Rock the VoteEarlier this week, the nominees for the 2009 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame were announced. I have mixed feelings about having a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Rock music was originally counterculture. Back in the mid 1950s, it scared parents. Even though looking back, it was fairly tame. In the 1960s, it was a form of rebellion against the establishment. Now that music of angst is licensed to corporations to sell products. During the late 1970s, disco was king. Okay, I don't know what to make of that. During the early 1980s, MTV was born. MTV is alive and well over 25 years later. Sure, it doesn't show videos anymore. You have to watch VH1 for that. All of the important names from the pioneering days of Rock and Roll are enshrined. However, a pioneering group from the 1980s will once again be overlooked.
Over the last several years, musicians from the MTV generation have entered the Hall of Fame. Groups like The Police and R.E.M., and solo artists like Madonna and John Mellencamp can now call Cleveland home. I still laugh when I think that Michael Stipe of R.E.M. said he would refuse induction until The Monkees were given the call. The Monkees are still waiting. On April 4, 2009, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will induct five new members into the Cleveland shrine. The nine nominees are: Jeff Beck, Chic, Wanda Jackson, Little Anthony and the Imperials, Metallica, Run-D.M.C., The Stooges, War, and Bobby Womack. Once again, my guys aren't even considered.
Most people laugh when I tell them who I want inducted. Don't worry, I'm prepared.
Without Duran Duran, MTV might never have become the monster it is today. They formed as a band at the close of the disco era in the late 1970s and sprung to fame in the early 1980s with the launch of MTV. They embraced the new medium to appeal across the board. Their image, including clothing and hairstyles, appealed to girls. Meanwhile their videos, with monsters and scantily-clad women, captured the imagination of young boys. After all, their name comes from a character in Jane Fonda's 1968 film, Barbarella. The interesting note is that they did not spell the name properly. Milo O'Shea's character was actually Dr. Durand Durand.
Once I read an article that stated Duran Duran was to music videos what Pink Floyd was to stereo. Too often discussion about Duran Duran is limited to videos, but their music is good too. They have had 21 singles, including Girls on Film, Rio, Hungry Like the Wolf, The Reflex, and Ordinary World, reach the Billboard Hot 100. To date, they were the only band to have a James Bond theme song, A View to a Kill, reach number one. Their song, Electric Barbarella, was the first single available for download off the Internet. Take that Metallica.
People often associate Duran Duran with the 1980s, which was clearly their commercial peak, but they did experience a second wave of success in the early 1990s. Recently, Duran Duran have collaborated with Justin Timberlake and Timbaland. I thought that would give them a little more mainstream buzz, but nothing really materialized. Their lineup has changed some over the years. The original five members (Simon LeBon, Nick Rhodes, John Taylor, Andy Taylor, and Roger Taylor) reunited for an album in 2004. Today four of the original five are still together. Andy Taylor quit for his second time back in 2006.
Duran Duran has been eligible for induction since 2006. I hope the powers that be are listening, and watching old videos too.