Sunday, March 9, 2008

Madonna Enters The "Hall" Monday Night

When Madonna was writhing around onstage in a wedding gown to "Like a Virgin" years ago, the last place you'd expect to see her was in something called the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Time definitely has a way of changing things. On Monday, Madonna will come to the stage of the Waldorf-Astoria, along with classmate John Mellencamp, who also churned out hit after hit in the 1980s, The Dave Clark Five, Canadian songwriter Leonard Cohen, the Ventures, blue harmonica ace Little Walter, and the Sound of Philadelphia legends Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff.

But Madonna? Okay, she's the pre-eminent pop star of her generation, who stayed a step ahead of trends while adding in shock value to keep herself in the news. Along the way she's made sturdy, state-of-the-art pop such as "Material Girl," "Crazy For You," "Papa Don't Preach," "Cherish," "Like a Prayer," "Vogue" and "Ray of Light."

Yet "if you think of rock 'n' roll, Madonna is not the first name that comes to mind," said Steve Morse, longtime Boston Globe music critic who was a member of the hall of fame's nominating committee for seven years. He considers her selection, particularly in her first year of eligibility, an embarrassment.

Her music was never played on rock 'n' roll radio, he said. Some veteran rock artists like Deep Purple, the J. Geils Band, Steve Miller and Alice Cooper are still waiting for induction. Morse long and unsuccessfully argued on behalf of the late Gram Parsons. It is a well known fact that many of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees music was never played on Rock and Roll radio stations, James Brown and Aretha Franklin readily come to mind.

"It seems like this is driven by commercial achievement and sales, rather than having anything to do with the rock 'n' roll genre," Morse said. "It's really a commercial move. They'll be able to sell more tickets to the museum and more people will watch the broadcast." I somewhat agree with this statement. The term Rock and Roll has become sort of a catchall for many popular music categories, most of which are not really Rock and Roll in the truest form, but capture the essence of the music none-the-less. With rock's founding fathers already in the hall, the museum has broadened its meaning of rock 'n' roll to include rap and pop artists. Grandmaster Flash last year became the first hip-hop artist to make it.

Madonna is being inducted by Justin Timberlake. And unlike many contemporary artists she's not scheduled to perform. Instead, she chose Iggy Pop, the ultimate crawl-around-on-glass punk rocker who shares her Michigan ancestry, to salute her work. For the second straight year, VH1 Classic will show the induction ceremony live March 10th at 8:30 p.m. EDT.


Malcolm said...

The comments by critic Steve Morse seem a bit silly to me. Sure, Madonna's music isn't a staple of rock and roll radio. With that being said, how often does Gram Parsons (a pioneer in the country-rock field) get played on rock and roll radio?

I am disappointed that Madonna won't be performing tomorrow night. It comes off to me as being too big to perform at the ceremony. I feel the same way about Michael Jackson's decision not to perform the year he was inducted. He said that it was due to a foot injury (he was walking with a cane). My thoughts are "get a stool and sing at least one song, because your foot doesn't have anything to do with your voice".

pjazzypar said...

I agree, that she should perform, in fact I posted that on your site before I read your comments here. I didn't think of the "too big to perform" aspect, but you are probably right now that I think about it. She needs "to get her ass of her shoulders" and get on stage and perform. LOL!

X. Dell said...

My definition of rock and roll is broad, and would actually have included Madonna. Aretha Franklin and James Brown weren't played on rock stations because, in the sixties, there was no such thing. That had more to do with marketing, and the desire to separate black markets from white ones. At the same time, however, both artists were called rock artists by music writers and trade magazines well into the late-1970s, when disco really separated black music from white in the corporate scheme of things.

As for perfroming or not, it doesn't really matter to me that much one way or the other, but I would suspect that it would have more to do with her insecurities as a performer.

pjazzypar said...

x. dell,

I beg to differ on a couple of points. First of all there definitely were Rock stations in the sixties, at least there were in Michigan where I grew up and they did not play the music, which was considered soul music at the time. Madonna may be many things, but insecure has never been one of them. I am more inclined to agree with Malcolm that she may think she is just a little above performing at the ceremony. But who really knows?

Barbara said...

Interesting. I don't know what to think about most music award shows these days. But I do agree with Malcolm about her and MJ not performing, seems a bit uppity to me :(

pjazzypar said...

barbara, because of his persona, I would have expected that type of behavior from Prince because he is sort of aloof and elusive. I actually wouldn't be surprised if Madonna has a trick up her sleeve.

The Rock Chick said...

Like x. dell says, I have no problem with Madonna being included in the rock and roll hall of fame. I do think it's deserved.

I also agree that she's a bit of a diva. Ok, maybe a lot of a diva, but I am surprised that she wouldn't be performing and something as big as this. Maybe you're right, she might have a trick up her sleeve! said...

I can't wait to see Iggy "doing" Madonna myself! they are showing it all live on VH1 Classic FYI

pjazzypar said...

rock chick,

I really hope the "performing" Madonna shows up at the ceremony. When she was at the top of her game few could touch her.

gillianwhite, Iggy will do fine and thanks for the heads up regarding the telecast.

X. Dell said...

I'd be curious to know what those stations are, for if they existed in Michigan, they certainly were an anomaly to what was going on nationwide.

As for Madonna's insecurity, let's say I have some inside information. It's like Mark Twain said. Better to close your mouth and be thought a poor singer than open it and remove all doubt.

pjazzypar said..., WKNR and WAXB come to mind right off hand, but there were others. Since I don't know Madonna personally and I don't have inside information, I have to go with my gut feeling and what I have seen her do on the stage. While I could be wrong, she just doesn't strike me as insecure.

Mrs. Brownstone @ XBOX Wife said...

I will never forget seeing the first Madonna video I saw. It was at a sleepover, we were watching "Night Tracks" (anybody else remember that?), and we all just stopped and stared. We were fascinated by the way she was dressed and the way she danced.

pjazzypar said...

mrs. brown@xbox wife,

Weren't we all fascinated by Madonna. Who would have thought it would last? There certainly are better singers who you don't remember now. It takes more than a good voice, you got to have the whole package and that she does. She does Michigan proud.