Observer-Reporter 3/15/13 http://www.observer-reporter.com/article/20130315/NEWS01/130319508/0/SEARCH#.UUYokRc3u8A
Observer-Reporter 3/25/13 http://www.observer-reporter.com/article/20130225/NEWS01/130229533/0/SEARCH#.UUl9DBc3u8B
From Observer-Reporter 2/23/13 http://www.observer-reporter.com/article/20130225/NEWS01/130229533/0/SEARCH#.UUYnAhc3u8A
From the VVN Network 9/27/12 http://www.vintagevinylnews.com/2012/09/pop-music-hall-of-fame-being.html
SPIN Magazine 9/19/2012 http://americaspopmusichalloffame.org/?page_id=59
Editorial piece in today’s Observer-Reporter http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/editorial11/Pop–Hall-of-Fame-editorial
http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/washingtoncounty11/Oktoberfest—Hall-of-Fame Observer Reporter 9/17/12
http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/washingtoncounty11/pop-music-hall 8/30/12 Observer-Reporter Article
The following article appeared in the Observer-Reporter 7/16/12:
How do you differentiate pop from rock, jazz, or country?
by Terry Hazlett
As early as this week, the new home of America’s Pop Music Hall of Fame will be announced.
It was last week, though, when the Hall of Fame uttered its first note.It was one of utter frustration. And it was perfect.
Last Wednesday, the Hall of Fame nominating committee gathered in a small room in Canonsburg to take on the daunting task of establishing the first list of nominees. Interestingly, no members of that committee – the writer, the disc jockey, the singer, the author, the record collector, the music instructor, the musician or the music historian – used the word “daunting.” Instead, most said, “slam dunk”. How hard could it be to establish a list of 10 pop artists each from the ’40s, ’50s, ’60s and ’70s worthy of induction? Wouldn’t it be predictable?
Turns out it was as predictable as David Bowie and Bing Crosby singing a duet.
That actually happened. Everyone agreeing on a definition of pop music didn’t.
How do you differentiate pop from rock, country, soul or jazz? Isn’t popular music by its very definition an amalgamation of all those genres? Or is it simply what radio has referred to, over the years, as easy listening, adult contemporary, middle-of-the-road (MOR) or light rock, among other taglines?
The whole idea of a pop museum sprouted from the idea that some best-selling artists aren’t in any hall of fame because, well, their music isn’t quite “hallowed” enough for any existing hall. Two prime examples are Perry Como and Bobby Vinton, which is how Canonsburg latched on to becoming the home of the “pop” companion to Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The nominating group eventually settled for one rather simple qualification: that the potential inductees are top 40 artists that were also being played on easy listening stations during their hey day.
The first three nominations were indeed that slam dunk – Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and the Beatles, a fairly linear description of what popped music over those four decades. From there on, though, the only thing that popped were the veins in the foreheads of the individuals in the room. Rolling Stones? Bob Dylan? Barry Manilow? Are you serious? And about which one?
Without revealing the nominations (which will be announced in September) here’s an inside look at how the exhilarating, agonizing and enlightening nominating process began.
The Bee Gees – You can’t deny their popularity, their record sales and their place in pop history, but were they a pop act? Yes and no. They started as rockers (and a WDVE staple) with their ’60s hits, moved to pure pop in the early ’70s, then became disco royalty. But, collectively, are they the cream of the pop crop or a music chameleon?
Chubby Checker – Famously rejected by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame multiple times, it was argued that Checker may well be the reason pop music survived. His dance records, particularly “The Twist,” kept Top 40 music viable from 1960 to 1963, when it was perilously close to collapsing. But Checker’s career was short, and his ’45s are similar in nature. And what did he save – pop or rock?
Rosemary Clooney – You know you’re in a room of passionate music folks when Clooney’s name prompts a 15-minute discussion of her value as a pop singer compared to Patti Page and Doris Day. Page scored the most hits, but who had the better voice? And, was Clooney’s success due to her movie career or her singing?
Pat Boone – Undeniably, he was the most popular artist after Elvis in the late ’50s and early ’60s. But his forte was cherry picking great songs that had previously been recorded by black artists (which, at the time, many easy listening stations wouldn’t play). so was he a pop star or an R&B ripoff?
The Monkees – They defined teen pop in the mid-sixties and their albums, for a time, outsold the Beatles. Sure, the guys didn’t play their own instruments – at first – but, in a sense, they progressed as much as the Beatles over their career. And they certainly knew how to pick great pop tunes to record.
The Ventures, the Lettermen, Herb Alpert – These three acts sold a gazillion albums in the 1960s (check out those garage sales) and always seemed to have singles on the charts, even if they barely scratched the Top 20. Still, if you think pop music during that decade…
The Association – Their “Cherish” and “Never My Love” are two of the top jukebox songs of all time, as well as two of the most-recorded songs in pop history. But they had only half-a-dozen hits and famously turned down recording “MacArthur Park.” That alone deducts a point – or should it?
Chicago – One of the best-selling acts across the decades, but were they pop or jazz? Or a rock-jazz fusion?
Neil Diamond – No denying this guy’s a superstar as a vocalist and songwriter. But was he more influential as a rocker (“Thank the Lord for the Nighttime,” “Cherry Cherry”) or as a pop singer?
Dave Clark Five, Paul Simon, the Coasters – They weren’t even discussed. Oops.
BIng Crosby – “White Christmas” was the best-selling single of all-time (until it was eclipsed by “Candle in the Wind”), but did Crosby create crooning or copy it? And….
The Archies – If we’re looking at spectacular pop successes, you can’t look past “Sugar Sugar” as pure pop confection. But, really, is a studio band Hall-worthy based on one enormous hit, even if it defined pop music in 1969?
What came out of that particular debate is great news for Washington and Greene county residents. Because you live in the backyard of this national museum, you’ll get to play a role in selecting inductees. Once details are hammered out, the committee will announce how you can help pick the iconic pop songs of the ’40s through the ’70s. We’re talking “Sugar Sugar,” “My Girl,” “Sweet Caroline,” “Brown-Eyed Girl” and “Tie a Yellow Ribbon” – or are we? We’ll be seeking your input soon.
By the way, the banter over potential inductees that particular day went on and on, eventually evolving into e-mail exchanges. To date, the committee has given a collective, if not unanimous, thumbs up to 25 of the 40 finalists.
Dickering over the final 15 will be pure hell.
Or – if you’re a diehard music fan – pure heaven.
During our recent event, Hot Diggity Dog Days which celebrated Perry Como’s 100th birthday, we announced to the world plans for the Hall of Fame in Canonsburg. Here are a few of the articles…..