While “Twisted Mix-Tape Tuesday” is officially taking the week off, I decided to make a bonus mix-tape consisting of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s Class of 2014. Lance over at My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog did this last week, and since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I thought I would offer up my favorite songs from this year’s inductees.
I have mixed feelings on Nirvana being inducted this year. While I feel they more than deserve this honor, it also makes me feel old because their music was the music of my generation. I was one of those twenty-something slackers of Generation-X that the Boomers tried to “get”, but failed to get us because they tried to view us through their lens, which was far different than our lens. My generation had a much different experience growing up than our Boomer parents/counterparts, and our experience tends to color how we view things. We were first called the “Baby Bust” and we were usually left with the consequences of the Boomer generations actions. When we were younger, this is why we were so cynical. The adults in our world did things without stopping to consider the effect it would have on future generations. In many ways, they still do this.
Anyway, the music that came from the early 90′s was, for a lot of us, validation of how we felt at the time. Someone got it.
But it still irritates me to no end to hear Boomers say that Kurt Cobain was our generation’s John Lennon. He was not. Kurt Cobain was Kurt Cobain. He wrote songs that a lot of younger people could relate to and whose lyrics validated their feelings of alienation. He “got it”.
I also love Dave Grohl. Dave Grohl is the Awesomest Person Ever. Love his music and I love his attitude and I love the Grammy speech he gave a few years back about music.
KISS first became popular when I was a little kid. They were not without controversy, though. In fact, I had a babysitter that bought into the whole ultra-conservative, religious view that KISS stood for Knights In Satanic Service. (She watched a lot of the PTL Club with Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker back then.) To me, they were guys in make-up who had their own dolls and and the awesomely bad movie KISS Meets The Phantom of the Park (which needs a Rifftrax or a Live Rifftrax…hint, hint).
I had some difficulty picking a favorite song. The much-maligned “I Was Made For Loving You” is a guilty pleasure of mine. I don’t think a lot of their post make-up songs from the 80s were all that great. So I decided to go with I Love It Loud because it speaks to teen-age rebellion.
Note, the line-up does not include Peter Criss or Ace Frehley, but does feature the late Eric Carr on drums.
3. Linda Ronstadt
I heard a lot of Linda Ronstadt on the radio when I was a little kid. While Blue Bayou is a favorite of mine, I had to go with You’re No Good as my favorite song of hers.
Ronstadt recently revealed that she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and she can no longer sing, which is sad. I always liked her voice. While I may not have appreciated it at the time, I do now appreciate the risks she took when she decided to branch off in different directions with her music.
4. Peter Gabriel
I’m familiar with Peter Gabriel from his 80′s hits, first being Games without Frontiers, then Shock the Monkey, and later Sledgehammer (and the accompanying video) and the delightfully snarky Big Time. But I think if I had to pick the Peter Gabriel song that speaks to me the most, it would be his song about Stephen Biko, who was an anti-apartheid activist in South Africa who preached non-violence. He was arrested, beaten and, in 1977, died in police custody. While he was never officially a member of the African National Congress, they do include him as a person who played an important role in trying to end apartheid.
With the recent passing of Nelson Mandela, I was reminded of this powerful and anthemic song. I’ve seen videos of this song where Gabriel raises his fist in the air at one point in the song and it gets me every time. When I hear this song, I feel motivated to go out and do what I can to make the world a better place.
4. Hall & Oates
It’s about time. I’m more familiar with their 80′s catalog, although I did know of the songs “Rich Girl” and “Sara Smiles” (and giggled whenever Darryl Hall sang the word “bitch” in the former. Because…I was an eight year old kid.)
I had a bit of trouble trying to pick my favorite Hall & Oates song. In the end, I decided on Maneater because I was thirteen and I have memories of being in bed on Sunday night with the radio down low (as to not get into trouble) and hearing this song during the last hour of American Top 40 with Casey Kasem.
5. Cat Stevens
Cat Stevens is more from my childhood in the 70s. Even when I was older, his music wasn’t necessarily on my list of favorite songs. It falls more into the singer/songwriter genre of the early 70′s, which I affectionately call “musical downers”, because it seemed to me that these slower, acoustical songs were really depression, even without hearing the actual lyrics.
He now goes by the name Yousef Islam after he became a Muslim. (I’m sure this will go over well with certain groups of people.)
In the end, I picked the song Peace Train, mostly because I’m sick of this notion that people who are different from you are automatically your enemy and there is no middle ground.
In the future, maybe for the next “dealer’s choice” mix-tape, I’m going to delve into the Rock & Roll HOF’s most glaring omissions. This would be artists who are eligible to be nominated for induction, but are passed over time and time again.