arts

But It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me

Every musical genre belongs to someone. Today’s kids have rap, hip hop, ska and our parents had ragtime and jazz, but baby boomers have always had a lock on rock and roll.

That makes it fun each year when the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland announces its latest inductees. This year they welcome Van Halen, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, R.E.M., the Ronettes. and Patti Smith.

REMIf you think some of these acts sound younger than others, keep in mind that to be eligible, artists must have issued their first single or album at least 25 years ago. Grandmaster Flash is the first rap artist vanhalento be inducted, so that means Generation X and Y may be nipping at our heels.

R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe noted that their band is constantly looking forward (a philospophy that Boomerangas enthusiastically endorses), but appreciates the fact that the Rock Hall of Fame is honoring their body of work.

Van Halen is almost iconic for his brand of blistering guitar solos, and pattismiththereby inspired millions of air guitarists who followed his lead. It may have helped to nurture the idea for the mockumentary, This Is Spinal Tap.

The Godmother of Punk, as Patti Smith is known,pioneered the punk rock offshoot in the 1970s from lower Manhattan. She also introduced a feminist-intellectual flavor to rock that had been missing up to that grandmasterpoint.

Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five pioneered many of the DJ techniques now taken for granted, with two turntable cutting and the use of a mixer. For many boomers, they were our introduction to rap.

ronettesTalk about icons, look at a photo of the Ronettes. Those are genuine beehive hairdos and they were the girl group with staying power. Estelle Bennett, Ronnie Spector, and Nedra Talley were taken under legendary producer Phil Spector’s wing to create his ''wall of sound'' style.

The trip to Cleveland would be great, but you can refresh your memory of these great artists by heading over to Apple iTunes to pick up some of their greatest hits to put on your iPod. If you do get to the Rock Hall of Fame, make the trip after the March 2007 induction and you can see and hear exhibits devoted to this latest group of inductees.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

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BoomSpeak - For babyboomers - by babyboomers.