The Friday Morning Listen: Abba – Arrival (1977)

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All of the Internet chatter this past week about this year’s Rock Hall of Fame nominations has been great fun. It’s great fun every year. There are those who a) are disappointed that their favorite band has been snubbed yet again, b) just can’t believe that “Band X” is in but “Band Y” is not (see a.), and c) wonder what in gawd’s name does a nominee have to do with “rock and roll.”

My favorite isn’t even on that list. The best complainer is the one who thinks the entire concept of the hall of fame is just stupid. Rock music was built on rebellion and shouldn’t be put in a museum. Uhm yeah, I see the point. I just don’t agree. Oh, and then there’s Johnny Rotten, who famously called the museum a “piss stain.” You ever get the feeling that that guy would call his mom a piss stain if it’d garner him a little more attention?

Maybe the hall is poorly named, conjuring up some stodgy art museum that requires hushed tones and reverence. Physical presentation and labels aside, the point to me has always been about celebration. We’re celebrating these artists — what they’ve brought to the table, maybe how they helped to change the game, and their influence. What makes some of this tricky is how people define “rock and roll.” Well OK, that and the inevitable collision of cultures that happens when fans of supposedly unrelated musics butt heads: rock music vs. hip-hop vs soul music and on. Some people just insist on purity. Never mind that there are sub-genres of all three that mash the styles together.

So while it does annoy me that the hall seems to overlook a few really big names, I’m just glad that there’s an organization putting this stuff out there. Hey, I wasn’t the biggest Laura Nyro fan but if the coverage of her causes one more person to go check out a song or two? It’s a good thing. How can it not be?

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Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to Jazz.com, Blogcritics.org and Salon, he originated several of our weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Mark Saleski
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