This picture says it all. Bette Midler, yes, Bette Midler is on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee stage next to Alice Cooper, Neil Diamond, and someone else I can’t recognize. I’m afraid that’s not right. On what planet does “The Wind Beneath My Wings” singer – who once boasted of having Barry Manilow as a music director – deserve to be within a 10-mile radius of this ceremony, let alone attend, presenting, and sing at it? No offense to Bette, “Friends” is a good tune, but Rock and Roll? Come on now!
Wait – isn’t that other singer Darlene Love, who “people who know way more than me about music,” inducted into the hall this year? Do you mean to tell me that of all the people in Rock and Roll, Bette Midler was the best person they could find to induct her? It must have been a busy night for the hundred or so other artists with more musical street cred than singer-actress Midler. Phil Spector, the person most associated with Love’s singing career and who should be doing the induction, couldn’t make it. He’s in jail doing time for murder—pesky detail.
No offense to Love; she’s excellent on Letterman and terrific in the Lethal Weapon movies. Love might have had a massive career outside of Spector that is forgotten and inadequately recognized – maybe the RRHOF induction committee is on to something here. After all, recognizing overlooked geniuses like Hal Blaine and Earl Palmer is one of the great things they do.
But Love (not the Forever Changes one), ahead of Chicago, KISS, Moody Blues, Rush, Yes, Depeche Mode, The Smiths, Def Leopard, the Doobie Brothers, and about dozen others, strikes me as flat wrong. Heck, I’d even put Hall and Oates on that list. Live from Daryl’s House is the most rock and roll show on the Internet. If you haven’t seen it, check it out – it’s beautiful!
I have defended the RRHOF for years in the face of the legions of naysayers who loudly proclaim it’s become nothing but a joke. I have said they are just bitter and are overlooking the good that is there. Last year’s RRHOF anniversary concert was spectacular. Buy the DVD now. The hall is full of many of the undeniably right people.
But Bette Midler?
The awards show will be on the music channel Fuse tomorrow night. Check listings.