Saturday, April 9, 2016

Rock Rocks!

It's about time. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame let Deep Purple in the door. One of the most influential rock bands of the late 60's and 1970's and couldn't get in because Jann Wenner can't stomach Ritchie Blackmore or whatever the reason was, Hey Jann, nobody likes Ritchie Blackamore, including the band members still around who wouldn't play with him last night and they are in their 60's and 70's for chrissakes. How bad can this guy be? But nonetheless, they are in. Finally.

Last nights Rock N Roll Hall of Fame ceremony was right in my wheelhouse. 1970's rock bands I really like and one rap group whose demo is not exactly me. But a rap group not singing about bitches and ho's but screeching Fuck The Police and in regards to that, this old white guy can actually get halfway on board.

Chicago was so unique in 1969. They had kickass guitars, hard driving songs, two lead singers so different voices that blended like peanut butter and chocolate, and then, horns. Lots and lots of horns. Who did that in 1969? Blood,Sweat and Tears? Ides of March? Yep, but Chicago did it better. Writing songs that are STILL played by every high school pep band in the world, this band just juggernauted the pop charts throughout the 1970's. And then came the night Terry Kath, the greatest guitarist and voice of white rock around, blew his brains out. When that happened, Chicago ceased to exist. Peter Cetera took over and Chicago became a sappy ballad band that belonged in casinos entertaining comped old people. But from 68-78, while Terry Kath was still there, Chicago rocked the world. I mean come on, listen to Make Me Smile or better yet, Dialogue, which contrasted the two voices that made this band so fucking great.

I saw Chicago at a casino a couple of years back, and neither Kath nor Cetera were there. But they still were passable. Entertaining as hell. They made us olds, and some youngs, very happy indeed.

Cheap Trick. I never really cared for Cheap Trick in their heyday. Too poppy. To ehhhh. Too chick for my tastes at the time. But then I saw them in 2011, with Max, at a casino in Vegas, performing Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band in its entirety. I didn't expect much. It was half price. It killed off an afternoon in a town I am really not fond of. Blasphemy! A Midwesterner not fond of Las Vegas? Yes we exist. But Cheap Trick opened with a male chorus singing I Am The Walrus and then launched into the album from start to end. And I loved it. Every freakin second of it. And then they did their own hits and I said wow, they really did have some great songs. Robin Zander is a very underrated front man and Rick Neilsen is a damn good guitarist and entertainer. I saw them last fall and Robin Zander can still bring it. What a voice,man.

Steve Miller. Did anyone have more Top 40 hits than this guy in the 1970's and 1980's? The guy had so many songs playing at various times throughout the 1970's and early 1980's you'd have thought he owned the radio station. But nothing ever matched hit # 1, Livin In The USA and nothing ever ended a string of hits like Abracadabra. But Steve Miller belongs in the Hall due to the longevity of his appeal. I've never seen him live, but on tape he seems to be having a lot of fun.

NWA isn't my cup of tea. Christ, Straight Outta Compton wasn't my cup of tea. Hell, they aren't even Public Enemy, who was my cup of tea (geezus how white can I be?). But despite old white guys not wanting rap in a Hall of Fame, they belong if for nothing else, Fuck The Police. A perfectly timed jam.

Deep Purple. Back in 1973 I drove a 1964 Rambler to Lincoln to see Deep Purple for my first concert at the old Pershing Auditorium. Despite the car needing to be rested halfway there as it overheated, we made it in time. My first concert. When the lights dimmed and the band came out and I heard the organ begin the playing of Highway Star I felt a rush I may have never felt since at any concert. Highway Star, perhaps the greatest opening song to any rock concert ever. A rush that makes you happy to be alive. At least it did me. Deep Purple epitomizes what I love about rock. Energy. Ian Gillan, Ritchie Blackmore, Jon Lord, Ian Paice and Roger Glover. That's Deep Purple to me. And they are finally in a totally meaningless Hall of Fame.

My life's mission is complete. Now onward to get Roger Maris into another meaningless Hall Of Fame.

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