Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Process

In the entertainment industry, I imagine the greatest honors to be lifetime achievement awards bestowed by major ceremonies - such as the Grammy's, Academy Awards, Golden Globes, and so on.  The ultimate stamp is a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  

In music, I imagine the most profound honor to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Tributes from established artists launch the celebration of careers earned from debut decades ago to a future with no end.  Inductees in every class deserve the spotlight.

Image result for rock and roll hall of fame award image

Tributes and celebration are exciting, but what exactly is the process of being inducted?

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation's Nominating Committee selects a group of artists.  Ballots are sent to over 1,000 historians, members of the music industry, and artists (including living inductees).  The five performers to receive the most votes join the given year's induction class.

As of 2012, fans can vote for nominees they want to be inducted.  The top five votes create one ballot that goes toward the submitted ballots.

Artists are eligible for induction 25 years after their debut release.  Eligibility also includes -

"...significant impact on the development, evolution and preservation of rock and roll."

(Induction Process)

Categories -
Performers - Bands/Solo artists demonstrate musical excellence
Influence on other performers or genres
Length and depth of career and catalog
Stylistic innovations
Superior technique and skills

Ahmet Ertegun Award
Honors songwriters, producers, disc jockeys, record executives, journalists and other industry professionals who influence rock & roll

Early Influences - Prior to rock & roll...Profound impact on music's evolution and iconic artists

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Award for Musical Excellence
Honors performers, songwriters, and producers who have changed the course of music history ... Create influential, important music with originality ... Timeless distinction

The Singles - Songs that have established permanence in history and influenced rock and roll ... Immense cultural impact ... Merit a place in history

(Source - Induction Process)

And there you have it - the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction process.  I can only wonder who will comprise the Class of 2020.

Roxy Music Hall of Fame 2019 - Tribute

On March 29, 2019, Roxy Music was inducted into the prestigious Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Their tribute was offered by John Taylor and Simon Le Bon, who received equal praise from fans in the audience.

Rolling Stone best captures the sentiments shared by John and Simon.

In a brief documentary following the Live from London DVD, Roxy Music was mentioned and so this is how I am aware of the English rock band.  Roxy Music is a British Music Icon Ahead of My Time.

Roxy Music formed in 1970 by Bryan Ferry (vocalist) and Graham Simpson (bassist).  Other members include Phil Manzanera (guitar), Andy Mackay (saxophone and oboe), and Paul Thompson (drums).  Brian Eno contributed on the synthesizer, Eddie Jobson contributed on the synthesizer and violin, and John Gustafson contributed on the bass.

Roxy Music influence in music genres -
- Glam rock
- Punk music
- New Wave
- Electronic composition

Roxy Music noted for -
- Glamorous fashion

Roxy Music - 1972 debut album
- Genres considered - Glam Rock, Art Rock, Progressive Rock
- No. 10 UK Albums Chart
(Source - Wikipedia)

Avalon - 8th/Final studio album (1982)
- Genres considered - Pop Rock, Synth-Pop, Art Pop
- No. 1 in the UK
- Platinum certification in the U.S. (1,000,000 copies sold)
- Gold in the UK (100,000 copies sold)
- Gold in Germany (250,000 copies sold)
- Gold in France (379,600 copies sold)
- Platinum in Canada (100,000 copies sold)
(Source - Wikipedia)

My take away -
I only know of Roxy Music through Duran Duran.  I can see the influence and impact Roxy Music had on Duran Duran in so many ways - from music genres to even fashion.  Roxy Music put a unique stamp on the music industry and deserves the ultimate honor of being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Monday, April 29, 2019

April Birthday Edition - Thriller

"Thriller" is my song of choice when celebrating my birthday on Set List.  According to my mother, "Thriller" was playing on the radio when she and my father were en route to the hospital.  

At 10:20 on Friday, April 29, 1983, I was a thrill to my mom and dad.

And so Thriller...

The cover has Jackson reclining in a white suit

(Source - Wikipedia)

- 6th studio album
- Released in November 1982
- Considered genres - Pop, Post-disco, Rock, Funk

Success -
- World's best selling album within one year of release (66 million copies sold)
- One million copies sold per week at the peak of Thriller
- Second best selling album in the U.S.*
*Follows the Eagles' Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975)
- First album to reach 30x Platinum in the U.S. (2015)
- 33x Platinum with 33 million copies sold (2017)
- 15x Platinum in Australia
- 7 singles reached the top 10 on Billboard Hot 100
"The Girl Is Mine"
 "Billie Jean" (Thriller topped the charts with this song) 
"Beat It" 
"Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" (a personal favorite)
"Human Nature" 
"P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)"
- One of the first albums to use music videos for promotion
- First artist to sell over one million song downloads in a week

Honors -
- 8 Grammy Awards in 1984 (record)
- Album of the Year
- No. 20 on Rolling Stone's The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (2003)
- Thriller inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame (2008)
- Best Album of the 1980's (Slant Magazine, 2012)
- No. 3 on "Definitive 200" by National Association of Recording Merchandisers
- No. 3 on Billboard Top 200 Albums of All Time
- Listed in the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry
- "Thriller" music video listed in the National Film Preservation Board's National Film Registry

(Thriller Platinum)

Point of intrigue -
- Thriller broke racial barriers to allow Michael Jackson appear on MTV and meet President Ronald Reagan
- Special edition reissues in 2001 and 2008
- Eddie Van Halen was a guitarist for "Beat It"

My take away -
I will always remember the announcement of Michael Jackson's death.  In Chicago, the weather was beautiful - shining sun, clear blue sky.  During the afternoon rush hour, every car in traffic had their windows rolled down with a variety of Michael Jackson songs blaring.  "Thriller" was the dominant choice that day.  On my day - April 29th - "Thriller" is the dominant choice my mom refers to in her annual story of my birth...

...And this is why I feature "Thriller" every year on Set List.

May Michael Jackson forever rest in peace.

Michael Jackson - Thriller (Official Music Video)

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Set List Sunday Favorite - The Who

In this edition of Set List Sunday Favorite, I am featuring The Who from the post, British Music Icons Ahead of My Time - The Who.  I specifically want to feature "My Generation" as the underlying theme from the British Music Icons Ahead of My Time series.

"My Generation" 
- Released in 1965 on The Who's 1965 debut album, My Generation
- No. 2 in the UK
- UK Silver Certification (250,000 sales)
- No. 74 in the U.S. 
- No. 11 on Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Songs of All Time
- No. 13 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of Rock & Roll
- No. 37 on VH1's Greatest Hard Rock Song (2009)
- The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll
- Inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for "historical, artistic and 
significant" value

"My Generation" 
- "encapsulated the angst of being a teenager"
- "...very much about trying to find a place in society"

(Source - Wikipedia)

My take away -
I find the quotes to be true of every generation - finding a place in society at an awkward time in life.  Where "My Generation" reflected the 1960s - a unique and unprecedented time in pop culture - my own generation has witnessed unprecedented American culture from the 1980s to the present.  Generations after me will experience the same.  "My Generation" is profound in musical message that will last always.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

British Music Icons Ahead of My Time - Duran Duran

Duran Duran - The Wedding Album - Cover.jpg

I am guessing you are wondering why I am including Duran Duran in the British Music Icons Ahead of My Time series.  An excellent guess.

Duran Duran's debut album - Duran Duran - was released in 1981.  The first single - "Planet Earth" - reached No. 12 on the UK's Top 20.  Duran Duran's second album - Rio - set the stage for international fame with the songs, "My Own Way," "Hungry Like the Wolf," "Save a Prayer," and "Rio."  The band became known as "the Fab Five" (where of course The Beatles were "the Fab Four").  (Source - Wikipedia)

When Nick Rhodes and John Taylor formed Duran Duran in 1978, they played in nightclubs.  When the original line-up came to be and recording sessions turned to successfully released albums, the public caught notice (including Princess Diana).  When the public became fans and saw true potential in Duran Duran's future, they simply grew up with the band because all were relatively the same age.  These fans are one generation ahead of me.  

I became a fan with the leaked release of "Ordinary World" in 1993, but began my Duran Duran collection with Astronaut.  My first ever concert was during the Red Carpet Massacre tour.  Fans in my generation are established.

With every new album and live performance, generations after me are catching notice.

One generation before me were once intensely excited when seeing Duran Duran live.  Generations after me may feel the same.  I just sing along.

When the original line-up reunited for Astronaut, Roger Taylor felt that the band would go on for a long time.  Although Andy Taylor is no longer with Duran Duran, the original four, like The Rolling Stones, never age and will most likely go on for a long time.

British Music Icons Ahead of My Time - The Rolling Stones


Question - Who would you consider the ultimate British invasion band to be?  The Beatles are an obvious yes, but The Rolling Stones date to the 1960's as well.

If you thought The Who's 50 Greatest Songs selections were intriguing, you will be quite impressed by the Rolling Stone list - 100 Greatest Rolling Stones Songs.  The majority of the list falls within the 1960's and 1970's.  A few are from the 1980's.

I know of songs well before me out of clear popularity, such as -

"I Can't Get No Satisfaction"
"You Can't Always Get What You Want"
"Start Me Up"

And then there is "Rock and a Hard Place" -
- Released in 1989
- No. 23 on Billboard Hot 100
- No. 63 on UK Singles

(Source - Wikipedia)

The Rolling Stones are a staple in the music industry - as a British band and as a global icon.  The better part of their career is well before my time, but The Rolling Stones never age and continue to capture the attention of my generation and those after me.  

Due honor to Mick Jagger

British Music Icons Ahead of My Time - The Who

The who its hard album.jpg

The Who classics that one generation before me grew up with are songs I have to research.  I am only aware of a select few on my own through shared interest with my mother and through current pop culture.

For example -

"Who Are You" (1978)
- Theme to the television series, "CSI"
- No. 31 on The Who's 50 Greatest Songs (Rolling Stone)

"My Generation" (1965)
- Rick Harrison, owner of a Las Vegas pawn shop featured in the reality History Channel television series, "Pawn Stars," is a huge fan of The Who ... Rick Harrison's passion for The Who is the only way I recognize the names of The Who members
- No. 3 on The Who's 50 Greatest Songs (Rolling Stone)

As for "Eminence Front" -
- Released in 1982
- No. 10 on The Who's 50 Greatest Songs (Rolling Stone)
- No. 68 on Billboard Hot 100
- One of my mom's favorite songs...So it is one of my favorite songs (especially being from the 1980's)

The Who are a British icon in the music industry, whether dating to the 1960's and capturing the attention of fans long before me or capturing my attention long after the band's established success.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Happy Birthday, Roger Andrew Taylor

On this the 26th of April, I thought I would honor Roger Taylor's birthday on Set List by taking a look back on his early life and career with Duran Duran.

Happy Birthday, Roger Andrew Taylor.

Roger Taylor Crop at SxSW.jpg

(Source - Wikipedia)

Roger Taylor was born on April 26, 1960 to a "modest family" in the suburbs of Birmingham, England.  

Roger's interest in drums began around the age of 12 and he self-taught himself by playing along to favorite records.

Point of intrigue -
Roger's first career hope was to be the goalkeeper for the English football club, Aston Villa.  (Football in England is soccer in the U.S.)  He did once play at Villa Park...but with Duran Duran for their 1983 charity concert.

Roger's early influences as a drummer include Paul Thompson (Roxy Music), Charlie Watts (The Rolling Stones), and Tony Thompson (Chic).

Roger's early years as a drummer include school and club bands.  In 1978, he formed a very short-lived new wave/punk band called the Scent Organs.  In 1979, Roger moved on to join Duran Duran.

(Humorous note - Nick Rhodes once said that when Roger Taylor and Andy Taylor joined the band, along with John Taylor, no one would take them seriously because of so many Taylor last names.)

Roger Taylor - "the quiet one" ... Prefers to speak through his drums

Roger Taylor & ; Duran Duran : 1980 - 1985
- Drummer for the band's first three studio albums - Duran Duran, Rio, and Seven and the Ragged Tiger
- Drummer for the live album, Arena
- In 1985, Duran Duran recorded the James Bond theme for A View to a Kill
- "A View to a Kill" became Duran Duran's second No. 1 hit in the U.S. 
- Roger Taylor's final performance with the original band members was at the 1985 Live Aid benefit concert in Philadelphia
- Tight recording and touring schedule and pressures of fame left Roger disillusioned with the band

Brief notes -
- In the first five years with Duran Duran, each original member earned two Grammy Awards
- Prior to leaving, Roger worked with Simon Le Bon and Nick Rhodes on the album, So Red The Rose (1985 Arcadia project)
- Roger played the drums for Power Station's "Some Like It Hot"

Roger Taylor - "the hermit of pop" ... Purchased a remote farm estate 
In 1986, Duran Duran announced Roger's formal leave from the band

Roger Taylor & Duran Duran : 1994 & 2001-Present
1994 - Temporary drummer for Duran Duran on three tracks for Thank You album 

2001 - Rejoined the original Duran Duran lineup 
5 sold-out shows at Wembley Stadium 
Played at Madison Square Garden
"Reach Up for The Sunrise" hit single ... Astronaut hit album
Achievement awards from Q Magazine, MTV, and a Brit Award

As of 2003, Roger Taylor has become an established DJ in the house and hip hop genres.

Red Carpet Massacre (2007) ... All You Need Is Now (2010) ... Paper Gods (2015)

At the end of this day, with history aside, Happy Birthday to Roger Andrew Taylor.

Duran Duran Girls On Film

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Honor Elvis Presley

January 8, 1935 - August 16, 1977

Point of intrigue -
Elvis Presley's death by heart attack was sudden and he was only 42 years old.  Elvis Presley had declining health and suffered from a drug addiction.

(A full history of Elvis Presley can be found on Wikipedia.)

Achievements -

As of 2017, Elvis Presley is the best selling solo artist -
600 million to 1 billion in sales

As of 2010, Elvis Presley holds the record for most songs on Billboard Top 40 
- 115

As of 2008, Elvis Presley holds the record for most songs on Billboard Top 100 - 152

Elvis Presley holds the record for most albums listed on Billboard 200 
- 129

As of 2015, Elvis Presley holds the record for most time at No. 1 on Billboard 200 - 67 weeks

As of 2018, the RIAA notes Elvis Presley 146.5 million certified sales in the U.S.

As of 2018, Elvis Presley holds the record for most gold albums (117), most platinum albums (67), and most multi-platinum albums (27).

As of 2018, Elvis Presley holds the record for most gold singles (54).

Honors -
Hollywood Walk of Fame
Presidential Medal of Freedom (2018)

(Source - Wikipedia)

My take away -
The entertainment industry honors a select few with iconic titles.  Lucille Ball is the queen of comedy.  Jack Benny is the king of comedy.  In music, Aretha Franklin is the queen of soul.  Elvis Presley is the king of rock and roll...or, quite simply, the king.  His "reign" was taken away from music and Hollywood entertainment far too quickly.  He will always inspire future generations.

Honor Ray Charles

September 23, 1930 - June 10, 2004

Point of intrigue -
Ray Charles was ranked No. 2 on Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Singers of All Time twice - in 2008 and in 2010.  As a side note, Ray Charles went completely blind by age seven.  Jamie Foxx portrayed Ray Charles in the biopic film, Ray.  Jamie Foxx won the 2005 Academy Award for Best Actor for the role.

(A full history of Ray Charles can be found on Wikipedia.)

Honors -
Inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame (1979)
"Georgia on My Mind" made the official Georgia state song
Hollywood Walk of Fame (1981)
Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (Inaugural Ceremony 1986)
Kennedy Center Honors (1986)
Inducted into the Rhythm & Blues Foundation 1991)
George and Ira Gershwin Award for Lifetime Musical Achievement (1991)
National Medal of Arts (1993)
The 2005 Grammy Awards were dedicated to Ray Charles.
A performing arts center at Morehouse College was named after Ray Charles and dedicated in 2010.
Inducted into the Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame (2015)

Other Honors -
Polar Music Prize (1998)*
*Swedish international award - founded by Stig Anderson in Sweden in 1989 - honoring one contemporary musician and one classical musician

Awards -
Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award (1987)

Honorary Degree -
(Fine Arts) University of South Florida (1990)
Dillard University (2003)

(Source - Wikipedia)

My take away -
Ray Charles had a rocky past in his personal life - one of which being drug addiction and multiple arrests.  Yet, his profound lifetime achievements in the music industry gloss over imperfections - whatever they may be and however severe they may be - to highlight the true talent that is Ray Charles.

Honor Aretha Franklin

March 25, 1942 - August 16, 2018

Point of intrigue -
Beyond her gifted musical talent, Aretha Franklin was a Civil Rights activist, women's rights activist, and a supporter of Native American rights.

Honors -
Hollywood Walk of Fame (1973)
Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1987)*
*First woman to be inducted
Kennedy Center Honoree (1994)
National Medal of Arts (1999)
Presidential Medal of Freedom (2005)
Inducted into the Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame (2015)
Inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame (2005)*
*Second woman to be inducted
Pulitzer Prize Special Citation (2019)*
*"indelible contribution to American music and culture for more than five decades" ... First woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize Special Citation

Other Honors -
Inducted into the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends Hall of Fame (2005)
No. 19 on Billboard Hot 100 All--Time Top Artists (2011)
Inducted into the Memphis Music Hall of Fame (2018)
Doctor of Humane Letters
(Case Western Reserve University 2011 & Wayne State University 1990)

Awards -
Grammy Legend Award (1991)
Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award (1994)
MusiCares Person of the Year (2008)
(Honors musicians for artistic achievement in the music industry and dedication to philanthropy) 

*Awards & Nominations -
Grammy Award Nominee 44 times
Grammy Award Winner 18 times
11 Albums Nominated for a Grammy Award
4 Albums Grammy Award WInner
American Music Award Nominee 2 times
American Music Award Winner 3 times
Critics' Choice Movie Award Nominee once
Golden Globe Award Nominee once
MTV Video Music Award Nominee 2 times
NAACP Award Winner 3 times
TV Land Award Winner once

Honorary Degrees -
Harvard University (2014)
New York University (2014)
(Law) Bethune-Cookman University (1975)

Honorary Doctorates -
(Music) Princeton University (2012)
(Music) Yale University (2010)
(Music) Brown University (2009)
(Music) University of Pennsylvania (2007)
Berklee College of Music (2006)
New England Conservatory of Music (1997)
University of Michigan (1987)

(Source - Wikipedia)*
Aretha Franklin background

*(Source - Wikipedia)
Aretha Franklin Awards & Nominations

Where normally I offer my take away at the end of an impressive history behind a given musician, I will end on only one note - always respect "the queen of soul."

Rolling Stone 100 Greatest Singers of All Time

In the Rolling Stone 100 Greatest Drummers of All Time compilation, I was very particular with who I shared on Set List - Phil Collins and Stewart Copeland.  They are the most familiar to me.

In the Rolling Stone 100 Greatest Singers of All Time compilation, I could easily list all 100 names...of course, then this post would exceed available space once posted.  And so I will simply name a few.

Point of interest -
Michael Jackson is ranked No. 25.  Prince is ranked No. 30.

(The full list can be found here.)

Top 3
1.  Aretha Franklin
Image result for aretha franklin images

2.  Ray Charles
Image result for ray charles images wikipedia

3.  Elvis Presley
Image result for elvis presley images wikipedia