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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Basic Biittner: Why no Hall of Fame for . . .

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

My name is Dan, and I am a Hall of Fame addict. I have loved music and sports all my life, and love to see the "greats of the game" honored for their achievements. I have visited the baseball hall in Cooperstown, New York three times, and have also been to the basketball hall in Springfield, Massachusetts and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. I would return in a minute to any of them, and also would like to go to the College Football Hall in South Bend, Indiana, the Pro Football Hall in Canton, Ohio, and the Hockey Hall in Toronto some day.

I follow the news of Hall elections and inductions faithfully, and have found that, in all cases, there is considerable discussion and debate about "who got in and who didn't."

Fans have even organized campaigns to champion their "candidates," and in at least two cases concerning the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the organized campaigns MAY have persuaded voters to select the candidates for induction. It's really hard to prove, because the candidates (Bob Seger and Lynyrd Skynyrd) were legitimate candidates who had been passed over for a number of years, and maybe the "time was just right" for their selection. Who really knows, or cares? They're both "in" now, and that's good.

Several other artists who I feel deserve induction have not been selected, and, in most cases, have not even received much support.

Here are Biittner's candidates for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (note: artists are not eligible until 25 years after their first recording) :

The Ventures - a Seattle-based instrumental group, they inspired many a 1960s teenager to take up the guitar. Their hits included "Walk , Don't Run" and the theme from "Hawaii 5-0," not to mention one of the best Christmas albums ever.

Neil Sedaka - Composer and performer of many sixties pop hits, including "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do," "Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen," "Calendar Girl," and "Oh Carol!" (written for Hall-of-Famer Carole King when they were both teenagers). Made a brief comeback in the 70s, thanks to Hall-of-Famer Elton John, recording "Laughter In The Rain," "Bad Blood" (with Sir Elton), and a slowed down, "lounge singer" remake of "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do"

The Doobie Brothers - Prolific hit makers in the seventies - Their first lineup produced classics like "Listen To the Music" and "China Grove," and their second lineup, featuring Michael McDonald on vocals, contributed the Grammy-winning "What a Fool Believes" and my favorite, "Black Water." The Doobies are still staples of "Classic Rock" radio stations.

Three Dog Night - My favorite group from the early seventies. They presented an unusual lineup with three lead singers (who did not play instruments), and had an amazing run of hits. The group did not fit the standard mold of the time, as they did not write any of their own songs. In retrospect, I think the group (or whoever chose the songs they recorded) had a very keen eye and ear for material. Their hit songs included music by unknown composers like Laura Nyro ("Celebrate"), Hoyt Axton ("Joy To The World" and "Never Been To Spain"), John Hiatt ("Sure As I'm Sitting Here"), Allen Toussaint ("Freedom For The Stallion" and "Play Something Sweet"), Randy Newman ("Cowboy" and "Mama Told Me Not To Come"), Harry Nilsson ("One"), and some guy named Elton John ("Lady Samantha" and "Your Song"). They also did a great version of a little-known Lennon-McCartney song - "It's For You" - to kick off their first album. Like Elvis and Sinatra, they were not composers, but rather song interpreters - and damn good ones.

John Mellencamp - The Indiana farm boy has written and performed great rock and roll music for close to 30 years, and has also been one of the forces behind the annual Farm Aid concerts. Hits include "Jack and Diane," "Hurts So Good," "Pink Houses," and "R.O.C.K. in the USA."

For a list of who has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, go to www.rockhall.com. They can tell you who to contact (the Rock Hall Foundation) if you want to make a pitch for any of my neglected performers, or for anyone else whose case you'd like to present.

Rock On!

Dan Whitney
Basic Biittner