with the Kansas City Monarchs. “After his playing days, he worked as a scout and became the first African American coach in Major League Baseball… He played a major role in establishing the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, MO.”

In fact, in 2008, the Hall created the Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award. It is presented “not more than once every three years to honor an individual whose extraordinary efforts enhanced baseball’s positive impact on society, broadened the game’s appeal, and whose character, integrity, and dignity are comparable to the qualities exhibited by O’Neil.” He was posthumously named the first recipient.

Golden Days

“The Golden Days Era Committee considered a ballot of 10 candidates whose primary contributions came from 1950-69.” I had baseball cards of all four of these players at some point.

From the first time I saw him, I was captivated by Minnie Minoso (1925-2015), nicknamed “The Cuban Comet”. He was “the first Black Cuban in the major leagues and the first black player in White Sox history. Minoso lead the American League in being hit by a pitch for 10 seasons. He led the league in stolen bases thrice and being caught stealing six times. He played in five decades if you count five games total in 1976 and 1980.

Gil Hodges (1924-1972) was a solid first baseman, mostly for the Dodgers. But managing the 1969 World Series-winning New York Mets probably helped his cause.

My late father-in-law Richard would be pleased with the inclusion of two Minnesota Twins stars.  Tony Oliva was a .304 career hitter and thrice AL batting champ. Pitcher Jim Kaat pitched for a quarter-century and later was a baseball announcer for many years. I thought both deserved to be in the Hall earlier. At least they, who were both born in 1938, are still alive at this writing. Hopefully will be available for their induction in the summer of 2022.

Oh, and I’ll worry about the baseball lockout by the owners on January 31, 2022, but not before.

Musician Nils Lofgren is turning 70

E Street Band and Crazy Horse

Nils LofgrenNils Lofgren is quite possibly a musician you’ve never of, even though he’s in the Rock and Hall of Fame. He’s the epitome of the working musician.

“Along with his work as a solo artist, he has been a member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band since 1984, a member of Crazy Horse, and founder/frontman of the band Grin.”

He appears on a number of albums that I own. With Neil Young, that would be After the Gold Rush (1970), Tonight’s the Night (1975), Trans (1982), and Unplugged (February 1993). For Bruce, that would include Live/1975-85 (1986), Tunnel of Love (1987), The Rising (2002), Magic (2007), Working on a Dream (2009), Wrecking Ball (2012), and High Hopes (2014).

But he never became a “star.” He was a two-time member of Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band. “In December 2018 PBS NewsHour aired a 10-minute career retrospective Nils Lofgren: 50 Years of ‘just being a guy in the band.’”


After his group Grin “failed to hit the big time, and were released by their record company,” he recorded some solo albums. I have exactly one of them.

His eponymous first solo album “was critically praised at the time of its release, most notably in a 1975 Rolling Stone review by Jon Landau. The 1983 Rolling Stone Record Guide said it was a ‘tour de force of unquenchable vitality and disarming subtlety.’

“In 2007, nearly 32 years after the release of Nils Lofgren, the album was again praised by Rolling Stone in the ‘Fricke’s Picks’ column, where David Fricke said it was one of 1975’s best albums. The album was on the Billboard 200 chart for nine weeks and peaked at number 141 on May 10, 1975.” #141.

When I was working at FantaCo, running the mail order, some guy at Rykodisc would send me free music. I believe that this album was one of them, although it was re-released in 1990, according to the Wikipedia article, and I left FantaCo in 1988.

Cry Tough (1976) got to #32, I Came To Dance (1977) to #36, Night after Night (1977 live double albums) to #44.

“With mainstream success continuing to elude Lofgren, A and M brought in Bob Ezrin in 1979, to oversee Nils. Ezrin was known for his successes with Alice Cooper, Pink Floyd, Lou Reed, and Kiss. Lofgren: ‘The label said they wanted to bring in co-writers, and I said that I didn’t do that. Ezrin said, ‘What about Lou Reed?’ And I said, ‘Well, yeah, okay. That would be cool.'” The album reached #54, and he never had another album crack the Top 100 except Night Fades Away (#99 in 1981).

Commercial success isn’t everything

In 2014, he as part of the E Street Band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “Known for backing Bruce Springsteen in his storied performances, the E Street Band is a gang of musicians bursting with skill, soul, and endurance.”

The Springsteen page notes. “In 1984, following the departure of Steven Van Zandt, Lofgren joined the E Street Band just prior to the launch of the enormous, globetrotting Born in the U.S.A. tour. Throughout the 156-date monster Lofgren became known not only for his scorching guitar work but his gift for stage-worthy acrobatics and theatrics — which makes sense, as in high school Lofgren had been a competitive gymnast.

“Lofgren kept up both roles for the Tunnel of Love Express tour in 1988… And when the E Street Band reconvened in 1999, Springsteen diplomatically answered the question of which guitarist would be brought back into the fold by including both Van Zandt and Lofgren.”

Check out his website. Also this article: Nils Lofgren talks ‘Bonus Tracks,’ Neil Young, Keith Richards and Rolling Stones near miss.” And this one: Nils Lofgren On Playing With Bruce Springsteen And Neil Young, 52 Years On The Road And More.


When You Dance, I Can Really Love – Neil Young
Back It Up 
If I Say It, It’s So 
Keith, Don’t Go (Ode to the Glimmer Twin)
Valentine – Nils Lofgren & Bruce Springsteen

You should go to Youtube and search Nils Lofgren Bruce Springsteen or Nils Lofgren Neil Young. Oodles of good stuff.

Nils Lofgren turns 70 on June 21.

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