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Relive the splendors of the Ford administration...yes, it's time for the 1975 Hall of Acclaim election.
Select the ten most deserving artists, based on records released through the end of 1974.
When considering your vote, you may want to check out the top 50 eligible candidates. For a reminder of who’s already been inducted, see the results thread.
For your ballot to be eligible, you must submit a ranked list of your ten most deserving artists.
Also, for your top FIVE artists (at least), you must explain why they deserve to be in the HOA. You may recycle your comments from past elections if you wish, but I want us to have a context for WHY we're selecting these artists. Ballots without comments for the top five will NOT be counted!
In addition, you may nominate up to three people for the Backstage Wing. This is optional; your ballot will still be eligible even if you don’t vote for Backstage candidates.
Deadline for ballots is Sunday, December 7, at 6:00 pm US Central time (midnight GMT).
Voting is now open.
1. Steely Dan - see Harold's comment. sharp, wicked wit, impeccable musicianship, smooth production. i don't think there's a better example of a band that achieved popular success without compromising one bit of their unique sound.
2. Jackson Browne - just released Late for the Sky, which I think is the best singer-songwriter album of the decade. literate, honest, soft and sad, but never sentimental. a beautiful piece of work.
3. George Jones
4. John Cale - songs like "Andalucia" and "Gideon's Bible" are perfectly crafted pop gems
5. Big Star
6. Todd Rundgren
7. Roxy Music
8. Randy Newman
9. Lou Reed
10. Lynyrd Skynyrd
1. Hoagy Carmichael
2. Jann Wenner
3. Norman Whitfield
Down year this year for me. Thus, I shook up the bottom half of the list (which has been close the past couple of weeks.)
1. Elton John - The only one of my top 4, who didn't get in last week. He's churned out even more great hits this past year, including his cover of "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds."
2. Paul McCartney - Macca is back again, with his hopes still largely resting on BOTR, a magnificent album and the last good one he'll make.
3. Lynyrd Skynyrd - "Sweet Home Alabama" propels LS up 5 spots; it's probably my favorite song of the past year.
4. CSN&Y - The folkie supergroup were on the decline, but this week sees them bumped up to #4. Deserving of a spot, mostly due to the beautiful harmonies.
5. Allman Brothers Band - Overlooked last week, they are the true Southern rockers, and the best jam band this side of the Dead.
6. George Harrison - Another overlooked act, George is my favorite Beatle (excluding solo careers) and worthy of a spot in the HOA.
7. The Jackson 5 - That little boy Michael sure can sing.
8. Chicago - 25 or 6 to 4 is awesome; a favorite guitar solo
9. Kraftwerk - Fun, fun, on the Autobahn. Brilliant record.
10. Al Green - I haven't given him enough credit on here, so he snaps up the last spot.
1. GRAM PARSONS – “He was just a country boy, his simple songs confess, and the music he had in him, so very few possess.”
2. BIG STAR – “rock 'n roll is here to stay, come inside where it's okay ”
3. Leadbelly – “Ain't no food upon the table, and no fork up in the pan, but you better not complain boy, you get in trouble with the man.”
4. GEORGE JONES – “I can hardly bear the sight of lipstick, on the cigarettes there in the ashtray, lyin' cold the way you left 'em, but at least your lips caressed them while you packed.”
5. TOWNES VAN ZANDT – “We got the sky to talk about and the world to lie upon”
6. THE FLYING BURRITO BROTHERS – “This old town’s filled with sin, it’ll swallow you in, if you've got some money to burn.”
7. CHARLIE PARKER
8. WILLIE NELSON – “It's been rough and rocky travelin', but I'm finally standin’ upright on the ground, and after taking several readings, I'm surprised to find my mind`s still fairly sound.”
9. JOHN PRINE – “Well, I sat there at the table and I acted real naïve, for I knew that topless lady had something up her sleeve.”
10. THE ZOMBIES – “Tell her no no no no no no no no no no no no . . .”
Paul, Lester Bangs was inducted last time.
1. The Doors - I'm promoting them to the number one spot. All hail the Lizard King
2. Frank Zappa & The Mothers - Nominated for a long time, never inducted. That doesn't matter, he's still relevant. For instance in '74, he had his biggest Billboard success with Apostroph.
3. Charlie Parker - Leading man in the development of bebop.
4. Leadbelly - Fantastic folk- and bluesman, who has written some of the world's most beautiful songs. Midnight Special! Where Did You Sleep Last Night!
5. Cream - "The First Supergroup", with God as their guitarist.
6. Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band
7. Janis Joplin
8. Al Green
9. Lou Reed
10. Roxy Music
1. Les Paul
2. Leonard Chess
3. W.C. Handy
I will change my third vote to Les Paul (unless I am to be penalized for failing to pay close enough attention.)
1. The Doors : Yes, Morrisson is overrated. But I think that would be a mistake not to induct them, even if it is just for the great musicianship of Manzarek and Krieger
2. Leadbelly : "There's a man going around taking names". So take his name to the HOA
3. Robert Wyatt : He just released his masterpiece, Rock Bottom, after a career with Soft Machine and Matching Mole. See my blog for more details
4. Bruce Springsteen : Some people think his first two albums are his best. I'm not among them, although I think they owe him this 4th slot.
5. Lou Reed : Two major albums in 2 years.
6. Al Green
7. Curtis Mayfield
8. Roxy Music
9. Frank Zappa / Mothers
10. Dick Annegarn : great Dutch born, French speaking singer who started his career in 1974 with 2 great albums, influenced by Brel, Dylan and folk-blues.
C'mon Leadbelly! This is your year!!
1. The Doors- They belong, people!
2. Roxy Music- Is there a more impressive first 3 albums than theirs? Their awe-inspiring debut was followed by an even more amazing follow-up in For Your Pleasure, which in turn was quickly followed by the beautiful, if not as mind-blowing, Stranded. Country Life saw their sound grow bigger and set their mark of excellence at 4/4.
3. Lou Reed- Transformer and Berlin are 2 of my top 20 albums of the 70s. He won't fade, either, as strong albums in the later 70s will keep him afloat.
4. Can- Truly mind-bending, other-worldly music that defies categorization and informs so much more of musical history than is often credited.
5. Parliament/Funkadelic- Another act that will be on the rise. They warrant this spot for the fantastic Maggot Brain and the delectable Cosmic Slop.
First, sorry about missing last week. Thanksgiving screwed up my week. Unfortunately, Al Green was too far behind for my vote to have knocked off Black Sabbath.
Second, I can't say I'm feeling any new artists this week. I may have to dip back to some of the artists I dropped before. Parliament is not ready yet. Neither, as much as I like "My Old School," is Steely Dan. As much as I love a number of Todd Rundgren's singles, the remainder of his work leaves me cold. I'll consider Kraftwerk after Trans-Europe Express, if they can break through at that point. Elton John is tempting in some ways, but still can't wrap my head around voting him in. As I've said, Lou Reed gets my vote in 1989 and not any earlier. (Although a recent listen to "Street Hassle" is giving me some pause.)
I love Springsteen's debut... it's actually my favorite of his. But I'm trying to be a little more selective about new artists. I like Hunky Dory even more, but didn't vote for Bowie that year. But with things feeling thin to me he might squeak in this year. Depends how I weigh older artists who don't have much of a shot. I'm sticking with Django, though:
1. Django Reinhardt
2. The Impressions -- I'm curious why people are not feeling the Impressions. Am I alone in my admiration for them?
3. Charlie Parker - There always seems t be a low level support for Parker. Maybe he can break through before the late-70's brings a flood of new artists.
4. Crosby, Stills, Nash (& Young) - What can I say, I'm a sucker for their harmonies.
5. Al Green - Such a stream of great hits in a relatively short amount of time.
6. Patsy Cline
7. Curtis Mayfield
8. The Staple Singers - Their two big hits are part of it. But Pops, Mavis, et al. were doing some very different stuff in the world of gospel in the 50's and 60's. A clear inspiration for the Impressions.
9. Dinah Washington - Yeah! I'm bringing her back!
10. The Grateful Dead - Underrated for their songwriting, overrated for their musicianship and sound. Should I have voted for the Ink Spots instead? Yeah, that's right, I was considering the Ink Spots.
1. Irving Berlin
2. Norman Granz
3. Bill Graham
1. Roxy Music – The most creative, original band of the early Seventies, even after Eno left. Art-rock that at its best, in contrast to the precision-tuned perfection of most of the groups that fit under that umbrella, always sounded like it was on the verge of exhilarating collapse.
2. Al Green – Had a run of both singles and albums in the Seventies unmatched by anyone else, and he’s still going strong. You could make a strong case that he’s the true King of Soul, and part of the reason is that he’s just so gosh-darned -unassuming- about it.
3. Steely Dan – The contrasts were always heady: fiendishly complex music (executed by the best session pros money could buy), performed in brilliantly crafted and highly accessible pop contexts, all in the service of a ferociously cynical and near-misanthropic view of the world. Becker and Fagen are the Coen Brothers of rock, and the early albums – made before, to borrow Robert Christgau’s phrase, pursuit of The Tasty became its own reward – are masterpieces.
4. Big Star – To paraphrase Paul Westerberg, no one should travel far without a little Big Star. Gleaming, gloriously happy/sad power pop, Southern eccentric division.
5. Lou Reed – His post-Velvets career somehow manages to brilliantly reboot itself every few years or so, resulting in an inconsistent but remarkably formidable body of solo work that, as of ’74, is coming off a dazzlingly diverse three-album stretch (glam-flash blast, awe-inspiringly nihilistic concept disc, brawny classic-rock live set) the equal of any of the above.
6. Randy Newman
8. Frank Zappa
9. Elton John
10. Captain Beefheart
1. Nicky Hopkins
2. Jann Wenner
3. Rudy Van Gelder
01. STEELY DAN: the perfect musicianship of a band that not only got enough skilled players inside the band (special mention to guitar player Jeff ‘Skunk’ Baxter) but even they’re willing to hire the best studio musicians to enhance their sound. And the songwriting is impressive too, with complex but accessible tunes and cynical but witty lyrics.
My favourite album: Pretzel Logic (1974).
My Top 5 Songs: Rikki Don’t Lose That Number (1974), Do It Again (1972), Dirty Work (1972), My Old School (1973), Any Major Dude Will Tell You (1974).
02. BIG STAR: it’s refreshing to see that in these times of prog-rock and hard-rock, of lengthy songs with never-ending solos, there is a band who still cares for perfect three-minute pop songs but with a hard edge. Shamely it seems that not many people are willing to follow them.
My favourite album: # 1 Record (1972).
My Top 3 Songs: Thirteen (1972), September Gurls (1974), The Ballad of El Goodo (1972). Since it seems that the musicians (or the record company) are not allowing You Tube videos for copyright reasons, I’ve selected three delicious covers from female singers instead of the original ones.
03. AL GREEN: seduction. This Southern singer got the perfect instrument in his voice, smooth as silk and hot as fire, able to fuse the hardest heart. And along with a great team of musicians (lead by producer Willie Mitchell) he is proudly wearing the torch that Otis Redding left in Monterrey.
My favourite album: Call Me (1973).
My Top 3 Songs: Let’s Stay Together (1971), Take Me to the River (1974), Tired of Being Alone (1971).
04. GRAM PARSONS: sadly we lost recently the main innovator of country, the one who fronted the country-rock scene with The Flying Burrito Brothers, the one who took rock bands as The Byrds or even The Stones to the country field and the one who released two final awesome solo albums with these wonderful duets with Emmylou Harris.
My favourite album: Grievous Angel (1974).
My Top 3 Songs: She (1973), Return of the Grievous Angel (1974), Hickory Wind (1968 and 1974).
05. ROBERT WYATT: is it fair to induct someone for only an album and a single? Well, only if the album is as good as “Rock Bottom”, the “healing” album that Wyatt recorded after an accident that broke his spine leaving him paralyzed. And there’s the groundbreaking previous work with Soft Machine too.
My favourite album: Rock Bottom (1974).
My Top 3 Songs: Sea Song (1974), Alifib (1974), I’m a Believer (1974).
06. FRANK ZAPPA & THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION: returning to my ballot after releasing the excellent “Overnite Sensation” and “Apostrophe (‘ ” albums.
07. KING CRIMSON: returning to my ballot after releasing the excellent “Red” album.
08. LOU REED: staying in my ballot after releasing the excellent “Rock & Roll Animal” live album.
09. ROXY MUSIC
10. BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN
And at the backstage:
01. THE FUNK BROTHERS: one day, while Robert White and James Jamerson were having a dinner at a restaurant, a familiar guitar intro came out of the speakers. Robert asked the waiter: “Have you listened to that?” “Oh, yes, great song. It’s “My Girl” by The Temptations” said the waiter. “Sure, it’s great”, said Robert. When the waiter left, James asked: “Weren’t you gonna tell him that you played that guitar part, weren’t you?”. “Yes, yes, but suddenly I felt so shy about it”. That’s the fate of studio musicians, they play a pivotal part in the best moments of pop history but they don’t share the fame and the glory. The Funk Brothers were the fantastic studio musicians behind the Motown greatest hits. But I could have chosen the ones in Muscles Shoals Studio or the ones behind the Stax recordings. Let’s raise our glasses to the studio musicians! Favourite song: MARTHA & THE VANDELLAS Dancing in the Streets (1964).
02. CHRIS BLACKWELL: the founder of Island Records, responsible of bringing the sounds of Jamaica to international audiences especially with Bob Marley & The Wailers. And many excellent British bands have released their best works in his label too, like King Crimson, Traffic or Fairport Convention. Favourite song: BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS Concrete Jungle (1973).
03. NORMAN WHITFIELD.
Don’t click on any link if you don’t want, but please click on Alifib. Impressive.
Off we go.
1. ROXY MUSIC. They just slip ahead of Frank this week. Them not making it last year seems a minor scandal to me, but with Moonbeam back on board, they have a good shot at getting in.
2. ZAPPA/MOTHERS. On my ballot, Frank has about two more years before getting swamped by the class of ’77. Intelligence doesn’t count for very much in pop music (in my book), but seriously, is there anyone in AM’s top 100 artists smarter than Zappa?
3. GRAM PARSONS. Paul’s point is taken—this vote really is based on his body of work, both solo and with the Byrds and Burritos. I do hope it’s not too late for him (in the HOA, I mean—I realize he’s already dead at this point).
4. BIG STAR. I was waiting for their second album. They deserve a slot...it’s amazing how many bands sound like them 10 years after the date of this election.
5. T. REX. Sigh. I almost put the NY Dolls on my ballot this week, but seeing how this guy’s doing, is there any point?
6. AL GREEN
7. PATSY CLINE
8. BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN. Yeesh. I forgot him last year (and after all my kvetching about how great E Street Shuffle is).
9. MOTT THE HOOPLE
10. ROBERT WYATT
My only backstage vote this time goes to JANN WENNER. Seriously, I’ve fallen behind on my research…
1. The Monkees- How are the Monkees not on that top 50 list? More of the Monkees and Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones came out in '67 (Headquarters as well, but that's not as great as those two). The only thing essential that's missing is Valleri. EDIT: And now Head is out too. It would be a shame if they don't make it in.
2. The Zombies- One of the greatest albums ever and a few other singles should put them in right now... I'm sure they'll get in later if not now.
3. Harry Nilsson- One of the guys the Beatles raved about and his solo career (well his only career) was better than any of the Fab Fours.
4. Paul McCartney- I love his debut album but not enough to make the list. Now that Band on the Run is out he's in.
5. Big Star- Now that Radio City is out they'll get in.
6. Herman's Hermits
7. Neil Diamond
8. Todd Rundgren
9. Bill Fay
1. D.A. Pennebaker
Reminders for later years: Art Blakey, Nico, Cream, The Doors, Phil Ochs, The Turtles, Lovin Spoonful, The Supremes, Cat Stevens, The Groundhogs, Alice Coltrane, Rod Stewart, Donovan, The Hollies, The Bee Gees, Rod Stewart
I'm going to give some consideration to Nilsson and Funkadelic next time around.