Arthur’s Law, Pre-Fab 4, smooth jazz

We get the funniest looks

More of the MonkeesIn response to my Phil Collins post, Arthur, who I’ve never mentioned, wrote: “As well you know, ‘Arthur’s Law’ keeps me from getting too worked up about what other people like or don’t like…

“This post reminds me of all the fashionable pile-ons over the years—Kenny G, Michael Bublé, Justin Bieber, etc., etc., etc. That’s a topic you could work on for the future?” Nah.

Arthur’s Law, as you all know, is: “Everything you love, someone else hates; everything you hate, someone else loves. So, relax and like what you like and forget about everyone else.”

Two things come to mind, one a group, and one more a subgenre. I know there are others, but usually, I had so absorbed Arthur’s Law so completely that it became a non-issue.

Or I have no real idea about their oeuvre. I’ve heard the music of Bieber, for instance, and it just doesn’t stick to my brain. You could play My World, and I’d say, “Who is that?”

Here We Come

The group is The Monkees. They were the Pre-Fab Four, a created group who didn’t even play their own instruments! And I suppose I bought into that disdain for a time.

Eventually, they did play some of their instruments and write some of their own songs. More to the point, lots of singers and groups couldn’t, or weren’t allowed to play on their albums in the day.

As I recall, most of the Byrds were piqued when only Roger McGuinn was allowed to perform with the Wrecking Crew on a particular album. The next time out, with the Byrds playing, the process was considerably longer.

Or Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, studio musicians besides Herb in the studio, and pickup bands on the road. The Beach Boys was a working band, but the music they created in the studio was often augmented from Pet Sounds and forward.

Walkin’ Down the Street

The Beatles’ legendary Sgt. Pepper album came out in 1967. It was #1 for 15 weeks on the Billboard charts. Do you know the number one album in 1967 in the US? More of The Monkees, on top for 18 weeks, following the eponymous first album, #1 for 8 weeks in 1966, and 5 more in ’67.

Plus 1 week for Headquarters and the last 5 weeks with Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, and Jones, Ltd. That’s 29 weeks for The Monkees at #1 in the Summer of Love.

Now, success is a weak reason to laud a band. But I learned to actually LIKE many of their songs. Pleasant Valley Sunday, with Mr. Green, “he’s so serene.” WordsGoing DownListen to the Band.

And Mary, Mary, which was originally performed by the Butterfield Blues Band. When The Monkees covered it, the rock intelligentsia was appalled. But the song was written by Michael Nesmith of the Monkees. So there, music snobs!

Music lite

The genre is light jazz or smooth jazz. REAL jazz was Ella or Satchmo or the Count or the Duke or Miles. That commercially successful stuff of Kenny G or Chuck Mangione – is that REALLY jazz?

Here’s a definition: “The fundamental difference… lies in the chief instrumentalist’s approach to improvisation. Typically, at least on record, smooth jazz musicians just don’t improvise. …

“As the artists found on smooth jazz playlists make clear, the ‘smooth’ is usually more important than the ‘jazz.'” Here’s the thing, though. If jazz is limited to mostly dead people, or people emulating dead people, the genre will die.

Moreover, a lot of those smooth folk are extremely talented. I caught the Christmas 2020 program of Dave Koz. He and his contingent (including one Rebecca Jade!) could really cook! And I don’t mean in a culinary way.

As one sage person once wrote, “Music is music if the feeling’s right.”

If I Had a Ballot for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Last year, three of my picks, Linda Ronstadt, Peter Gabriel, and Hall and Oates actually got into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,, so I’ll put the other two on this year’s ballot.

east-west.bbbI realize more and more each year how meaningless the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is. When I look at the list of artists NOT in it (Chicago, Moody Blues, Todd Rundgren, Yes, to name a few), I sigh.

Still, I play the game, because it’s fun for me.

Cleveland (October 9, 2014) — The nominees for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015 are:

The Paul Butterfield Blues Band
Green Day
Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
The Marvelettes
Nine Inch Nails
Lou Reed
The Smiths
The Spinners
Stevie Ray Vaughan
Bill Withers

To be eligible for nomination, an individual artist or band must have released its first single or album at least 25 years prior to the year of nomination. The 2015 nominees had to release their first recording no later than 1989.

Ballots will be sent to an international voting body of more than 700 artists, historians and members of the music industry.

Last year, three of my picks, Linda Ronstadt, Peter Gabriel, and Hall and Oates actually got in, so I’ll put the other two on this year’s ballot:

Paul Butterfield Blues Band, whose three Bs (Butterfield, Mike Bloomfield, Elvin Bishop) were also individually important in rock. East-West, from 1966, is one of my favorite albums. Here are the two instrumentals, Work Song and the title cut.
Chic, its sound is still relevant, though if Nile Rodgers got in as a non-performer (songwriter/producer), I could accept that.

Joan Jett & the Blackhearts – because I have a bias for women rockers.
The Marvelettes – …and “girl groups”.
*The Spinners – because I LOVE the Spinners.

I dismissed, at least for the time being, both Lou Reed and Sting, because their groups Velvet Underground and The Police, respectively, are in the hall.

This is Stevie Ray Vaughan’s first year of eligibility, and I DO love his music; I hope he does get in, and he may this year.
Green Day has a couple of albums I like. And I love their NAME. Maybe down the road.
I know I SHOULD put Kraftwerk on the list; very important group.
My ignorance of the music of Nine Inch Nails is inexplicable, but there it is.
As I wrote last year, “I know N.W.A. is massively influential, despite its limited output, but not feeling it yet.”
If I had a sixth vote, or if the Chic folk get in as non-performers and I had another selection, it might well be for The Smiths.
Pretty sure I supported War’s induction before. With a seventh vote, would pick them.
Bill Withers had some great songs, but not enough for me to pick.

Which five artists would YOU vote for?

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial