Friday, October 01, 2010

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: It's Okay, Even With All-Star Jams

I've started doing a weekly column with a site called Death and Taxes. The first entry is about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Here's a taste:
Every year when Hall of Fame nominees are announced, I hear the same two complaints: “so and so isn’t rock and roll” and “there shouldn’t even be a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.” These reactions reveal something interesting about rock and roll: no one can say definitively what it sounds like. Though most would agree that Elvis Presley was one of the first rock and roll singers, his music was as diverse as that of this year’s nominees. Even in the early Sun sessions—rock’s nativity scene—Elvis did a version of “Blue Moon” that is less rock and roll than just about any Donna Summer song. Aerosmith, the Police, Joy Division, the Doors, Devo, they are all recognized as rock bands, and yet they have almost nothing in common.

Of course most of us recognize that rock and roll means different things to different people, and for the most part we’ve made our peace with it. So instead of trying to define the genre in terms of chords, time signatures, or lyrical content, we have decided that the one thing all rock and roll must have is a spirit of rebellion against the establishment, or The Man. Therefore many reject the premise of the Hall of Fame because putting rock and roll in a museum is an admission that it has been officially annexed by The Man. But this makes very little sense, and here’s why:

Go to the site to find out why. (Lame trick, but it wasn't totally on purpose.)

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