You're officially old, Gen-Xers. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation announced its 2007 inductees today. The exceptionally cool list includes some of the acts that Generation X once listened to to feel young and rebellious. As voted by 600 voters of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation and key members of the Illuminati, this year's inductees are...
Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five (Kid Creole, Cowboy, Grandmaster Flash, Melle Mel, , Mr. Ness, Raheim). Contribution to Rock and Roll: One of the first great rap groups to fuse old-school showmanship and state-of-the-art turntablism and rapping. Mixmaster Grandmaster Flash is one of the key players in making the turntable an instrument.
R.E.M. (Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, Michael Stipe) Contribution: Put college rock on the map in the '80s, long before "modern rock" became a long way to say "mock." Also taught skinny, effeminate guy rock fans that it was OK to wear eyeliner, suspenders, and an occasional dress.
The Ronettes (Estelle Bennett, Ronnie Spector, Nedra Talley) Contribution: Made make-out music for your parents. Also contributed to Spector's great Christmas album.
Patti Smith Contribution: Reinforced that horseshit Jim Morrison idea that it's OK to read poetry over music and pass it off as rock. Also paved the way for riot grrls like Ani DiFranco to not shave their armpits, while inspiring guys like R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe to form bands, deliver lyrics in a spoken-word cadence, and shave their armpits.
Van Halen (Michael Anthony, Sammy Hagar, Alex Van Halen, Eddie Van Halen, David Lee Roth) Contribution: Set the bar for ball-out, beer-soaked, arena-sized rock and roll that will never be matched. Then the band and David Lee Roth, and the pulled off the once-in-a-generation feat of (somewhat) successfully switching singers.
The five inductees will be honored at a ceremony on March 12, 2007 at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. That event is somehow connected to Cleveland's Rock Hall, but we still can't figure out how, exactly, beyond the shoes and sweaty jackets the artists donate to display on the shores of Lake Erie.
The induction party could be a real blast or a bust. Stipe, Smith, and Melle Mel could join Van Halen to jam out "Running With the Devil." But more likely, it'll wind up like an awkward college party, with the art crowd in one corner, the longhairs doing kegstands in another, and a tangibible tension in the air because nobody's sure who invited the black guys. -- DX Ferris