Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Case for The Replacements in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

As stated earlier, we're going to make the case for a number of bands that have heretofore been excluded from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  In today's installment, we make the case for the The Replacements. 

The Replacements were a pre-alternative band in Minneapolis throughout the 80's that gained fame for not only their sound, but also for their bad-boy behavior.   

Now, there are clearly reasons to keep The Replacements out of the hall 
  • 'Mats concerts we renown for a wide swath of performances - from outstanding to drunken nightmare, and everything in between. 
  • 'Mats songs could be incredibly sophomoric (Gary's Got a Boner and Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out are two good examples). 
  • They lasted as a band only a decade. 
But consider the main reason for including them: Influence. This band helped usher in the alternative genre.  At the time, their sound was defined as "punk," but that definition fails at this point.  It was alternative, and it paved a road not only for other alternative acts that followed, but it also helped ease the way for the grunge scene in the '90's.  I cannot stress this enough, as I honestly believe that alternative and grunge would have been much different without the Replacements. 

And note as well that their success came with two major strikes against them.  First, The Replacements refused to use music videos to push their careers.  This could have been a fatal flaw - that genre was absolutely making careers of some "musicians," at the time.  Despite this, The Replacements loathed the genre as you can tell by Seen Your Video and the video they released for Bastards of Young below. 

The second major strike against them was geography.  Consider the music scene in Minneapolis in the '80's.  Price dominated, and "The Minneapolis Sound" was all the rage.  The Time, Alexander O'Neil, Vanity 6, Sheila E and nearly a half dozen others cast a huge shadow.  Despite this, The Replacements were able to carve out a thriving career, and helped to shine a spotlight themselves for bands like Hüsker Dü and The Suburbs. 

I know their sound is raw.  I know they ticked off a bunch a people in their career, including many fans that attended drunken, disorganized shows.  However this band did things their way, overcame some long odds, and, most importantly, helped to spawn an entire genre of music.  For that they need to be considered as worthy entrants into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Look for the case for the Red Hot Chili Peppers next week.

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