Saturday, February 13, 2021

Them Too

 If you are having trouble remembering where we are in the swirl of a calendar we have experienced since last March, I advise you to take clues from those things around you. Not unlike remembering a truck stop on a desolate stretch of highway, you can use certain recurrences as signposts in this wilderness. Now that the election is over and the Christmas lights have come down and the inauguration with its pomp and the riots that preceded it have gone by, it might be a little hard to grab hold of exactly where we find ourselves. 

It's time to announce the finalists for this year's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And there is some good news: A whole bunch of women received nominations. Mary J. Blige, Dionne Warwick,  Tina Turner, Kate Bush, Chaka Khan, and Carole King all made the short list this year. I understand how some of those names might cause a bit of head scratching when it comes to the "rock and roll" part. Ms. Warwick's talent is undeniable, but I can't be sure of her rock cred, exactly. 

No matter. This year, we have seven nominees who happen to be women. In a year that has already seen the first woman elected Vice President of the United States, it seems like a relief. Not that this solves any equity issues by itself. Let me explain further by noting that the seventh name I carefully omitted from my initial roll call is The Go-Gos. Are the Go-Gos. That's the name of the group, not one person so conjugation gets a little messy. As do the justifications for keeping this band our of the Hall for so long. With all due respect, the Go-Gos rocked much harder than Carole King, and it has been forty years since their debut album was released. Beauty and the Beat became the first, and to date only album by an all-female band that wrote all their songs and played all their instruments to go to Number One on the Billboard 200. That's history. That's what a Hall of Fame is for, those who blazed trails and opened doors and made it possible for those who came afterward to ride a little smoother. 

On the testosterone-y front, we've got bands like Iron Maiden and Foo Fighters, both of whom can be found in my record collection, and whose efforts to expand their own section of rock's frontier is notable, but first? Only? Not really. I am not sure where to put the Beautiful Mutants of DEVO in this discussion, but I confess I will be pulling for them and the Go-Gos as the date gets closer to the actual induction, which happens in May. If you're curious, that's the month that comes after April. It's February now. Plenty of time time stir up some enthusiasm for those who kicked down the door to the boy's club. 

About time. 

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