Kudos to Stevie Nicks and Janet Jackson for their inductions into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame. Sadly, as I broke it down for Longreads.com, women still make up less than 8 percent of Rock Hall inductees. The Hall exemplifies the historical manhandling of women’s roles in rock, from Rolling Stone to Mystery Train to, now, the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I don’t just critique: I offer plans of action, including an (almost) all-female inductee list next year, and removal of Ahmet Ertegun’s name from the museum’s exhibition hall and industry award, in the wake of charges of sexual harassment. This isn’t the first time I’ve called the Hall to task for their systemic exclusion of female artists; sadly the numbers haven’t improved a bit since that 2011 Salon article.
Tag Archives: Stevie Nicks
I’d almost forgotten how much I loved Lou Reed’s music. Then I read Lou Reed: A Life by Anthony DeCurtis, a meticulous, thoughtful, and humanistic biography of a difficult, brilliant subject, and suddenly, I was pulling those records off the shelves again. DeCurtis’s was one of six books — including tomes on Gucci Mane, Stevie Nicks, Al Green, and TLC — that I reviewed for The New York Times recently. Story publishes in print Sunday, but you can read it online now.
Stick Joan Jett on a cheesy daytime talk show cum soap opera, performing with an erstwhile Disney cartoonish character, and she still looks totally bad-ass. With her hair black and long again these days, Jett exuded deadsexycool vibe beside Miley Cyrus’s puppy-dog earnest excitement and Oprah Winfrey’s fumbling for something to say, on today’s show featuring ’70s and ’80s women musicians and their progeny. Jett didn’t need Ms. Montana to shore up her vocals, the way Stevie Nicks relied on Sheryl Crow earlier in the show. As they duetted on “Bad Reputation,” “Cherry Bomb,” and “I Hate Myself for Loving You,” the rock legend’s voice shone in all its hoarse come-on. Cyrus tried to channel some of that old Runaways energy; she stared dotingly at Jett (as she should) and shook her long mane. At least Joan didn’t have to sing with Avril Lavigne, who didn’t once look at Pat Benatar during their Oprah moment “together”. (Benatar sounded great, btw.)
It was ironic to hear today’s teen idol singing the jailbait-virgin Runaways anthem. Chuck E. Starr told me that when the Runaways released “Cherry Bomb” as their first single, most DJs wouldn’t touch it with a ten-foot pole. That was before it was okay for starlets to cavort on strip poles on family television.
I was damn disappointed Joan and Cyrus didn’t get the stage time Nicks and Crow did. Joan is a goddess! Give her her props. They did get in a few bon mots.
“Rock ‘n’ roll when I grew up really had a context and a meaning. I felt like it was a religion for me,” Jett said. She talked about the sexism that still exists in the music industry. “I think there are many glass ceilings. I had a hard time in the Runaways being taken seriously.” Her advice: “Push back the pushback.” Oprah loved that one.
Miley offered the appropriate words of respect for her elder and hero. “It always meant something for me seeing Joan stand up for chicks playing guitar.”
Most of the show’s performers (who also included Salt N Pepa) came out for a feel-good singalong of “We Are Family” with Sister Sledge at the end. Except Joan. She’s too cool for shtick, as manager Kenny Laguna says. Not too cool for Oprah and Miley, but lines do have to be drawn. I hope she sells 10,000 more CDs for the prime exposure. And that Miley really doesn’t give a damn about her reputation.