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The Politics of Glory

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Any kind of music Hall of Fame that features Foreigner and not Warren Zevon is a self-refuting absurdity. Imagine, say, if the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame had Freddie Lindstrom and Highpockets Kelly but not Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens? Ridiculous, I know, but it’s vaguely possible if you try.

Anyway, if you’re wondering how the arena-rock mediocrities — who, hilariously, have been touring for years with literally none of their original members because some music is so inessential that the cover band can be easily swapped in for the original — got the call, the answer is good old-fashioned cronyism and pressure politics:

Where the hell was this enthusiasm when Warren Zevon got his inaugural nomination last year? That’s a rant for another time, but anyway, Foreigner has been the benefactor of an uncharacteristically blatant and thirsty campaign to get inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, with the jukebox heroes currently sitting on a shortlist of names that includes Peter Frampton, Cher, and Oasis. The latest recruit for the blitz is none other than Paul McCartney, an old pal of guitarist Mick Jones, who recorded a video to whip voters back into a single vision: “Foreigner, not in the Hall of Fame? What the fuck? Ah!”

Macca joins a robust crew of musicians organized by Mark Ronson to stump for Foreigner — Ronson is Jones’s stepson, placing him somewhere in our nepo-baby extended universe — which already included a longer video of Dave Grohl, Slash, Jack Black, and Flea verbalizing various states of disbelief that the band hasn’t already been inducted. Appearing on The Tonight Show on February 26, Ronson explained that the push has been due, in part, to Jones’s recent health struggles with Parkinson’s disease. “They’ve never been considered for it … we decided to go all out this year,” he explained. “I called in some favors. There’s some people I met along the way, making music myself, that I knew were fans of Foreigner.” Maybe they really were just waiting for a guy like him to get the ball rolling.

It’s better to know Frankie Frisch or Paul McCartney than to be good!

Anyway, this year’s inductees in addition to the uh-sure-OK-I-guess of your Daves Matthews and Peters Frampton were not a total write off, so let’s think about the great band that got in instead:

R.I.P Phife Dawg.

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