The 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees and a goal for 2018

Last night the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced their 2017 inductees. They are Journey, Joan Baez, Tupac Shakur, Electric Light Orchestra, Yes, Pearl Jam and dance/rock innovator Nile Rodgers. 

Congratulations to all the inductees. The Rock Hall does a superb job of insuring a diverse and eclectic group of performers and supporters of popular music from 1950-present are represented in the Hall.  Far be it from me to judge the taste or the vision of Hall voters and I think the 2017 group is excellent. 

I never kvetch about the new members or what music genre they represent, but sometimes I wonder-what took you so long? How is Joan Baez, now age 75, not in the Hall of Fame. The answer is easy when looking at the 317 inductees-there is very little folk music represented: Dylan, Pete Seeger, Woodie Guthrie, that’s it. Despite the debt early rock and roll musicians owe Phil Ochs, Peter Paul and Mary, Tom Rush, Judy Collins and many others. Can you imagine The Byrds (inducted 1991) or the Mamas and the Papas (inducted 1998) without their folk influences?  Expect some make up picks in the coming years as these artists move closer to mortality. No Judy Collins? Really? 

I’ll say it again, the Rock Hall does lack a representative from the Northwest.  I believe it is a huge failing. Northwest rock and roll from 1955-76 was fairly isolated from the rest of the country, but it was the real deal and highly influential. What’s more, it flat out rocked. No doo-wop, no girl groups, no teen idol wanna be’s. It was the shit. 

Lots of bands to choose from. How can the Kingsmen or Paul Revere and the Raiders, both from Portland,  be overlooked.  They released “Louie, Louie,” the ultimate rock and roll anthem, within a week of one another. The Wailers, from Tacoma, with Buck Ormsby and often sitting in with Rockin’ Robin Roberts is another great nominee for the Hall. 

However, if I had to select a winner, it would be Tacoma’s own Sonics. Though their life was not super long, I would guess their influence on rock and roll was immense. With their raw, basic sound and straight up rocking style it’s hard to imagine Rock Hall inductees The Stooges and Nirvana hadn’t heard the Sonics as their essence was forming. “The Witch,” “Strychnine,” “Psycho” and their marvelous cover of Richard Berry’s “Have Love Will Travel” are just a few of their gems of garage rock. They out-Stooged the Stooges when Iggy was just a kid. The Sonics for the Rock Hall in 2018. The Sonics were rediscovered in the ’90’s have recorded an 

On My Turntable

 best-of-louie-louie

In speaking of Northwest Rock, I was at Georgetown Records and snagged a cop of The Best of Louie, Louie, vol 1. I had cleverly added this to my Discogs wantlist a short time before and voila, I found it. 

I’m not a huge Louie, Louie fan with it’s unintelligible lyrics and three chord arrangement, but so many artists have covered it, I thought it was at least worth a try.  I was not disappointed. 

Side one begins with the Rice University Marching Band-nice.  But it’s followed by Richard Berry’s original recording. And you can even hear the words. Without listing everyone else that appears, one is also treated to the original Kingsmen recording, and Henry Rollins and Black Flag angrily screaming something seems to have something to do with Louie. But the piece de resistance is the next to last track on side two by Les Dantz and His Orchestra playing an arrangement that sounds a lot like Bowie’s “Let’s Dance.”  I was laughing out loud at this point. 

Not terrifically expensive (I paid nine bucks) and worth every penny in entertainment value. There is also a vol. 2 of the Best of Louie, Louie.  Clearly a must have. 

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