2011 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees deserve the honor

Alice Cooper Band, Neil Diamond, Dr. John, Darlene Love, Tom Waits and Leon Russell are the performers to be inducted this year into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March.

When it comes to Diamond, Waits and Russell, my only question is, what took them so long?

One of the criteria for induction consideration is that 25 years must pass since a musician’s/group’s first recording.

That is part of the reason the Beatles and Bob Dylan were not inducted until 1988.

Although, it is my opinion that almost everyone in the initial two classes of 1986 and 1987 all deserved to be inducted previous to the Beatles and Dylan. Those first two classes feature most of the heavyweights of early rock ‘n’ roll and influenced the Beatles.

But back to this year’s inductees. All are deserving, and a case could be made for each of them to have been inducted sooner.

I am not picking on anyone in particular, but there are some artists — Blondie, Run DMC, Madonna and Donna Summer — already in the Hall of Fame that should not have been before the class of 2011.

But that’s another story.

Alice Cooper Band’s first record was released in 1969 first as the name of the band, and later Vince Fernier took it for his name. For 15 years Alice Cooper was as good as any rock band in the world.

With albums such as “Love It To Death,” “School’s Out,” “Killer,” “Welcome to My Nightmare” and “Billion Dollar Babies,” Alice Cooper has quite a legacy. (Besides, he has been in Triple Play Records.)

Dr. John began his recording career in 1968 after working as a piano player for artists such as Professor Longhair and Joe Tex under his real name Mac Rebenack. He changed it to Dr. John for his first record “Gris Gris.” Also known as the Night Tripper, Dr. John’s unique mix of blues, jazz, funk, Cajun and Creole credits him for creating “Voodoo Music.”

Darlene Love was part of Phil Spector’s wall of sound and was the vocalist on the classic “Christmas Baby Please Come Home” from Spector’s Christmas record and later covered by U2 and listed as one of rock critic Dave Marsh’s Top 30 singles of all-time.

Tom Waits first record, “Closing Time,” was released in 1973 and is just one of his many releases that are considered classics, by critics and fans alike.

“Nighthawks at the Diner,” “The Heart of Saturday Night” and “Swordfish Trombones” are just some of my favorites from an artist who transcends generations

Waits LPs are among the most sought after at Triple Play Records.

Leon Russell, one of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll session men of all time, is also a very good songwriter.

On his first release “Leon Russell” there were three classic songs: “Song for You,” “Hummingbird” and “Delta Lady.” All three songs have been covered fairly extensively.

I know Joe Cocker has covered several of Russell’s songs.

Neil Diamond started his career in 1968 and is responsible for classic songs such as “Solitary Man,” “I’m A believer,” “Shilo,” “Cherry Cherry,” “Kentucky Woman,” “Red Red Wine” and “You Got to Me,” all written early in his career.

As of 2002, Diamond was behind only Elton John and Barbara Streisand as most successful adult contemporary artist in the history of the Billboard chart.

Both Diamond and Dr. John were invited by the Band to perform at their farewell concert the Last Waltz in 1978. They were joined by Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, and Muddy Waters, all of whom are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Now it is their turn.

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Rock Cesario owns Triple Play Records, 530 Main St., and hosts “Acoustic Sunday” from 9 a.m. to noon Sunday on Drive 105.3 FM. E-mail him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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