Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Barry Manilow For Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. Why Not?

The Rosemont Theatre will begin its Chicago Winter Schmaltz Extravaganza tomorrow night with a performance by 70s schmaltz-crooner, Barry Manilow, to be followed next month by a one week engagement of the Broadway cast of "Mamma Mia" - a vehicle for the performance of the 70s hits made famous by Euro-schmaltzers, ABBA.

What makes this worthy of note is the fact that the BBC excitedly reported at the break of dawn today that ABBA had just been voted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame.

The Swedish pop group will be inducted at the Hall's gala dinner in March.

Having been of the unhappy generation that was subjected to both the Vietnam war and the seemingly endless AM radio bombardment by ABBA and Manilow's ear candy, this is devastating news, indeed. It is perhaps the last straw in collapsing whatever faith our star crossed generation might have had in the concept of ontological justice.

First Westmoreland and Johnson's Vietnam "credibility gap" and now Jann Wenner's Rock n Roll Hall of Fame stretching our credulity to its outer limits.

To put this into context, the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame Foundation was founded in 1983 to honor major contributors to the genre, which it characterized as "chaotic, rebellious and disobedient music."

The first class inducted in 1986: Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley, was certainly true to that description.

And look at the inductees as late as 1994: John Lennon, The Grateful Dead, the Animals, Rod Stewart, Elton John, The Band -- all fair enough.

But for the class of 2010: ABBA??

Mamma Mia!

Somehow the nice, predictable bubble gum strains of "Honey,Honey," "Waterloo," "Dancing Queen," and "Super Trouper," seem more than a tad out of place when mentioned in the same breath as Rock n Roll.

And "Bubble Gum," is a well earned pejorative for ABBA's efforts. In the 90's their offerings were revived by a teeny-bopper group called, "The ABBA Teens," who performed to enthusiastic pre-pubescent throngs at such noted hard-core rock venues as EuroDisney.

The ABBA induction seems even more absurd when cast in the light of the fact that many real contributors to the development of the genre have been overlooked: Neil Sedaka and Carole King who were writers and performers of Brill Building fame, the Moody Blues, Chicago, ELO, Yes, Jethro Tull and Emerson, Lake and Palmer and many more far more serious artists.

Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone fame, runs the Foundation and his motivations seem to have a lot to do with cash. VH1 ratings are at stake and old videos of hot young Swedish babes shaking their derrieres will no doubt, draw more viewers than the Moody Blues.

Moreover, a table at the gala induction event can go for as much as $100k. That is a mercenary fact which caused the Sex Pistols to angrily turn down their induction in
'06 and one of the reasons why few past inductees attend the event.

So as long as the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame has degenerated into a money grubbing sham (did I mention that Madonna was inducted in '07?) I would like to nominate Barry Manilow for induction next year.

He is every bit as hard rock as ABBA. And even if his wrinkly old arse is not nearly as hot as Agnetha Faltskog's in her prime, he should easily be able to fill those $100k tables at the gala with throngs of his well-heeled, adoring, 60-something female fans from Long Island and Miami Beach.

So I am asking the spiritually beleaguered members of my generation to start the grass roots groundswell in Chicago at his Rosemont concert tomorrow night:

Barry Manilow for the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame!!!

Why Not???


Comments invited, however anonymous commentors had better deal directly with the issues raised and avoid ad hominem drivel. As for Teachers' Union seminar writers -- forget about it.