Saturday, March 25, 2006

Renaissance and the Moody Blues in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame...Why Not?

There are several things in this life that seem to cause rather heated debates. Ethnic politics, religion, why there are shortstops who have a lifetime batting average of .210 getting paid 10 million dollars a year...those sorts of things. Add to this the election process that surrounds those who get into the Rock and Roll hall of Fame . While this debate is not going to bring abour world peace or even restore General Motors to profitabliity, it is contentious none the less because this list, like beauty is subjective.

This list of those who are in is impressive due to the fact that it covers the spectrum of rock or what had led up to it. Howlin' Wolf, Buddy Holly, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Leiber and Stoller, Ahmet Ertegun...you get the idea. Some heavy hitters are on the dais and that is way cool. With that said, there is one area of rock that overlooked...the area of progressive or classical rock.

If you are not familiar with the genre, the term means music that incoprorates classical elements [orchestras or smaller additional musical accompianists] and song structures that go beyond AABA or ABACAB [music students will understand what that means and this was before Genesis made an album with that name] as well as newer instruments be they acoustic or electronic [synthesizers such as the Moog, ARP, Roland, Oberheim, EMu, Prophet 5 and the grandaddy of them all -- the Mellotron]. Bands that are associated with this include Emerson Lake and Palmer, Rush, Electric Light Orchestra, Pink Floyd, The Alan Parsons Project, Yes, Genesis, Mike Oldfield and others. However two that are near and dear to my heart [plus my cats like them!] are Renaissance and The Moody Blues. And it is not just because these are my two favorite bands.

If you have never heard Annie Halsam sing or saw Jon Camp play bass [who it has been mentioned in other corners was the bass player Stanley Clarke looked up to....what does that tell you?] or Michael Dunford show his musicanship while

Renaissance
was still touring [I did not forget John Tout on Keyboards or Terry Sullivan on drums or the multitude of others who filled those positions in the 80's], you missed out on something rather special. One could call it almost entrancing. From their classic material like Prologue, Carpet of the Sun, Northern Lights to the new wave sounds of Camera Camera, Jigsaw and others, it was a major treat to go to one of their concerts. Even the last studio album they made, called Tuscany showed that after all this time they still had the chops. The fact that they also worked with some of the more famous orchestras in the US and abroad such as the NY Philharmonic, the London Symphony, the Royal Phiharmonic Orchestra and others before it became fashionable to do so [as in 'wow let's do this -- its a cool idea!!'].

As for the
Moody Blues
, these guys are one of the few bands still in existence that can after all this time put together not just great material but killer shows, with or without orchestras [Case in point: the show with the Colorado Symphony that has been featured on PBS over the years] . When Justin Hayward is at his best, there are very few who can touch him as far as his guitar playing technique is concerned. John Lodge is a good compliment on bass, Ray Thomas [now retired from the band but was their flautist for a long time] could give some rockers who play flute lessons and Graeme Edge on drums is crazy and cool. Their songs and albums are major classics and have become influences for many others. In Search of the Lost Chord, Seventh Sojurn, Every Good Boy Deserves Favor, Long Distance Voyager and the one the one that put them on the map: Days of Future Passed. Ask any music fan out there and they will tell you that not only do they know this album but also its two signature, classic pieces: Tuesday Afternoon and Nights in White Satin. [On their two live concert DVD's, Tuesday Afternoon is the first song played after the oveture]

So folks, let's get them in the hall. After all, if the Sex Pistols can be elected in, then Renaissance and The Moody Blues should be shoe ins. If rock music encompasses all influences, styles and ranges -- these pioneers of the classical rock form should be in because if it were not for them, some of the other bands listed at the top of this post may not have gotten the airplay that they did. The link about how the induction process runs is here .

2 Comments:

Blogger Minstrel said...

Very nice write-up. I agree with you 100%. One other band I think should be included with this elite group is also one of my favorites, Procol Harum.

1:37 PM  
Blogger Rheas Rants said...

Thanks and I agree as well on Procol Harum. Considering the album they did on a dare [the live one featuring 'Conquistador'] that would be reason enough.

This as well as 'Whiter Shade of Pale'. For some reason every time I hear it playing in the background in a movie or otherwise, I start to sing those words for it. Not a bad piece considering it is Bach.

Then again, these types of honors like the halls of fame, no matter that field tend to after they get some of the early trailblazers in, they forget others. [See the post on this blog about Buck O'Neil and the Baseball Hall of Fame]

4:23 PM  

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