Music, January 1971: All Things Must Pass

Atlantic’s Ahmet Ertegun recognized that the future of music was likely to be both album shaped and white in color.

Random music recollections based on the book Never A Dull Moment.

The Beatles had broken up but there was a Fab on the top of the charts. All Things Must Pass spent the first seven weeks of 1971 at #1 in the US, though, as a double album, or triple, if you insist on counting the jam, it was twice the price of a standard LP. The title song was the theme of my high school senior prom. I loved the All Things Must Pass album, but was sad that the box the albums came in was too flimsy, and fairly quickly.

Whereas John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band album was more difficult for me to grasp at first, with the primal screaming, though I did make it a part of my limited playlist at college that fall.

I was disheartened by the sometimes public sniping among the former Beatles, such as John’s towards George’s album, which was doing much better commercially than his. But because of a partnership agreement just before Brian Epstein’s death, they were joined at the hip. Harrison’s success was good for Lennon’s pocket too. So Paul could not leave the label as he wanted to do.

The leader of a Jersey cover band called Steel Mill made a trip to California and heard Van Morrison’s His Band and Street Choir. That album was one of my favorites, with Blue Money and Domino. That singer/guitarist, BTW, was Bruce Springsteen.

“Yes, we’re one of a number of long-haired groups who had been picked up in a sweep conducted by Atlantic’s Ahmet Ertegun when he recognized that the future was likely to be both album shaped and white in color. Ertegun had used his roots music calling card to sign Crosby, Stills & Nash; Iron Butterfly; Cream; and many other groups he really didn’t pretend to understand.” I did note that a lot of my favorite music of the period, from Sam & Dave and Roberta Flack and the (Young) Rascals to Led Zeppelin, was on the label.

The Yes Album did well, especially in head shops of the UK the first quarter of the year. It became another listening staple in my freshman year of college. So was Led Zeppelin III, which actually was #1 for 4 weeks in the last quarter of 1970.

Listen to:

Lord If I Ever Needed Someone – Van Morrison
Every Little Thing – Yes
What Is Life – George Harrison
Give Me Some Truth – John Lennon
I Hear You Knocking – Dave Edmunds
Gallows Pole – Led Zeppelin

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.

50 Greatest Prog Rock Albums of All Time

In the Court of the Crimson King I played a great deal in high school AND college, preferably very loudly

fragile.yesYeah, another Rolling Stone list, this time of “progressive rock” albums that I own. I’m not sure what the term “prog rock” means, precisely, but I hope, now that Rush has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013, that Emerson, Lake & Palmer; King Crimson; and especially Yes get in one of these years.

17. Mike Oldfield, ‘Tubular Bells’ (1973): 45 weeks on the charts, getting to #3

I never actually SAW the movie The Exorcist, yet I associate the album with the film’s foreboding theme. There’s so much more to the album.

My favorite part is that weird section “where ‘master of ceremonies’ Vivian Stanshall mock-pretentiously introduces an array of instruments — ‘glockenspiel!’ and ‘two slightly. . .distorted guitars’ — à la the Bonzo Dog Band,” which I think is a hoot. And Oldfield wasn’t even 20 yet!

LISTEN to Tubular Bells intro.

12. Emerson, Lake and Palmer, ‘Brain Salad Surgery’ (1973): 47 weeks on the charts, getting to #11

That first ELP album, the one with Lucky Man, whose synthesizer I could replicate, I listened to A LOT in college. I haven’t heard this album in a while, though, as I have it on vinyl. For years, my secret fantasy was to have ELP play ‘Jerusalem’ at my former church, which has a fine organ.

LISTEN to Jerusalem and
Still You Turn Me On.

10. Yes, ‘Fragile’ (1971): 46 weeks on the charts, getting to #4

I also listened to this album A LOT at college, probably once a week during my freshman year. It was/is hypnotic. I didn’t know, or particularly care, what the lyrics were.

LISTEN to Roundabout and
Long Distance Runaround.

7. Jethro Tull, ‘Thick as a Brick’ (1972), 46 weeks on the charts, getting to #1 for two weeks

This album I didn’t play very often, though I love that introductory narrative. Not nearly my favorite Tull album, as I preferred Aqualung and especially Songs from the Wood.

LISTEN to Thick As A Brick intro.

5. Yes, ‘Close to the Edge’ (1972), 32 weeks on the charts, getting to #3

Actually, I much prefer ‘Fragile’. This album consists of only three very long songs that were so exhausting to record that “when recording for the album finished, drummer Bill Bruford had grown tired of the band’s style and songwriting methods and left to join King Crimson.”

LISTEN to Close To The Edge, which took up all of Side 1 on the LP.

2. King Crimson, ‘In the Court of the Crimson King’ (1969), 25 weeks on the charts, getting to #28

Now, THIS album I played a great deal in high school AND college, preferably very loudly. I especially loved the first song, and the title track, the two songs my friend put on a six-CD set of 1960s music.

I also related to the sentence in another song, “Confusion will be my epitaph.”

A few years ago, around Christmas, I heard Power by Kayne West, which samples the vocal from “Schizoid Man”; I thought was DREADFUL. The original version, incidentally, was dedicated to Spiro Agnew, Vice President of the US under President Richard Nixon.

LISTEN to Side one of the album In the Court of the Crimson King: 21st Century Schizoid Man, I Talk to the Wind and Epitaph (including March for No Reason and Tomorrow and Tomorrow)

1. Pink Floyd, ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ (1973): 741 weeks on the charts!, only 1 week at #1

The group’s eighth LP was one of the best-selling albums worldwide, ever, with an estimated 50 million copies sold. It was on the Billboard charts from 1973 to 1988. It’s often considered one of the greatest albums of all time.

But I didn’t buy it right away. In fact, I may have purchased The Wall in 1980 or 1981 before finally picking up Dark Side. I liked the single Money (#13 in 1973) but was turned off by the album’s seemingly cultish admiration. But I DO like it.

As Rolling Stone noted:
“From its sync-up with The Wizard of Oz (press play after the lion’s third roar) to the Flaming Lips and friends’ track-for-track covers project to Krusty the Clown’s lost Dark Side of the Moonpie to the endless hawking of the prism-and-rainbow logo, the album has endured as a pop-culture touchstone since its release.”

LISTEN to the whole album HERE or HERE or HERE.

I own albums by FM, Electric Light Orchestra, Kansas, Renaissance, Supertramp, Genesis, and Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, but not the ones listed.

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

The band Yes was both a commercial AND critical success, so it made no sense to exclude them from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Last year, I specifically complained about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame failing to even nominate Yes, Chicago, Moody Blues, and Todd Rundgren. Then, this year, the former two are on the roster.
yes.fragile
Last year, two of my picks, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band and Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, actually got in.

The nominees for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016:

“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 2016 nominees had to release their first recording no later than 1990.”

The Cars – worthy
Chic – what I wrote last year when I voted for them, still holds: “its sound still relevant, though if Nile Rodgers got in as a non-performer (songwriter/producer), I could accept that.”
*Chicago – those first two albums were great, and some of their later stuff was decent. They’ve gotten nicked for being too “commercial”, I suspect.
Cheap Trick – probably worthy
Deep Purple – when they got nominated a couple of years back, I admit not knowing them beyond their hits

Janet Jackson – possibly one of the most worthy. Yet, because she’s relatively young, I think she’ll get in eventually, if not this year.
The J.B.’s – James Brown’s backup group, and they should get in in THAT category, not here.
Chaka Khan – for both her music with Rufus and her solo stuff. And we share the same birth month.
Los Lobos – a friend said they are “such a watershed group” long before they “crossed over” to the Anglo market
Steve Miller – definitely worthy

Nine Inch Nails – sure, they’re influential and nominated last year.
N.W.A – also nominated last year, and with the Straight Out of Compton movie, this may well be the year they get in
The Smiths – likewise nominated last year, surely would vote for them down the road
*The Spinners – Motown did NOT know what to do with them, and they didn’t really click until they moved to Atlantic. I LOVE the Spinners. Nominated last year.

*Yes – The problem with the R&R HOF, as Chuck Miller noted, “is that so many deserving ‘rock’ artists were left behind in favor of inducting whoever [Rolling Stone magazine founder] Jann Wenner felt was more deserving.” Some of this had to do with the sense that “commercial is bad,” overcome somewhat by the induction of Hall & Oates last year.
But Yes was both a commercial AND critical success that, unless all of “progressive rock” was being punished, it made no sense to exclude them. Now that long-time bassist Chris Squire has died, it’s well past time for the group’s inclusion. I’d go as far as to suggest his passing affected their nomination, and I hope, their inclusion.

So, in part because of ageism, I’m going with Chicago, Chaka Khan, Los Lobos, The Spinners, and Yes. Especially YES. If I had a sixth vote, it’d probably be Steve Miller.

Which five artists would YOU vote for?
***
Harry Nilsson has been eligible almost as long as the Hall has been open, but he’s never even been nominated.

 

If I had a ballot for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

What I hope will happen is that they’ll pick the great guitarist Link Wray as an early influence, as they have done in the past with people who have shown up on the ballot, deserve to be enshrined, but who most people never even heard of.

From CNN: “Grunge groundbreakers Nirvana, disco dynamos Chic and the costume-clad, Gene Simmons-led pop metal band KISS are among 16 nominees up for election in the museum’s Class of 2014. The deep selection also includes ’70s and ’80s hitmakers Hall and Oates; college radio heroes the Replacements; New Orleans funkmeisters the Meters; sweet-voiced Linda Ronstadt; and pioneering gangsta rappers N.W.A.

“Completing the list: the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Deep Purple, Peter Gabriel, LL Cool J, Cat Stevens, Link Wray, Yes and the Zombies.”

CBS News adds: “Nirvana, Linda Ronstadt, Peter Gabriel, Hall and Oates, and The Replacements are among first-time nominees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”

All eligible nominees released their first single or album at least 25 years before the year of nomination.

Fans can vote for up to five artists at rockhall.com and www.rollingstone.com and www.usatoday.com.

I’ve already made it clear that I would vote for Linda Ronstadt. Beyond that, there are probably seven artists for the other four slots. Pretty much a coin flip, my ballot would include:
Chic, which is newly chic, its sound still relevant.
Peter Gabriel, who was not only commercially successful in the 1980s, but put out great albums before that; if for the song Biko alone, which codified understanding of apartheid to the western world, he’d be deserving. I have a LOT of PG.
Hall & Oates, who not only had massive commercial success over a lengthy period – I am an unapologetic fan – but also are great proponents of music to this day. And though it ought not to matter in this context, I really love Daryl Hall’s solo album Sacred Songs.
Yes, in part as a paean to progressive rock, in hopes that King Crimson gets a nod next time out.

What I hope will happen is that they’ll pick the great guitarist Link Wray as an early influence, as they have done in the past with people who have shown up on the ballot, deserve to be enshrined, but who most people never even heard of.

The Meters, which helped beget The Neville Brothers, was essentially the house band for Allen Toussaint and played on a lot of other people’s albums, so I’m hoping that they’ll get picked in the sidemen category, as Leon Russell did a couple of years ago.

My other pick in these fan ballots was Butterfield, whose three Bs (Butterfield, Mike Bloomfield, Elvin Bishop) were also individually important in rock

Not picking Nirvana, on their first ballot, who will get in anyway. I like them well enough; have three or four of their albums and their sound defined the early 1990s.
Hope the Replacements get in someday – it was their first year as well.
I had quite a bit of Cat Stevens in the day, and I’d pick him if there weren’t people I preferred.
Have the greatest hits of the Zombies, and I’m just not sure a few hits plus one great album warrants the band’s inclusion.
I know N.W.A. is massively influential, despite its limited output, but not feeling it yet.
Never cared for KISS.
Loved the hits of Deep Purple, but guess I don’t know the oeuvre well enough to decide if they merit inclusion.
Know LL Cool J better as an actor than a musician.

Which five artists would YOU vote for?