2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominee fan vote

That first Steppenwolf album I listened to constantly

the_cars_-_the_essentialsFor the past couple of years, you, the popular music fan, have been allowed to select up to five Nominees you think should be Inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, from the admittedly flawed list of candidates. The aggregate vote gets tallied as one vote, along with the experts.

Last year, I rooted for Chicago, Chaka Khan, Los Lobos, The Spinners, and Yes. Chicago, which won the fan vote last year made it into the Hall, though popularity there did not assure induction. Los Lobos and the Spinners are not even on the ballot this year.

The 2017 Nominees are:

Bad Brains– heard of, but only barely. Hardcore punk band of the 1970s and beyond.
Chaka Khan – for both her music with Rufus and her solo material. And we share the same birth month.
Chic -I’ve said three years running that “its sound still relevant, though if Nile Rodgers and the late Bernard Edwards got in as non-performers (songwriter/producer), I could accept that.”
Depeche Mode – I like their moody electronic sound. Eventually, I say.
Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) – the group’s been around for a long time, back to 1970. I could vote for them, though if Jeff Lynne got noted for writer/producer, that’d be sweet, too

The J. Geils Band – another band that’s been around longer than I realized; Peter Wolf is seven years to the day older than I, so you’d THINK that would move my needle of support, but it did not
Jane’s Addiction – a group I’ve heard of, and have a couple of songs on compilations. But they started in 1985, and they can wait.
Janet Jackson – nominated last year, possibly one of the most worthy. Yet, because she’s relatively young, I think she’ll get in eventually.
*Joan Baez – an odd choice. She’s not a real rock person. I mean I LOVE Joan. An early album of hers was massively important to me. But though she was a contemporary of Dylan, I still would peg her musically more like an early influence, in the same category as Pete Seeger or Woody Guthrie. But I’m voting for her anyway.
Joe Tex – I know who the late Joe Tex was. I saw his album covers on the inner sleeves of those Sam & Dave and Aretha Franklin albums my sister and I bought in the 1960s. But I never owned his music.

Journey – for a time in the early 1980s, they were ubiquitous, and not in a good way
Kraftwerk – their influence is reportedly legendary, yet I have none of their music
MC5 – They put out one of their albums that was huge for me. They were a legendary live band.
Pearl Jam – I have three of their albums. Still, they’re too recent for me to even consider. Naturally, they’ll get in on their first year of eligibility.
Steppenwolf – that first Steppenwolf album I listened to constantly

The Cars – I found their music incredibly catchy. They were third in the public voting last time out.
The Zombies – I like their hits quite a bit, and they put out one legendary album, essentially after they broke up. They’re worthy, but when I have five to pick out of 19, I haven’t picked them
Tupac Shakur – another artist I know by name, and reputation, and how he died in 1996, but not really his music
Yes – inexplicably, they weren’t even nominated until last year, when they came in second in the public voting. The dearth of progressive rock in the Hall is quite astounding. Now that Yes mainstay Chris Squire, unfortunately, passed away this past year, maybe THAT will sway the voters.

I’ve been voting consistently for Chaka Khan, Joan Baez – can’t have too many women in a sometimes boys club – The Cars, and, of course, Yes. My fifth vote, I scattered between MC 5 and Steppenwolf, before deciding on ELO.

I STILL would like to see:

Estelle Axton to be selected in the non-performer award, now known as the Ahmet Ertegun Award. Her brother Jim Stewart, the co-founder of STAX records with her, was inducted way back in 2002!

Billy Preston to be selected in the sideman category, now known as the Award for Musical Excellence. They got Leon Russell and Ringo Starr in under that mantle. Also in that designation, put in the members of the Wrecking Crew not already in there, including Glen Campbell, Carol Kaye, and Tommy Tedesco.

Yes, there are plenty of artists that haven’t gotten in that should, including, but not limited to, the Moody Blues, Link Wray (pick him in the Musical Excellence category), and Warren Zevon.

VIDEO REVIEW: The Wrecking Crew

Some of the extra material was clearly done after 2008

I was old enough to remember when it was “shocking” news that the singing Monkees were not really playing their instruments on those first couple albums, and in fact, weren’t even allowed to. The music was provided by a fairly regular crew of session musicians. They may have been known as The Wrecking Crew, though some dispute the label. It was said the mostly men who had played on sessions in earlier times wore suits and ties, and it was feared that these more casually dressed crew was going to wreck the industry.
In fact, in many ways, they enhanced it. Bassist Carol Kaye sees the written bass line from Sonny and Cher’s And The Beat Goes On and changed it to what we heard on the record. They WERE Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass and Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound. They interpreted Brian Wilson’s thoughts, not just on Pet Sounds but on a few earlier albums.

The movie The Wrecking Crew was a labor of love for director Denny Tedesco, whose dad, Tommy, was one of the great Crew guitarists. The first day of shooting brought drummer Hal Blaine (member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame), bassist Carol Kaye, saxophonist Plas Johnson and Tommy Tedesco (all of whom should be) together.

Whatever the movie’s value for 90 minutes, and it is considerable, the EXTRAS on the Wrecking Crew DVD, which run over five hours, was often more useful.

There are stories about the legendary Gold Star Studios, the Franks Sinatra and Zappa, and much more. The repeated “I saw her” at the beginning of a chorus of the Mamas and the Papas’ I Saw Her Again was a mistake. Guitarist Don Peake explains how he was saved by Ray Charles in the Deep South. Cher tells about a drunk Leon Russell at a Phil Spector session, a story Leon acknowledges.

Other interviews, some of which made it into the film, included Bill Medley of the Righteous Brothers, Barry McGuire, Jackie DeShannon, the three surviving Monkees, Richard Carpenter of Carpenters, Dean Torrence of Jan and Dean, Petula Clark, plus a lot of musicians, engineers, producers and the like.

The reviews were generally favorable. One critic wondered if all the love Danny Tedesco was hearing about his late father was a result of people telling him to want they want to hear. I can’t answer that, but in the scenes with his colleagues, and by himself, Tommy Tedesco (d. 1997) was a very engaging fellow.

Another critic suggested that this was a rush job; it was anything but that, taking over a decade to finish. It was completed in 2008 but had “been screened only at film festivals, where clearance rights were not required. The film finally saw theatrical release in 2015, after musical rights were cleared.” Some of the extra material was clearly done after 2008; Bill Medley just turned 75, but was 71 at the time of his interview.

Any fan of this era – this means you, Dustbury – should watch this, including the extra material.

Here are links to just a few of the songs that featured The Wrecking Crew.

The Lonely Bull – Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass. Herb then went out to find guys to emulate them for the road. This is often the case.
He’s a Rebel – The Crystals. Cher was only 16 when she became a background singer for Phil Spector.

Surf City Jan and Dean. Brian Wilson gave this to the duo, which irritated Murry, Brian’s dad, and the soon-to-be-fired Beach Boys manager.
Be My Baby – The Ronettes

I Get Around – The Beach Boys

Mr. Tambourine Man – The Byrds. Roger McGuinn got to play on the record, but the other band members were furious to be left out. When the band did record, it often took dozens of takes, whereas the Wrecking Crew only needed a handful.
This Diamond Ring – Gary Lewis and the Playboys. The vocals were also doubled by a session singer.
California Dreamin’ – The Mamas & the Papas. This was going to be a Barry McGuire song, but when he heard their background vocals, he changed his mind. Much later, he realized his voice is on the recording.
Eve of Destruction – Barry McGuire
I Got You Babe – Sonny & Cher

No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach’s In) – The T-Bones
Strangers in the Night – Frank Sinatra. Many times, the Crew took only one or two takes to satisfy the Chairman of the Board.
These Boots Are Made for Walkin’ – Nancy Sinatra. The descending line hook was created by a Wrecking Crew member.

Never My Love – The Association. Another song where the band was totally displaced.
Woman, Woman – Gary Puckett and the Union Gap

Wichita Lineman – Glen Campbell. He was a member of the Crew before he became a successful solo artist.
Midnight Confessions – The Grass Roots
Valleri – The Monkees
Classical Gas – Mason Williams

Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In – The 5th Dimension. Billy Davis Jr. of the 5th Dimension lost his wallet, and that led to the “Hair” medley.
The Boxer – Simon & Garfunkel

(They Long to Be) Close to You – The Carpenters. Though Karen was a fine drummer, the music came together when she came out from behind the kit.
I Think I Love You – The Partridge Family

Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves – Cher
Don’t Pull Your Love – Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds

Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu -Johnny Rivers
Mother and Child Reunion – Paul Simon

All I Know – Art Garfunkel

The Way We Were – Barbra Streisand

Love Will Keep Us Together – the Captain & Tennille

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