Thursday, February 16, 2006

WHMP RRHOF Edition #1

From: Scott
Date: Thu, 16 Feb 2006
To: Steve


So, I thought I'd take the next four weeks to highlight the four rock' roll artists being inducted to the Rock Hall this year. You know I am a big fan of the Hall of Fame, though I don't always agree with their selections (ZZ Top? Bob Seger? Really?) or with their omissions (The Stooges, Patti Smith, Gram Parsons, Chic... To name a few).

This year's class should prove to be one of the most interesting, what with spacey NY punkers (Blondie); Bloated southern boys (Skynyrd); brain dead headbangers (Sabbath) and a group whose whole purpose was to be a spit in the mainstream (the Pistols).

(Miles Davis is being inducted...HUH? And so are the Herb Albert and Jerry Moss, the guys who created A&M Records...thanks for Joe Jackson, guys-- but I'm not going to feature them).

Anyway, with such an eclectic group. This is the first year in many in which VH1 must be seating. Who is really going to watch this year's inductees? Not many. Kudos to the Rock Hall for not giving a damn and actually recognizing groups that have been overlooked for years.

Today's selection comes from Blondie. I've always felt that Blondie were an important band for pop cultural reasons alone. They introduced rap to middle class white America with their "Rapture" single. That song alone has enough significance to make them worthy of induction. But Blondie was something else. They were born in the NY punk movement and evolved into a disco/pop/new wave group that dominated the charts for several years.

On top of that, Debbie Harry was one of the few women rockers in the male dominated world of music at the time (which makes the exclusion of influential Patti Smith all the more ridiculous). She was more than a mere "face" for the group. Harry cowrote many of the songs and brought a certain attitude mixed with sexiness that made Blondie feel both fun and edgy.

Let's not forget the rest of the band, though. Guitarist Chris Stein penned or co-penned almost all of the group's major hits. And he is often credited with shaping the sound of the band. And being a drummer, I always appreciated Clem Burke, a, for his adaptability and power pop drumming, and b- for having a cool ass name. The band was rounded out by keyboardist, James Destri and bassist Frank Infante (who later sued his band mates).

I've always dug this song, Hanging on the Telephone." It's a driving little pop gem that was a killer tune even before some cell phone company began using it in their ads. I hope you dig it.

Next week... The dark prince and his minions invade WHMP.


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