2011 Rock Hall Nominees: Who will get in? Who won’t? Rob tells all

With the 2011 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees just announced, there are a couple easy picks and many nominees that elicit a “huh?”  Plus, the slights just keep on comin’ 

First, who is not nominated: Cheap Trick, Rush, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Devo, Stevie Ray Vaughn or KISS. And how about Willie Nelson? It’s criminal, I say. 

Among the 15 artists, first-time nominees (artists who released their first record in 1985 are eligible for the first time) include Bon Jovi, Tom Waits, Neil Diamond, Donovan and Alice Cooper. Previously nominated artists include J. Geils Band, LL Cool J and the Beastie Boys, along with New Orleans legend Dr. John, disco queen Donna Summer, and R&B/disco act Chic. Also nominated are Laura Nyro, Darlene Love, Chuck Willis and Joe Tex.  Continue reading “2011 Rock Hall Nominees: Who will get in? Who won’t? Rob tells all”

Santacular Christmas Countdown – #3/#2 – Phil Spector/Darlene Love

Phil Spector – A Christmas Gift For You album/”Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” – Darlene Love

We put #2 and #3 together here, because we can.  At #3 is the album A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector, released in 1963 (on November 22, the day Kennedy was shot, so not the best possible moment for the music).  Echo-filled, kitchen sink-added, girl group-heavy music from Spector, and one of his genius moments.  The record has been re-released this year, and features a number of iconic performances, detailed below.  The song that comes in at #2 is the Darlene Love-led “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” from that record, and earns its spot here in part because of its current relevancy through the inclusion by David Letterman of Love and the song on his Christmas show each year.  She still can belt it out, and Paul Shaffer and the band are able to elevate her performance through their own playing.  A thrilling homage to the greatness that was girl groups – filtered through Spector – in the 1960’s.

WIKIPEDIA: Several  tracks became iconic Christmas songs for generations, such as the original (and flop) single “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” and the well-known “Ring-a-ling-a-ling Ding-dong-ding” background vocals in The Ronettes’Sleigh Ride.” The arrangement of Bruce Springsteen‘s version of “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” is based in part on the Crystals‘ version of the song , and U2‘s late 80s cover of “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” that appeared on the first “A Very Special Christmas” album is patterned after the Darlene Love original that appeared on the Spector LP . The Ronettes version of “Frosty The Snowman” and “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” also usually get some radio airplay during the holiday season.

Santacular Christmas Countdown: #17 – U2


From the uber-successful “Very Special Christmas” album (the first one), our earnest boys of U2 take the Darlene Love/Phil Spector classic “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” and give it the echo-and-Edge treatement. 

(Did You Know? –  Love provided backing vocals for the cut).

Recorded during the height of their initial powers, just after “The Joshua Tree” release, the group adds enough drama and bombast to keep up with the exquisite original.  Gotta admire U2 for their ability to take on anything (song, idea, sound) and end up giving it their own stamp.  Not as much a staple of rock radio at Christmastime as it should be. Recorded July 1987 during a sound check at a stop during their Joshua Tree Tour in Glasgow, Scotland.  The video was filmed in Baton Rouge, LA.  Though just 2:18 in length, enough time for Bono to fully rock the hat.