Yes, recently it was indeed that time of year again — when what remains of the music industry gathered at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria to eat, drink and act even more self-congratulatory than usual at the annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
And while I must applaud the powers that may still be for inducting, at extremely long last, what remains of The Dave Clark Five and The Ventures, I couldn’t help at the same time conducting a virtual poll of my own on that one dire musical question that more often than not goes unspoken:
Should Pat Boone be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?
* R. Stevie Moore, DIY home recording iconoclast (whose father, Bobby, actually attended high school with Boone):
“Yes! Debate irrelevant — 50 hits, reason enough!”
* Carol Kaye, renowned session bassist:
“I think that Pat Boone should be inducted in the RRHOF because, regardless of who he supposedly ‘copied’ or tried to ‘sound like,’ he did something no other singer of his time did: He brought pop-rock into the mainstream of music — in a pretty good way, I’d say. P.S.: I played guitar (and then bass later) on many of his things. He was doing stuff back then that the ordinary pop singer didn’t do at all.”
* Jeff Tamarkin, former Goldmine editor:
“Of course not, but I don’t believe James Taylor should’ve been (inducted), either. Neither one is a rock ‘n’ roll singer.”
* Bob Brainen, DJ at WFMU-FM in New Jersey:
“It’s all relative, and there are people nominated and selected (who) have less to do with rock ‘n’ roll than him. As far as his place in the scheme of things, he was someone who watered down rock ‘n’ roll, but I enjoy some of his records, so I’d say yes. For one, he put out a great record produced by Terry Melcher called ‘Beach Girl’ in ’64 (written by Melcher and Bruce Johnston, who also did backing vocals). The flip-side was ‘Little Honda.’ ”
* Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits fame:
“If he is inducted before Davy Jones from the Monkees and Tommy Lasorda, who surely are more to do with rock ‘n’ roll than Pat Boone, I will make little Jimmy Osmond the editor of Q magazine.”
* Joel Selvin of the San Francisco Chronicle:
“I’ve heard Boone on this subject — the popularizer vs. the innovator — and while he’s right about the significance of the popularizer, his records were too god awful to last. I’m sorry — his ‘Tutti Fruitti’ doesn’t hold up, while Bill Haley’s ‘Rip It Up’ may out-rock Little Richard. I say vote for Fabian. When it comes to phony rock ‘n’ rollers, he’s the real deal.”
* Andrew Gold, perhaps best known for the 1977 Top 10 Billboard pop hit “Lonely Boy”:
“Sure. Why not? Because he’s a square? Besides, he wrote the words to my dad’s hit of the theme from Exodus (‘This Land Is Mine’).”
* Brett Milano, Boston music journalist:
“Yes, but only by virtue of that cocktail version of ‘Stairway to Heaven’ he did a few years ago.”
* Singer Lisa Mychols, formerly of The Masticators:
“The fact that Pat Boone even had even an inkling of a thought of changing ‘Ain’t That a Shame’ to ‘ISN’T That a Shame’ makes me wonder if he even knows what rock ‘n’ roll is! When rock ‘n’ roll was fresh, new, and exciting — where was he? He was singing adult contemporary! He wanted to make that song adult contemporary!”
* J.D. Considine, music journalist:
“What a non-issue. Seriously, Donny Osmond has a better shot of getting in than he does. It isn’t just because he’s a joke now — he was a joke back then, when people actually bought his records.”
* Chad Stuart of Chad & Jeremy:
“Why Pat Boone should not be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame:
Because he didn’t make a genuine contribution to the art form.
Because he made records which were a pale imitation of the genuine article.
Because he never poured his heart and soul into his recordings.
Because he was a pop singer, and they don’t count.”
* Musician/writer Gary Pig Gold is the co-founder of the To M’Lou Music label.