Monday, November 24, 2003

I'm not particularly a fan of either, but I was astonished to learn that John Mellencamp didn't make the cut for the 2004 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame while Bob Seger did. Especially since dropping the name "Cougar," Mellencamp has earned a lot of respect as a Midwestern Bruce Springsteen, chronicling the woes of Heartland average Joes. I can't quite imagine any teenager ever dreaming of being the next John Mellencamp the way I could see Dylan as such an ideal, but Mellencamp has definitely carved a niche as a chart-topping artist with a unique vision.

The same can't be said for Seger, who is little more than an unusually popular hack. He's done nothing particularly original, and his most memorable hit, "Old Time Rock and Roll" is an anthem to stagnation. He may have sold lots more records than the Stooges, who were also passed over despite being nominated, but I have never heard anyone refer to an artist as the new Bob Seger. The Stooges were distinct and influential, two traits that could hardly be associated with the utterly generic Seger. Even Rod Stewart has a better raspy voice.

It will probably take the 25th anniversary of Scarecrow, when Mellencamp finally ditched "Cougar" from his moniker, to get him inducted. Unfortunately, as was the case with Joey Ramone, it will take the untimely death of Iggy Pop to get the Stooges in, and the Ig shows all signs of being a survivor.

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