Rock and Roll by the Numbers

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So there’s this Rock and Roll Hall of fame place and people, some people, like to complain about its lack of diversity. Let’s think about this for a minute.

First, before we even get to the numbers, let’s consider the music and what should go where. Just down the road from Cleveland, the home of the RRHOF is the town of Canton, Ohio, home to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Barring a serious cultural change and a major rewriting of history, Tiger woods,, Serena Williams and Babe Ruth will never be inducted there, for obvious reasons. Now Rock and Roll.

First, for the diversity crowd, I have a few numbers. Of the 77 acts inducted in its first ten years, 44 were either all black or featured black performers. Were they that much better?  The Beatles had to wait two years, along with the Beach Boys and  Bob Dylan  the Rolling Stones waited three, The Grateful Dead waited eight,, David Bowie and Pink Floyd, ten years. Whitney Houston who,, bless her heart, is about as not rock and roll as it gets, will be inducted this year while Pat Benatar, who has every bit as good a voice and a thousand times as much Rock and roll edge and swagger, not to mention Motorhead…Fucking MOTORHEAD have to wait while the so-called experts pander to the whiners.

I can sympathize a bit more with the ladies, who truly are, in my opinion, underrepresented to some extent. When the new Hip Hop Museum/ Hall of fame is opened in Harlem, I will watch with interest to see how long it takes them to induct Patsy Cline and Led Zeppelin. Until then, please know that I smell what you’re cookin’. It’s a big ol’ pan full of shut the fuck up. Time to play my guitar.

Goodbye, Neil Peart

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I can’t even get close to telling you how many of the musicians that have touched my life are now gone. John Denver’s music was like the comforting words of a friend. The genius David Bowie, whose entire life was a constantly evolving work of art,, opened my mind to beauty that I hadn’t even considered. Johnny Cash showed me, and the rest of the world, that you can die of a broken heart. Fresh tears flow down my face as I remember these wonderful people and the way they showed me the joy of having an open heart.

There are so many more I could mention, that could be an interesting topic for a later post. Now a few words about Neil.

I started listening to Rush in1982, when my sister handed me a copy of their classic, (then previous) album Moving pictures. I had heard Tom Sawyer before, but hadn’t paid much attention to the lyrics. That ended when I read these lyrics. Since that time, the Professor, as he is known to many, has been a sounding board for my own ideas about the world as well as myself. Steven Colbert asked him if Rush fans had a name, like “Dead Heads”. Neil’s reply was “They have their own names”.

The only drummer I can think of that is in Neil’s league is Keith Moon of the Who (If you didn’t know that, shame on you.), and that for opposite reasons.  It’s like they’re both tied into some huge wave of swirling chaos. Keith is riding his and Neil is driving his. To call him brilliant is an understatement only an Englishman could leave standing alone.

So now Neil Peart has departed this life. Here are a few words he left me:

Dreams flow across the heartland

Feeding on the fires

Dreams transport desires

Drive you when you’re down

Dreams transport the ones

Who need to get out of town

(Middletown Dreams, 1985)

So long, Friend.