Our next 2019 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee is the British hard rock band Def Leppard, who have been eligible for inclusion since 2005. This is the first time they have been up for nomination, which is frankly shocking.
Def Leppard is one of only a handful of bands with more than one Diamond album (more than 10 million copies sold). Their company include the Eagles, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and Van Halen, all of whom have been in the Hall for decades. They have sold 36 million albums overall, and every rock band in that ballpark is already in.
This year’s batch of new inductees into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is varied and interesting enough to warrant a series of blog posts. In fact, looking back at the lineups from the past several years, I’m kicking myself for not doing this before now. Maybe I’ll start a new series and work backward.
Alphabetically, the first new inductee is The Cure. The English New Wave band has been eligible since 2004 and was nominated once before (in 2012) before making the cut this year. They released 13 studio albums in the 30 years from 1979 to 2008 and gave voice to a generation of disaffected mopers.
We’re definitely in a golden era for female songwriters, whether because there are more of them releasing material or just more of them given the chance. By pure coincidence, the last several artists I’ve written about (all of whom have dominated my playlists) have been women: Maren Morris, Billie Eilish, Lana Del Rey, The Beths and now Jenny Lewis.
Lewis has released On the Line, her first album since 2014’s The Voyager, a record that featured my #1 song of that year and that I named my #2 album of the year and my #8 album of the 2010’s up to that point. That’s quite an act to follow!
One of my favorite recent finds is the New Zealand indie pop band The Beths, who released their first full-length album last year.
Led by lead vocalist and sole songwriter Elizabeth Stokes, the band The Beths most reminds me of (in spirit, if not in sound) is Ben Folds Five. Stokes is the driving creative force of a musically tight trio that brings a melodic, punk-light energy to songs about modern relationships. And they have great backing vocals, too.
Every so often the Billboard charts serve up fodder rich with philosophical implications. Such is the case with the track currently sitting at #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100, Lil Nas X’s ‘Old Town Road.’
This one minute and 53 second banjo-fueled “country trap” ditty (the shortest #1 since Herman’s Hermits reached the top spot with ‘I’m Henry VIII, I Am’ way back in 1965) debuted on Soundcloud and became a viral hit, rocketing to #1 on the Hot 100 and the Hot R&B/Hip Hop chart, but (controversially) not the Hot Country chart.
John Hiatt’s 2000 album Crossing Muddy Waters is an entirely acoustic affair, recorded with two backing musicians and no drums. It was the first fully acoustic recording in the legendary singer-songwriter’s storied career.
Today’s random selection is the title track, one that (like many of Hiatt’s songs) has been performed by many others. I can’t imagine you’ll find a more effective version than this one, though.
This is the third Random Weekend appearance of a song from Green Day’s 2004 punk rock opera, American Idiot. While I enjoy the album, it’s telling that I have never posted about it deliberately but only through these random spins of the musical dial.
I’ve always appreciated this album more for the musical variety than the story, which I haven’t taken the time to fully comprehend. Today’s track introduces St. Jimmy, the alter ego of Jesus of Suburbia, and blah blah blah.