Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Hall Monitor

In the course of playing a Wanda Jackson record on his radio show this morning, Bob Dylan paused to complain that Ms. Jackson was, inexplicably, not a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. While not passing judgment on the righteousness of his specific concern, I will say that this is exactly what the R&R Hall of Fame needs: controversy, especially at the highest levels of musical discourse. And you don't get any higher than Dylan.

There have been instances of people like Chubby Checker and Eddie Money whining about their own omission from Cleveland, but it's easy to dismiss such self-aggrandizement. But when icons start complaining about who isn't in, that can only focus interest on who has made it and who hasn't, and let's face it, most people don't have the first clue, aside from the obvious choices. (Lloyd Price, yes; Brook Benton, no. The Lovin' Spoonful, yes; Cheap Trick, no.)

What the Rock Hall needs is for ordinary fans to care about who's in and who's not. I sense that the Hall doesn't want to make a big deal out of its omissions, for fear of coming across as snubbing people, but hey, if you want to have honorees, you've gotta have dishonorees as well. If Wanda Jackson becomes the Phil Rizzuto of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, that would be a great thing.

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