Friday, July 17, 2009

GMVW # 80: "Another Type of Family Tree"

Gem Music Video of the Week # 80:  Another Type of Family Tree
Song:  End of the Line by The Travelling Wilburys
(Songwriters: The Travelling Wilurys)
July 17, 2009

For many years now, Nancy and I have enjoyed watching the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony on TV.  My interest actually goes back to 1986, when the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame was first concocted. Then, as now, musicians need to have made their first recording at least 25 years prior.  The first batch of 10 inductees included: Elvis Presley, James Brown, Sam Cooke, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Ray Charles, Jerry Lee Lewis, the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly and Little Richard.  Over the next 3 years, the Hall would welcome in a number of other classic acts, including Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Dion, Roy Orbison, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Bo Diddley, Marvin Gaye, Simon & Garfunkel, The Supremes, the Kinks and the Who. The flood gaits have opened up since, and each year there are at least one or two inductees that keep my interest alive.

Preparing the write-up for this week’s Gem, I thought long and hard about what it is that I find so interesting about these induction ceremonies.  After all, the performances are often unrehearsed and the songs can deteriorate into something unrecognizable, particularly the end-of-festivities jams.  The acceptance speeches can be colorful, but they are rarely exceptional.  The historical footage is on again/off again.

I guess it comes down to a ‘connecting-the-dots’ of sorts, something I picked up on in those first few years.  I found it fascinating to see who it was that was doing the presenting of a particular musician, as most often that person was a passing-of-the-torch protégé of the musician/bands they were honoring.  The Hall does this right: They usually find the perfect presenter, who more often than not gives an insightful and heartfelt speech, revealing just how much of an influence the musician had on them.  A few memorable ones include: Lou Reed presenting Dion; Pete Townshend presenting The Rolling Stones; Billy Joel presenting Ray Charles; Bono presenting The Who; Springsteen presenting Dylan; and Tom Petty presenting George Harrison. 

With the spirit of those presentations in mind, I hauled my family along to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio on the first full day of our 3-week cross-country road trip.  I was not expecting to be blown away, though. Hall of Fames in general can be anti-climatic for me:  Outfits and artifacts can only go so far in making a connection with my memories and emotions. 

However, there were aspects to the Hall that made this side-trek worth it. There was a short film which made a convincing correlation between the advent of Rock music and the freeing of the heart, mind and soul.  There were numerous letters Pete Townshend had written to Rolling Stone Magazine in the 70’s and 80’s.  There were film clips of hi-lite moments at the induction ceremonies over the years.  There was the ability to select and listen to music on head phones, including virtually any song from any inductee.  The building it-self was spectacular: a seven-floor modern glass structure on the shores of Lake Erie.

I asked a few employees if there were anything written about the dot-connecting that the induction ceremonies unveils.  Nothing doing as far as they knew, but one suggested I may have the idea for a book…..hmmmm. 

As for this weeks Gem, I don’t know of any band that showcased influences and generational dot-connecting any better than The Travelling Wilburys. Four generations were represented in this band (Roy Orbison the 50’s; Bob Dylan and George Harrison the 60’s; Jeff Lynne the 70’s and Tom Petty the 80’s).  The video for the Gem ‘End of the Line’ was put together after Roy Orbison passed away.  The section of the song where he did vocals is represented in the video by an empty rocking chair….classily done. 

Apologies for being a day late with this week’s Gem: My lap-top power chord burned out, and I was unable to type for a few days.  I’m wrapping this up on Friday, July 17, while sitting on a log-cabin deck in the South Dakota Black Hills. Gotta go though….Peter is demanding I do a cannon ball in the pool.

- Pete

Gem Music Video ‘End of the Line’

About the Video: Made for MTV-type video

Video Rating: 1 (although, I may have chosen another Wilburys tune if given more research time)

Best Feedback: Fred

Way to keep the train rollin'....even on vacation

Love the Wilbury's....

and: Madeline

Thanks Pete! Hugs to you, Nancy and the kids.  I'm so glad you are having a great time!

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