The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremonies were last night and I got to watch the immortal Bob Seger get inducted. I generally have little use for Kid Rock, who gave the induction speech for Seger, but he was actually funny. and dead on accurate when he said that Seger had paid more dues than the entire current Top 40 artists combined. I watched the ceremony with my brother, with whom I share, along with our father, a single favorite rock and roll album of all time – Bob Seger Live Bullet.
When I was a kid growing up, that album was on in our house every single day, and I’m not exaggerating. I know every single scratch, every beat, every scream from the crowd. Live Bullet is the definitive live rock album, better even than Frampton Comes Alive. The other live albums that were on all the time in our house were George Benson’s Weekend in LA (we were a very diverse musical household) and REO Speedwagon’s You Get What You Play For. Anyone who came of age in the 1980s probably doesn’t know that REO Speedwagon, before they started making hits out of squishy, milktoast puss-rock, could rip the freaking roof off an arena. But as far as Bob Seger is concerned, I can’t possibly overstate what a huge part of my childhood his music was.
It was gratifying to see Seger finally get the recognition he deserves. Even without the 50 million albums he’s sold in a 40 year career, the immortal road song Turn The Page alone would justify a spot in the hall. Kid Rock put the perfect exclamation point on his induction speech when, stealing Seger’s message about Detroit music fans to the Cobo Hall audience during Live Bullet, he said, “I was reading Rolling Stone where they said that Bob Seger deserves to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I thought to myself shit, I’ve known that for 10 years.” Perfect.
And in a related note, last night’s induction ceremony also showed that after 25 years of making music, Prince can still burn up a stage with the best of them. The man may be weird as the day is long, but he is James Brown and Jimi Hendrix rolled into one. Which brings me to the observation that I think pop culture is primed for a funk revival. Earth, Wind and Fire recently tore it up on the Grammy awards, along with the legendary George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic. Prince showed last night that he’s still got the ideal mix of funk and rock. I think it’s time for funk to make a comeback. Phoenix horns, are you listening? I wanna hear big bass lines and see guys twirling their trumpets again.