Want to start an argument? Try having a conversation with someone you care about regarding the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. More to the point, try discussing the relative merits of any particular artist or group who find themselves enshrined. This year offers a couple of very exciting diversions.
No, I'm not talking about Jimmy Cliff, though one could choose to take issue with the reggae pioneer's appearance in the Robin Williams island treat, "Club Paradise." It was the eighties, after all, and we all did things back then we weren't expressly proud of. Speaking of proud, it was the induction of ABBA that I thought might bring about the biggest groundswell of support from my wife, who has a special section of her iTunes devoted to the Swedish supergroup. I was surprised by her reaction: "Rock and roll? Not really." Her love for Benny, Bjorn, Ani-frid and Agnetha would not get her past the distinction: Rock and Roll. Surely there's a Pop Music Hall of Fame where they would be more comfortable, even revered. Perhaps by the same rabid fanbase that bought Animotion's second album.
Then there's Genesis. This one has some pretty clear party lines: with Peter Gabriel or without. I tend to favor the Gabriel version, though at times they seemed to be pushing just a little hard on the "art" side of the "art-rock" thing. The same cannot be said of the Phil Collins era, where hit-making and radio play was the order of the day. It's not surprising that even the celebration of the band's career couldn't bring the group back together. Peter Gabriel skipped the Hall of Fame ceremony, citing the need to prepare for his solo tour, while Phil sniped "we've been doing it for years without him, anyway."
Ouch. Happily, Iggy Pop showed up with the Stooges, and thanked his fans for being so cool." That's when the sixty-seven year old pulled off his shirt and got to work. And now let the discussions begin about the relative merits of Mister Pop's post-punk abs.