Ann Arbor proto-punk band The Stooges nominated for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (again)
The famed Ann-Arbor-based band of the late 1960s has been nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Led by one-of-a-kind frontman Iggy Pop, the band — which many credit with starting the movement that turned into punk rock — has been nominated at least a half-dozen times in years past without winning induction.
This week the Hall of Fame announced 12 nominees for induction in the 2010 class; five of those will be voted in. First-time nominees are Kiss, LL Cool J, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Genesis, Jimmy Cliff, The Hollies and songwriter Laura Nyro. In addition to the Stooges, other return nominees are Donna Summer, Darlene Love, ABBA and the Chantels.
To be nominated, an act must have released its first single or album 25 years prior. More than 500 musicians, industry professionals and journalists vote on the inductions. The inductees will be announced in December, with the induction ceremony set for March 15 in New York.
The Stooges formed in 1967 in Ann Arbor. Besides Pop, the band included guitarist Ron Asheton, drummer Scott Asheton and bassist Dave Alexander. Although it only lasted a few years, the band's primal sound is regularly cited as a major influence in rock's development, both by performers and analysts. With their do-it-yourself ethic and Pop's outrageous, unsavory stage persona, the Stooges are sometimes called the first punk band.While Pop went on to a measure of fame, Alexander died in 1975 and the Ashetons lived fairly quietly until a Stooges reunion took shape in 2003, with Mike Watt taking Alexander's place. Successful tours followed, with the band able to enjoy some acclaim for its earlier achievements. Utlimately an album of new material, "The Weirdness," was released in 2007.
Ron Asheton continued to live in his house on the west side of Ann Arbor up until his death earlier this year from natural causes.
R.E.M. and Patti Smith pay tribute to the Stooges:
The Stooges' relationship to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has been interesting to watch. While repeatedly being passed over for induction, their presence has still been felt; one year, inductees Patti Smith and R.E.M. performed the Stooges' "I Wanna Be Your Dog"; another year, the reunited Stooges performed Madonna songs on the occasion of the induction of that onetime University of Michigan dance student.
The Stooges play Madonna (beware of profanity):
Here's the description of the Stooges from the Hall of Fame web site: "The 'Big Bang' that became punk, alternative, heavy metal, new wave, grunge, hardcore and industrial music, could very well have been the advent of Iggy and the Stooges in Ann Arbor in the late 1960s. Confrontational, out of the mainstream and the complete antitheses of the hippie movement, the Stooges were adopted by those on the margins of rock. Their debut Elektra LP was produced in four days by the Velvet Undergound’s John Cale and contained at least three landmarks: 'I Wanna Be Your Dog,' 'No Fun' and '1969.' Immediately embraced in New York, London and Los Angeles for the nuclear-powered simplicity of their music, the ironic nihilism of their lyrics, and the persona of Iggy himself, the Stooges have become icons in the history of modern music."
In a 2007 interview with The Ann Arbor News, linked to below, Ron Asheton spoke about being passed over for induction into the Hall of Fame:
"I think it's really funny. I felt bad this year only for Iggy. All those years that were lean for me he was out there battering his head in. He puts on a hell of a show and it's a really physical thing. ...
"Now I think it's really cool that we're not in it. See, we're still The Stooges, man. Some people still hate our new record. There are some journalists and record industry people who still hate us enough not to allow us in the Rock and Roll of Fame. Isn't the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame supposed to be about people who were innovators in music, who actually helped create music, not just followers or good singers or people who sold a lot? ...
"Everyone's saying "next year, next year.' If it happens, that's cool. It would be fine. It would be nice to be there with the names that are there."
The Associated Press contributed to this story.