News and Notes For This Day: Monday, November 6, 2023

Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame Edition: Part

Ceremonies were held this past week to honour this year’s inductees into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. Those so honoured included Kate Bush, Sheryl Crow, Willie Nelson, George Michael, MIssy Elliott, Rage Against the Machine, The Spinners, DJ Kool Herc, Link Wray, Chaka Khan, Al Kooper, Bernmie Taupin and Don Cornelius. 

While the event was held in New York City, the actual Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame Museum sits on the shores of Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland, Ohio. It opened in 1995. The rationale behind having the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame in the city of Cleveland dates back to the very beginning of the Rock n’ Roll era. Cleveland, Ohio was home for DJ Alan Freed. It was Freed who is credited with organizing the very first rock concert, as well as coining the phrase rock n’ roll. Cleveland’s geographic location is in the middle of northern trade routes that extend westward to Chicago and Detroit, eastward to Boston and New York City and southward toward Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington and Atlantic City, making it a central traveling route for bands and artists seeking to introduce rock music to the country back in the 1950s. It should also be noted that one of the deciding factors in Cleveland’s favour was the fact that backers of the museum raised millions of dollars of cash necessary to guarantee building loans would be honoured. I have never been to the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame Museum myself but it isdefinitely a bucket list destination. If you have been there, I would be interested in your thoughts. Please let me know in the comment box below.

The Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame is a museum that is intended to document and honour all aspects of the history of rock n’ roll. As such, those people who are honoured with induction into the Hall represent all facets of the genre. This means that if you go to visit the museum you will find exhibits honouring individual artists and bands, as well as songwriters, producers, promoters and so on. The 2023 list of inductees is a prime example of the varied and inclusive types of people who end up in the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. In this series of three posts, it is my intention to briefly list all of them. For each inductee I will link to any previous posts that I have written as a way of explaining who they are and how they came to merit a place in the class of 2023. If I have never covered them then I will write a brief note of introduction. If there is a video clip of that person accepting their honour then I will link to that as well. I will list who inducted them and finally, I will state if they were even there to accept their honour or not. 

One of the defining characteristics of those who became involved in rock music was that they possessed an anti-establishment streak. Initially, rock n’ roll was deemed to be the Devil’s music because of the sexual suggestiveness of the lyrics and the way the music made people feel and want to move. Rock n’ Roll was supposed to be primal and dangerous. Because of this mindset, there have been many musicians and bands who have been accepted for induction into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame who have refused to attend the ceremony because they feel that this institution is more concerned with the commercial aspects of rock music, as opposed to the creative elements true rockers possess. The list of those who have snubbed the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is legendary and includes such stars as David Bowie, Van Morrison, Paul McCartney, Axl Rose, Grace Slick, Roger Waters, Neil Young, Ozzy Osbourne as well as the most notorious no-shows of the all, The Sex Pistols who, in a letter read aloud during the ceremony, called The Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame “a piss stain”. This year’s induction ceremony also featured several notable no-shows whose absence became as newsworthy as their actual induction. So, without further delay, may I present the 2023 inductees into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame!!!!

1- Name: Kate Bush

    Criteria for Induction:  You can read all about Kate Bush and her illustrious career by clicking here, here and here to read previous posts that I have written about her.

    Did She Attend: No.

    Who Inducted Her: Big Boi, rapper. Former member of Outkast.  

    Notes: Kate Bush has been my favourite singer for close to forty years now. I have voted for her induction as long as the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame has allowed for public voting. Kate Bush has been a true original right from the very beginning of her career and is the antithesis of a corporate rock performer. I am thrilled she was recognized with induction into the Hall of Fame but not surprised in the least that she did not attend the ceremony.  

     Induction Ceremony Profile: The video link is here.

2- Name: Sheryl Crow.

    Criteria for Induction: Here is a post I previously wrote about Sheryl Crow’s life and career. You can read it by clicking here.

    Did She Attend: Yes.

    Who Inducted Her: Actress/Activist Laura Dern

    Notes: Sheryl Crow passed the generational baton during her performance when she teamed up with current Pop sensation Olivia Rodrigo. 


Induction Ceremony Profile: The link to the video is here.

3- Name: George Michael.

Criteria for Induction: Here is a post that I previously wrote about George Michael’s life and career. You can read it by clicking here

Did He Attend: No. Unfortunately, this was a posthumous award.

Who Inducted Him: Andrew Ridgeley, his former partner in the band Wham!

Notes: One of the best singers of his generation, George Michael was also a person of substance. He took several career-threatening stands: one was against the way he was being marketed based on his looks rather than his music and, as well, by being so open about his sexual orientation at a time when it was not always safe to do so. During the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, Michael’s rendition of “Somebody To Love” was hailed as one of the two best moments, along with David Bowie and Annie Lennox’s dynamic rendition of “Pressure”.

Induction Ceremony Profile: The link to the video is here.

4-Name: Missy Elliott.

    Criteria for Induction: Missy Elliott is one of the most successful and influential female Hip Hop singers of all time. She is known as the Queen of Rap. She has won four Grammy Awards and has sold over 40 million albums worldwide during her career. She is the best selling female rapper in history and the first female rapper to be inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. 

    Did She Attend: Yes.

   Who Inducted Her: Queen Latifah.

   Notes: When you attend a rock concert you expect to hear the musical act build to a grand finale that includes their best/most popular hits. Well, at the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, each inductee is honoured by performing themselves or else, by having others pay tribute. At the 2023 ceremony the organizers saved what they considered to be the best for last and that was Missy Elliott. “Get Ur Freak On!” had them dancing in the aisles for sure.

   Induction Ceremony Profile: The link for the video is here

***This concludes Part of my look at the 2023 Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Tune in tomorrow for Part when we will take a closer look at Rage Against the Machine, Willie Nelson, The Spinners, Chaka Khan and DJ Kool Herc. See you then. 

The link to the official website for The Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame Museum can be found here.

***As always, all original content contained within this post remains the sole property of the author. No portion of this post shall be reblogged, copied or shared in any manner without the express written consent of the author. ©2023

The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History….Honourable mention Song #11: Soak Up The Sun by Sheryl Crow (as Nominated by Nancy Martin) (KTOM)

This list of songs is inspired by lists published by radio station KEXP-FM from Seattle in 2010, as well as the latest poll taken in 2021 by Rolling Stone Magazine. For the most part I will faithfully countdown from their lists, starting at Song and going until I reach Song . When you see the song title listed as something like: Song (KEXP)….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. Song XXX (RS) means the song is coming from the Rolling Stone list. If I post the song title as being: Song (KTOM), it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In any case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, just so everyone is aware, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Here is the story behind today’s song. Enjoy.

KTOM: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.

Honourable Mention Song #11: Soak Up The Sun by Sheryl Crow (as Nominated by Nancy Martin).

If there is one thing that is becoming clear to me as these Honourable Mention songs come and go, it is how fortunate I am to know so many talented, kind and caring friends. Not all of my friends seem to be educators, of one form or another but, many are and today is no exception. I have known Nancy Martin for most of my teaching career and now, on into retirement. Nancy and I have never actually worked together but we swam in the same social circles and often attended the same professional development activities over the years. Hers was a familiar face that I was happy to see whenever we ended up somewhere together and now that I am retired, our paths still manage to cross on occasion; mostly via Social Media and that is ok, too. One of the things that has always stood out to me about Nancy, besides being a great teacher was that she was a nice person and someone who put great value on family. I try to be like that, too, which is why, I suppose, Nancy and I have stayed friends all these years.

Something else we share in common is our love of music. Nancy has chimed in, all throughout this countdown of ours, with comments, questions and shared stories. So, when I put out the call for Honourable Mention songs, I was happy to receive a prompt reply from her with her choice of “Soak Up The Sun” by Sheryl Crow. I was, also, not surprised that her rationale behind choosing the song was the warm memories that it carried with it for her of family vacations to sunny climes. So, let’s take a few minutes and explore the song, “Soak Up The Sun” and the career of Sheryl Crow and, while we do, let’s allow ourselves to feel the warmth of the sunshine on our skin. I think I feel happier already.

Sheryl Crow has had a very successful career. She has sold over 55 million albums worldwide and possesses several Gold and Platinum records. She has won seven Grammy Awards; most in the “Best Female Rock” category and has collaborated with some of the most famous singers of all-time such as, Stevie Nicks, Sarah McLaughlin, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton and many more. Sheryl Crow has released a string of hits that include some of the most well-known songs from the 1990s and into the 2000s…..”Everyday is a Winding Road”, “If It Makes You Happy”, “Leaving Las Vegas”, “My Favourite Mistake”, “All I Wanna Do”, “Strong Enough” and many more. She released her first album at the age if 31, after spending her twenties gaining experience as a back up singer for the likes of Michael Jackson on his “Bad” tour, along with Joe Cocker, Jimmy Buffet, Belinda Carlisle and Stevie Wonder. Crow always considered herself as a singer-songwriter in the mold of a Carly Simon or Carole King and, as such, when she was touring as a back-up singer in the 1980s, it was a time of the singer-dancer, when the likes of Madonna, Janet Jackson and Paula Abdul were stars. Once that trend came and went, Sheryl Crow felt the time was right to try placing herself at the front of the stage. She released an album called “Tuesday Night Music Club”, which contained multiple hits and earned her five Grammy nominations including, “Best New Performer”, which she won. From there, Sheryl Crow has never looked back.

The song, “Soak Up The Sun” was from her fifth album called, “C’mon! C’mon!”. As Sheryl Crow songs go, there is a mild bit of controversy about it. That controversy revolves more around a dispute with her songwriter partner, Jeff Trott. Apparently, the idea for the song was Trott’s. The story goes that Sheryl Crow had just had surgery and was flying back to New York with Trott, who was taking care of her on this journey. Along the way, he made a remark about how it was funny that they were having to leave the west coast and fly to New York in order to “soak up the sun” because, I guess, it was rainy where they had been and hot where they were going. Anyway, because Crow was feeling down and out after her surgery, the pair came up with the idea for a song about having a positive attitude during the down times and appreciating what you have, even if you can’t have everything you want at any given moment. The song was written shortly after 9/11 had happened and both, Crow and Trott, felt like the song would be a good tonic for the nation’s down mood at that moment in time.

The controversy came when it came time to shoot the video for the song. As you can imagine, for many artists, their work is their Art and maintaining the integrity of their Art is of paramount importance. Well, unbeknownst to Trott, Sheryl Crow’s management had signed a sponsorship deal with the American Express Credit Card Company. As part of that deal, the video for “Soak Up The Sun” was to, also, be a commercial for American Express Traveller’s Cheques. So, Crow was flown to Hawaii and got to showcase her good looks and healthy body while hanging out at the beach, surfing and the like. It was a video that really cemented Crow’s place as one of the shiny people in the music business. For Trott, watching his partner make a four-minute commercial while promoting herself and her physical appearance, was a disappointing way for a song that he wrote and conceptualized to be brought to the attention of their fans. But, as is often the case, most fans didn’t mind at all. For many women, Sheryl Crow became a role model for what a healthy, beautiful woman should look and feel like. For many men, seeing a kick-ass singer flouncing around in a bikini on the beach was ok by them, too. And finally, for family-oriented people like my pal, Nancy, the song’s message of optimism and togetherness and sunny times with those you love, fuelled the soundtrack of their summer in a way that hadn’t really been done since the heyday of The Beach Boys. Overall, “Soak Up The Sun” was as much an attitude as it was a song. It is no wonder that it was so well received by so many divergent groups as it was when it was released in 2002.

So, thank you, Nancy Martin, for nominating such an uplifting song. I am happy that it holds so many happy family memories of family vacations with those you love most. Thanks, as well, for taking part in this musical countdown journey of ours. I appreciated all of your responses along the way. It made the experience of writing all these posts more interactive and thus, more interesting for me, personally. So, thanks, my friend.

As for everyone else, let’s quit with the chatter and get to watching the video for “Soak Up The Sun” by the lovely and talented, Sheryl Crow. Enjoy.

The link to the video for the song, “Soak Up The Sun” by Sheryl Crow, can be found here.

The link to the official website for Sheryl Crow, can be found here.

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