For Those About to Rock ...

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

This year's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class included R.E.M., Patti Smith, Van Halen, The Ronnettes, and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. The problem with this list? To some critics, it looks like a game of "One of these things is not like the others" a'la Sesame Street ... or maybe that just one of these things belongs here. While few dispute R.E.M.'s place in the Hall, the remaining classmates have proven more controversial — does rap music belong in the hall? How much commercial success do you need to get the nod? And just what is rock music, anyway?

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The easy way around this "condundrum" is to simply rename the institution to what it really is - The Pop (as in "popular") Music Hall of Fame. Dontchathink?

Tom.

Sent by Thomas | 2:22 PM | 3-15-2007

Of course rap should be included in the hall, not only own its own merits, but for the fact that it has influenced so many variations of modern rock. If Public Enemy hadn't partnered with Anthrax, we would never have had all those rapcore bands that spawned in the 90s through today - Kid Rock, Linkin Park, 311, Limp Bizkit....

Rap has influenced all sorts of other bands that aren't purposefully trying to fuse their sound with rap. They just grew up on rap, so it's natural for them to have it in their current sound. And none of this would have happened without guys like Grandmaster Flash in the mix back in the day. Besides, without him we would have never had that great scene in the movie "Shawn of the Dead":

I... get higher baby, I... get higher baby, I... GET HIGHER BABY....

Sent by andy carvin | 3:16 PM | 3-15-2007

For the caller that said Little Richard was not influential, well, (sputter, sputter) that's just unbelievable that he has no historical rock and roll mindset. The Beatles, for one, were vastly influenced by Little Richard. They were his opening act in 1962. They covered a number of his songs ("Long Tall Sally" for one) on their early albums when they were dependent and influenced by early 50's and 60's rock and roll and on their original "I Want to Hold Your Hand" you can hear Little Richard's trademark "woo" when Paul goes up high in the scale for his "woo".

Sent by Greg | 3:24 PM | 3-15-2007

Rock and roll might be defined as whatever music your parents don't like. As to who should be in the Rock Hall of Fame, probably those whose music is still being played and liked after 10 years or more...just my two cents.

Sent by Dave Leeds | 3:25 PM | 3-15-2007

If you ever been to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame you would know it is not about selling a lot records. The RRHF is about musicians that contributed something significant towards R & R before, during or after Rock and Roll's Space in Time.

Sent by stephen ziegler | 3:26 PM | 3-15-2007

Like it or not Pat Boone probably was second only to Elvis in popularizing Rock 'n Roll. Why isn't he in the hall of fame? Just because he could sing on key and finish a song in one or two takes.

Sent by Rod | 3:28 PM | 3-15-2007

to patti from Patti from detroit hers were the first records that i had to sneak into the house
and she was responsible for channeling my musical interests...she's always stayed true to her vision and her later releases are as profound as her earlier ones. Congrats Patti!

Sent by patti schigoda | 3:35 PM | 3-15-2007

The definition of rock 'n roll that the guests on the program share is so broad as to be meaningless. "Dangerous" "hybrid"--sure, but that could be said about bebop, free jazz, and the music of Stravinsky. Grandmaster Flash doesn't belong in the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame because his group's music just isn't rock 'n' roll. I am not detracting from his music or from rap or hip hop in general; rather, I think that rock 'n' roll is including such groups and their music because sometime around the early 1980's the art form ran out of steam. Van Halen rocked, but the corporate rock they promoted,or the arena rock of U2, certainly are not dangerous. Yes, there was some dynamism (Sonic Youth, Nirvana) but rap and hip hop dethroned rock music. Andy Carvin's post above raises an interesting point, but I would argue that rock took more from rap than rap took from rockl--so which is the more vibrant art form? (I say all this as a die-hard rocker...)

Sent by Thomas Clarkin | 3:40 PM | 3-15-2007

The Harder They Come, A Hard Day's Night and The Girl Can't Help It.

Sent by vangoghskips | 3:41 PM | 3-15-2007

I believe I heard the Archies mildly bad-mouthed earlier. In 1970 I attended a concert with the Canned Heat and four other bands, the Zombies, etc. as warmup. None of these showed. After a frantic search, the Archies appeared on stage amid catcalls and boos. The singer said, "I know why you're booing, but listen to our set and then judge us." They were excellent, and left the stage to great applause.

Then the Heat came on and played for over three hours. A GREAT concert, thanks to both bands. I got no beef with the Archies.

Sent by Carl Noggle | 3:45 PM | 3-15-2007

My suggestion - best rock and roll film

Martin Scorsese's Tha Last Waltz featuting the Band's last concert with a bunch of stars included- Dr. John, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Paul Butterfield, EmmyLou Harris, Muddy Waters, The Staples. Amazing show!!!

Sent by Joanna | 3:52 PM | 3-15-2007

One movie that deserves an honorable mention is Wierd Al Yankovock's movie U.H.F. Although it wasn't a huge hit, it did attract a cult following.

Sent by Jeffrey | 3:53 PM | 3-15-2007

Thomas said:

I would argue that rock took more from rap than rap took from rockl--so which is the more vibrant art form?

Point well taken. Full disclosure - I'm more of a rock guy than a rap guy, and I definitely think rock benefited more from rap than the other way around, most of the time at least. But in the early days of rap, folks like Public Enemy and Run DMC got famous partially from sampling rock songs, along with other genres, and those actions led to them partnering with rock bands to lay the foundations for rapcore.

It's been a while since I've been impressed with new rap artists, possibly because so many of the big ones today are more R&B influenced than rock influenced. I'm just waiting for the next PE or NWA to come out and knock pop music out of its complacency towards rap....

Sent by andy carvin | 3:53 PM | 3-15-2007

One commonly forgotten film was The Monkees "HEAD" which was truly good and self-deprecating....very pyschedelic!

Sent by Scott Reed | 3:54 PM | 3-15-2007

The Girl Can't Help it... songs included were sung by Littler tichard, GEne Vincent's immortal "Be Bop A Lula, Fats Comino... Jayne Mansfield starred. Poked fun at rock and roll. I am a 63 year old female, grew up in Kansas and loved Little Richard way back then. Nancy

Sent by Nancy Mitchell | 3:54 PM | 3-15-2007

There simply cannot be a comparison of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame to the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Baseball Hall of Fame is to recognize the "best" in that genre, whereas my understanding of the R&RHOF is to recognize the artists themselves. If only the commercially successful artists were recognized, some of the "very best" artists would be excluded . . . Tom Waits and T-Bone Burnett come to mind.

Secondly, by far one of the best rock movies is "The Rose" with Bette Midler.

Sent by Susan in Stockton | 4:01 PM | 3-15-2007

Best Rock and Roll films
"Road House" from 1989 - Jeff Healey band provides music backdrop and blisters the screen during live band scenes.
"Hail, Hail, Rock n Roll" 1987 - This documentary covers the concert at the Fox Theatre in St. Louis, Missouri, to celebrate Chuck Berry's sixtieth birthday. My personal best segment is Eric Clapton covering "Wee Wee Hours" - awesome stuff.

Sent by Jeff Loop | 4:08 PM | 3-15-2007

I sort of agree with Thomas C. There are too many different types being classified as the same thing. I think "Rap", just like "country" should not be condsidered as "Rock and Roll". What is needed is the inclusion of differnt styles into different catagories, not all into one.

Sent by Jim Wood | 4:09 PM | 3-15-2007

Couldn't believe that no one had seen "The Magical Mystery Tour". Saw it at the Haight Theatre back in flower power days in San Francisco. It was a very good natured amateur film with absolutely no sense of editing or timing but the songs were fun.

No one mentioned "Breaking Glass" a hard-driving punk rock film with Hazel O'Connor from about 1980. Definitely a compelling film.

There also was a wonderful British series called "Rock Follies" from the 70's that ran here on PBS for a couple of seasons about a girl rock group that had some good music. It starred Charlotte Cornwell, Julie Covington and Rula Lenska. Must google to see if it's available on dvd and see if it holds up. I loved it at the time.

Sent by Geraldine Clarke | 4:10 PM | 3-15-2007

What about (recent RnR hall of fame additions) The Ramones "Rock and Roll High School". All the best things a rock and roll movie should be including giant exploding mice!

Sent by K Leigh | 4:21 PM | 3-15-2007

I saw Magical Mystery Tour in the late 70's on my college campus and have been searching for a copy of it on DVD or VHS for some time. Is it gone for good?

Sent by David Williams | 4:28 PM | 3-15-2007

You talked about how you didn't think anyone had ever seen Magical Mystery Tour.
I've seen it, and it says a lot about The Beatles and pop culture

Sent by Marybeth Sanders | 10:57 PM | 3-15-2007

I'm only 20. You can only buy it overseas. It's about $60 bucks for a legal copy. Although, bootlegs are available in the US.

Sent by Marybeth Sanders | 11:01 PM | 3-15-2007

Rap should be allowed but i think it should have its own ballot. That way some good rock bands won't get denied from the hall because some rappers made it over them.

Sent by ken | 10:24 AM | 11-17-2007