Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Presenters Announced

Rock-and-Roll-Hall-of-Fame-LogoWe already knew the artists who will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for 2014, but now we know who will be inducting them.

Michael Stipe will induct Nirvana. Makes sense. Kurt Cobain expressed his deep admiration for close friend Stipe on more than one occasion.

Bruce Springsteen will induct his E Street Band. The Boss is already in the Hall solo. No-brainer.

Tom Morello will induct KISS, because someone has to do it.

Chris Martin will consciously couple the Hall of Fame with Peter Gabriel. OK?

Glenn Frey will induct Linda Ronstadt. That’s a good one – the Eagles started out as her backing band.

Questlove will induct Hall and Oates, which is pretty cool. The Roots’ mainman and walking music encyclopedia will hopefully shine a nice light on the often overlooked rock and soul duo.

Peter Asher, of ’60s duo Peter and Gordon, as well as a noted producer (of James Taylor, among others), will induct Beatles manager Brian Epstein and Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham.

Salman Rushdie will induct Cat Stevens. No, I’m kidding, no word yet on who has that honor.

The ceremony will take place on April 10th and will be aired on HBO on May 31st. (h/t CoS)

RnR HoF Inductees

Nirvana
Nirvana

Halls of Fame are rather silly, and arguing over who has been snubbed and who should have been snubbed are even sillier, but what else are we going to do, work? Spend time with our families? Face the yawning abyss of life’s meaninglessness and the terror of our own mortality?

Nah, let’s talk about Hall and Oates. They will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014, along with KISS, Linda Ronstadt, Peter Gabriel, Cat Stevens, and Nirvana.

It’s that last one that seems most poignent and era-defining, and brings some of us around to that abyss again, because, damn, Nirvana is eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. You won’t hear anyone arguing that they don’t belong there (except maybe Kurt Cobain‘s ghost, wearing a cardigan and homemade t-shirt reading “Corporate Halls of Fame still suck”), since it is inarguable that Nirvana’s unexpected success changed the course of popular music, for both better and worse.

Some might take issue with Ronstadt being classified as rock at all, since she mellowed into the easy listening ’80s as one of your mom’s favorite singers, but a quick trip through her early catalog should enlighten those naysayers. Never a rock and roll madwoman, but she was definitely making rock music.

KISS is ridiculous is sucked a lot, but they were also good and awesome in a lot of ways. With their full makeup, costumes, and fire-breathing antics, they were rock’s ultimate showmen (along with Alice Cooper) in the 1970s. For that, and for inspiring countless adolescent boys to pick up guitars, they deserve the nod.

Hall and Oates’ music is the sound of the ’80s, and that cannot be a strictly good thing, but I’ll tell you what, the songs and even a lot of the sounds really hold up. They had tons of hits and revived blue eyed soul for the masses.

Cat Stevens was a gentle folkie who wrote ridiculously nice melodies, sometimes coupled with hippy-dippy lyrics about peace and love, and then he converted to Islam, changing his name to Yusuf Islam and getting a lot of bad press for supporting a call for the death of author Salman Rushdie. He left the spotlight for many years before renouncing some of his extremism and calling himself simply Yusuf. He is once again touring and recording.

Peter Gabriel is already a member of the HoF as a founding member of Genesis, which, under his leadership, was a groundbreaking art/prog rock band. He then went on to huge solo success, owing a great deal to his innovative music videos, with a compelling (and catchy) fusion of pop, electronic, and world music.

So I don’t think there is a lot to argue shouldn’t be here. Who became eligible this year that got snubbed? Who are some of the longest-running snubs?

@OurStage
@TheRussianJano

More like this:
Sound And Vision: Guns N’ Roses? Joan Jett? Why the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Is on the Verge of Becoming a Joke?
Axl Rose Declines Hall of Fame Induction
Will the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Class of 2011 Right Old Wrongs Or Make New Ones?

Sound and Vision: Do Today's Pop Music Producers Have Too Much Power?

Something interesting recently went down atop the U.K. singles and album charts. Elton John reigned on the list of best-selling albums with a collection of 40-year-old songs, while Florence + the Machine was No. 1 on the singles chart for the first time ever. The band’s vehicle? A song that was originally produced by Paul Epworth, a regular Adele collaborator (Rolling in the Deep and He Won’t Go, the best song on 21) who had never managed to go that high in the U.K. working with the world’s biggest female pop star.

Alas, he wasn’t exactly scaling that height with Florence either”at least not alone. And therein lies the twist in this chart saga: a good beat. Those Elton John classics had been updated with a danceable 2012 electro sheen by Australian production duo Pnau on the chart-topping Good Morning to the Night, an album featuring dozens of John songs from between 1970 and 1977 crammed into eight tracks and credited to Elton John Vs Pnau, while Florence’s Epworth-produced Ceremonials track “Spectrum” was the leading single via the re-titled and remixed-by-DJ/producer Calvin Harris (for optimal under-the-strobelight consumption) “Spectrum (Say My Name) (Calvin Harris Mix).”

When Bryan Ferry sang, “Don’t stop the dance,” was this what he had in mind? Beat-driven pop where singers share star billing with the producers who boost them to the top? More than ever, the recording arts have become a producer’s medium, in much the same way that film is a director’s medium, with the behind-the-scenes talent dominating both the sound and the vision. (The stage, in singing“when it’s actually live“as in acting, remains the domain of the performer.) With a smaller pool of star producers creating a bigger bulk of the hits, pop music has become as homogenized as Hollywood blockbusters.

According to Ron Fair, a veteran music executive and producer who has worked with Christina Aguilera, Fergie and Lady Gaga, it’s a logical progression from how records are now made. A producer today is a hybrid role of producer, songwriter, and beat maker, he says. What we used to call arranging is now called making beats, so generally, the producer is the guy who walks in with the song. Back in [Beatles producer] George Martin’s and [Linda Ronstadt/James Taylor producer] Peter Asher’s day, they weren’t responsible for making songs.

Dance music, however, has always been more of a producer’s forum than middle-of-the-road pop. But with disco in the ’70s, it didn’t always show. When one remembers Donna Summer’s greatest hits, Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive,” or Amii Stewart’s “Knock on Wood,” the spectacular vocals probably come to mind first, then the beat.  (more…)

Old Soul

Merrily James

Seattle native Merrily James began as a gospel ingenue before being picked up, at the tender age of 17, by Showtime at the Apollo to perform in front of a national audience. Since then, she’s shared the stage with legends ranging from Linda Ronstadt to Smokey Robinson and Bobby McFerrin. Though she’s able to hold her own with elder statesmen, James’ music appeals to youngbloods, too. Street With No Name is spacious piano balladry”desolate and sweet. Here, the singer’s voice is dusky and soft, but on the jazzy Get Up Go Out she loosens up for some soulful motivation. Muted horns and wah-wah pedals help create a lazy, vintage vibe. Things aren’t always so peachy, though, and on Long Long Time James has a little fun with wordplay while taking a lover to task. Not a little rip that a stitch will fix / Now your tricks don’t look so slick she croons. It’s a torchy little number that showcases the Merrily James trifecta: vivid lyrics, a limber voice that warms every word, and an old soul.

Sound And Vision: The Year in Review — What Was Hot and Not in Pop (and Beyond) in 2011?

No discussion of the last twelve months in music would be complete without a proper shout out to Adele, the blue-eyed, soulful Brit who ruled 2011 with one album (the multiply GRAMMY-nominated 21) and two No. 1 singles (“Rolling in the Deep” and “Someone Like You”), so here we go.

Girl!

Okay, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, here’s what was hot and not about the rest.

HOT

1. Drake: Last year, he called his debut album Thank Me Later, so now feels like the right time to express our genuine appreciation for the Canadian rapper who balances tough and tender so perfectly. With his second album, Take Care, and two of its key cuts, in particular”the fantastic first single “Headlines” and the title track (featuring Rihanna)”he brought sexy back to rap for the first time since ladies loved (LL) Cool J.

2. Girls on film: From Britney Spears’ “Till the World Ends” to Lady Gaga’s “Judas” to Jennifer Lopez’s “I’m Into You” to Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.),” it was an excellent year for women in pop videos. But it was Ke$ha in “Blow,” Kelly Rowland in “Motivation” and Rihanna in “We Found Love” that injected new energy into a decades-old art form and elevated it above and beyond promotional tool to indispensable companion piece.

3. Haley Reinhart and Casey Abrams “Moanin'” on American Idol: I didn’t love the bulk of their solo performances during the 10th season of Idol, but when Reinhart and Abrams came together on the Top 8 results show for the vocalese version of Charles Mingus’ “Moanin’,” the unexpected result was the best musical moment I saw all season.

4. Diana DeGarmo on The Young and the Restless: Speaking of Idol losers, season three’s runner-up’s stint as Angelina on daytime’s No. 1 soap hasn’t been so well-received by critics or fans, but I dissent. There’s both artistry and comedic gold in DeGarmo’s portrayal of a tone-deaf “singer” and daughter of a New Jersey mob boss, and I’m looking forward to being as wowed by her Pygmalion-style makeover as I was by her Idol rendition of “Don’t Cry Out Loud” all those years ago.

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Sound And Vision: Strange Bedfellows — The Best of Music's Unlikely Collaborations

“I get high with a little help from my friends,” Ringo Starr sang on the Beatles‘ 1967 classic. These days, so do many of music’s top stars. Two’s company, and so is three and sometimes four. The more the merrier, the higher and higher they get.

On the charts, that is.

In the Top 40 of Billboard’s Hot 100 for the week ending December 10, seventeen songs were collaborations between separate recording entities. Four of them featured Drake, and three apiece featured Rihanna and Nicki Minaj, who both appeared on tracks with Drake and with each other. But will.i.am featuring Jennifer Lopez and Mick Jagger”and debuting at No. 36 with “T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever),” which the threesome performed on the November 20 American Music Awards”was probably the one that nobody saw coming.

Old-school Rolling Stones fans must be cringing at the idea of Jagger going anywhere near Lopez and will.i.am so soon after Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera went to No. 1 by invoking his hallowed name on “Moves Like Jagger.” But for a sixty-something legend like him, hit records”even if in name only, a la Duck Sauce‘s GRAMMY-nominated “Barbra Streisand”are a near-impossible dream unless they’re in tandem with other, often younger, stars.

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