Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Looking at Rock Hall's inductee list, thank goodness for alternative honors

OK, I'll give you Bon Jovi. I didn't think there was a cooler album in the world than New Jersey. "Livin' on a Prayer" is still all over the airwaves today, but the first time around for its heavy rotation, that long hair and jean jacket image was all the rage. Trite as the choice can be, I'll give you that Bon Jovi be recognized for their constant string of hits during my formative years.

Alice Cooper's nomination is welcome, as is Donovan's. And if I were just as smart as Robert Plant, I could have explained without first looking it up that Chuck Willis died at age 30 after a short recording career that included "C.C. Rider," "It's Too Late" and "What Am I Living For." I can't fault the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for the nomination of Chic either, especially as Tony Thompson gets his posthumous due -- he being the only drummer besides Jason Bonham to come close to forming a band with Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones.

As music industry mogul Bob Lefsetz gives his commentary on the picks announced this morning, he takes some of the words out of my mouth. Here's one particular part that helps me lead into something I've been meaning to cover on Lemon Squeezings for the past few days:
Donna Summer broke disco in the U.S. Then again, isn't it the ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME? Get your own damn hall. But she did make that great rock influenced album "Bad Girls", but if we're gonna put her in, don't we induct the mastermind, Giorgio Moroder? Or is image now key and who actually does the work is irrelevant?
That's why I take delight in knowing a whole different set of honors is set up specifically for the people behind the people. This week, I was introduced to the Gold Badge awards, presented annually by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors.

"The Gold Badge Awards celebrate the careers of people who have made a special contribution to Britain's music and entertainment industry, acknowledging work that is often done behind the scenes and without public recognition," a press release informed me on Sept. 20. "Over the last 37 years[,] the awards have paid tribute to a wide range of music industry professionals, including broadcasters, recording artists, publishers, arrangers, managers, producer and record company executives."

One of this year's honorees is, for the first time ever, a member of Led Zeppelin.

Photo: Dustin Rabin
If I had to pick the one member of Led Zeppelin with perhaps the least immediate name recognition, I apologize to John Paul Jones, but he's my guy. Call him the quiet one, call him the orchestrator, or call him the band's best-kept secret; any way you look at it, he deserves a lot of credit for the Led Zeppelin sound, and from day one he's never received the same level of attention as Robert Plant or Jimmy Page.

Play back the video footage of the Earl's Court concerts from 1975 or something like that, don't be surprised to see very much of Jones. That's just the way it is, he has long since come to realize and accept. He'll tell you it was partly by his own design since he could change his hairstyles each tour, not be noticed, and use that as an advantage. He could get away with a lot of the same shenanigans as his bandmates and not have it written up by the press all the time.

A Gold Badge will be presented to Jones next month because of a complicated and noted biography that includes his work as an organist, choirmaster, dance band member, musical director, arranger, Led Zeppelin member, recording studio founder, electronic composition teacher, record producer, solo artist, and Them Crooked Vultures member. Talk about a renaissance man!

So, let the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame have Neil Diamond, LL Cool J and Dr. John.

John Paul Jones now joins the honored ranks of Chris Farlowe, Ian "Stu" Stewart, Hank Marvin, "Big" Jim Sullivan and -- oh wow, look! -- Donovan. And they probably all wonder why the hell Roger Daltrey ever received a Gold Badge Award.

1 comment:

  1. Donna Summer has recorded a lot more than just disco. I guess if you were a fan, you'd know that.


Comments are moderated prior to publication. Comments will not be published if they are deemed vulgar, defamatory or otherwise objectionable.