Thursday, October 29, 2009

45 Years Later, Today, And What A Show! (Missed Opportunity)

Here’s Rolling Stone editor Jan Wenner:

"Look, there was a very special moment in the 1950s with Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard. It just all happened at once. It was incredible. Then in the 1960s, the Beatles and the Stones, emerging from England at the same time as America's greatest writer of any kind, Bob Dylan . . . are those moments going to happen again? Those are hard to predict, but a generation later came U2 and Bruce Springsteen. They do keep coming."

Being no scholar of hip hop I can’t say exactly when one of those moments happened in Brooklyn or Queens a few decades ago, but add it to the list if you know. We do know that the tiny town of Clarksdale, Mississippi and other cotton towns in the Delta exploded with music 20 or 30 years before rock and roll burst out. And then there are the other bursts—Detroit and Memphis in the mid-1960s, San Francisco later that decade, and even wet, dark, rainy cold Seattle in the late 1980s or early 1990s. (I was here but only hearing African music at the time.)

Anyway, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame begins its 25th Anniversary celebrations tonight with couple of concerts involving people like Bruce Springsteen, U2, Paul Simon, Aretha Franklin. Read about it here and here

I wish Chuck Berry was there to participate-- a bookend to T.A.M.I.  I have this funny but completely unsubstantiated feeling (saw an ad once with his name in lights) that he was invited but demanded a fee and therefore won't be on the bill.  Sort of like they say happened at Monterey Pop. 

Ah well-- he does it his way, and it's worked so far. (Some of the people who criticize his insistence on being paid for his work are the same people who demand, say, 100 times as much before appearing at stadium to perform; not to mention lavish spreads in the dressing room, helicopters, chartered planes, etc.  Give me and the man a break!)

But I'd like to see him honored the way he ought to be honored.  This could have been (should have been) it.  And who knows-- maybe it'll happen anyway!

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