Sunday, April 15, 2012

5 Reasons Why the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Got One Thing Right This Year

I have never loved Beastie Boys as much as I probably should. And I think it's a bit premature to be celebrating the trio's entire body of work, or Red Hot Chili Peppers', for that matter -- at least not before bestowing such an honor on Linda Ronstadt and ELO (Electric Light Orchestra). As for Guns N' Roses, I was probably the only person on the third floor of Hume Hall at the University of Florida who didn't get excited every time "Sweet Child o' Mine" and "Paradise City" played on the radio or MTV during freshman year.

I'd be more excited about the 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees the Faces had Rod Stewart not been in for decades now, and despite the awesomeness of "Mellow Yellow," I'm on the fence regarding the size of Donovan's overall contribution to rock & roll.

That leaves Laura Nyro, previously a two-time nominee and two-time reject who had been eligible since 1993, as the lone member of the Class of 2012 for me to be truly thrilled about. I arrived a little late to the Laura Nyro Admiration Society, not buying my first Laura Nyro album, Gonna Take a Miracle, her 1971 collection of covers featuring LaBelle on backing vocals, until after her 1997 death from ovarian cancer.

But by then she'd already been flooring me for years, via hits that she wrote for Barbra Streisand ("Stoney End"), Blood, Sweat & Tears ("And When I Die"), the Fifth Dimension ("Stoned Soul Picnic") and the incomparable Three Dog Night ("Eli's Coming," in my book, her great masterpiece). Please note that despite their impressive creative and commercial output, not one of those acts have warranted induction into the Hall of Fame (perhaps due to its bias against acts who don't write the bulk of their own material, which would explain Ronstadt's continued absence, and Dionne Warwick's), yet Donovan does.

Who cares that Axl Rose declined to show up for the April 14 induction ceremony? If there's anyone I wish could have been there to be welcomed into the boys club (by Bette Midler, who needs to do an entire album of Nyro covers pronto), it's Nyro. But if she had to leave so soon, I'm glad she left us with so many awesome tunes.

Barbra Streisand "Stoney End"

The Fifth Dimension "Stoned Soul Picnic"

Three Dog Night "Eli's Coming"

Blood, Sweat & Tears "And When I Die"

Laura Nyro "Save the Country"

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