Feb 292012

Honestly, as much of an Attractions fan as I am, I’m a bit disappointed that Elvis Costello’s backing band ran away with their Rebel Conference semifinals match against The Wailers in our ongoing tournament to determine—once and for all—rock’s greatest backing band. The outcome of this match opens the Hall up to a number of easy rockist charges that have been made against us over the years. Thank god The Wailers weren’t a female-fronted outfit to boot!

Worries about how we’re perceived in the rock world aside, I’m mostly disappointed, disappointed in those of you who didn’t do your part to at least make the final score close. The Wailers deserved better. I could have done more. I could have logged onto some friends’ computers and voted for them. In lieu of a prime Burnin’-era live performance of any of my favorite song from that, my favorite Bob Marley and The Wailers album, I leave you this parting tribute…after the jump!


  15 Responses to “Rock Town Hall Thanks The Wailers for Playing”

  1. Bring the charges of Rockism. Though only a newbie here, I bellow from the floor of my diaphragm, This is named the *Rock* *Town Hall*, not Music of the Nations!

    As for the video, I can only cough out a few “WOW”s between the “BWAAHAAAHAA”s


  2. Happiness Stan

    As one who has stuck up for the Wailers in every round, and who had also been warned about the love affair with the Attractions in the Hall, I still find the landslide against them completely incomprehensible to the point where I’m not even going to rise in defense of the Smiths in the next thread down (at the moment, anyway, I’m supposed to be doing some work…)

  3. Happiness Stan

    This is asked purely in a spirit of friendly enquiry, as I genuinely can’t understand the point you’re trying to make here – I am genuinely interested to understand where you consider the line should be drawn between “Rock” and “Music of the Nations”.

    Does British music count? Eastern music?

    Is it okay if reggae or world music is played by “rock” musicians? Is “Watching the Detectives” rock or Music of the Nations? If the former, would it still be “rock” if played by a reggae band? If the latter, are the Attractions “rock” except for when they are playing this song?

    Is Tom Waits rock? The Police? The Clash? Led Zeppelin (D’Yer Maker)? The Beatles (O Bla Di)? The Stones (several songs)? Graham Parker (Hey Lord Don’t Ask Me Questions)? The Eagles (Hotel California)?

    Is it a lifestyle thing? If so, then any one of the Wailers was more rock than Elvis C and all of the Attractions put together. (And if it’s a hair thing then there is no competition).

  4. tonyola

    Despite the incipient hints by some of rockism and perhaps even a whiff of charges of racism and Anglo-centrism, the answer is really very simple. The Wailers are good but they were outclassed musically by the Attractions – that’s all there is to it.

    Yes, Stan, everything you listed is rock. So are the Wailers. So are the Residents, Ash Ra Temple, and the Meat Puppets. It’s a big universe out there.

  5. Happiness Stan

    That’s what I thought, and just to clarify in case anyone reads it as such, my response above was absolutely not intended to hint at racism.

  6. hrrundivbakshi

    I dunno about rockism — I think it’s more a matter of not-music-I-first-made-out-to-ism. When our sons and daughters start “21st-century Pop Town Hall,” there’ll be a large proportion of non-rockin’ brown people winning their “best computer-assisted performers” brackets.

    Your choice of tribute video for Bob Marley brought tears to my eyes, by the way. Because I had my thumbs jammed in them.

  7. mockcarr

    Well, you DO still have to decide when one thing becomes another. Hyphens are all over the place in rock.

  8. misterioso

    Except for Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da. That’s just crap.

  9. bostonhistorian

    Don’t forget, Jamaica made it to the finals of the Rock Town Hall World Cup.

    I will continue to contend that the absence of MGs and Mar-Keys makes this tournament moot.

  10. 2000 Man

    Here’s how I see it. Number one, I still hate the term “Rockist.” We have a one syllable word for snob and it orks just fine.

    Number two, Reggae bands play reggae. It’s not Rock music. Rock bands often play reggae songs, but they’re still primarily Rock bands Reggae bands just play reggae songs, unless they turn a rock song into a reggae song. Using The Stones as an example, Cherry Oh Baby and Luxury are reggae songs played by a rock band, and most reggae fans I’ve talked with about them think they’re terrible. Maybe they are, but I’ve never heard a reggae band do a version of Johnny B. Good worth listening to, either.

  11. I voted for the Attractions because over the course of several albums from 1978 to 1983 or so they showed great versatility playing a wide variety of music including rock, punk, pop, new wave, reggae, soul, hardcore R&B, blues, country, and even near-prog art songs. They were at least credible at everything they attempted and rarely put a foot wrong. The Wailers were extremely good at what they did, but they worked within fairly tight constraints compared to the Attractions.

  12. No point really, other than trying to put into words that look on Pete Townshend’s face at the end of “Won’t Get Fooled Again” on “The Kids Are Alright” when he raises the guitar above his head in triumphant celebration of Rock and all its majestic tomfoolery. Miserable Fail.


  13. I’m still grouching about the omission of Parliament/Funkadelic and that’s a major reason why my participation has been minimal.

  14. BigSteve

    I voted for the Wailers. I find the argument that the overwhelming vote for the Attractions is not an example of rockism comical.

  15. mockcarr

    You sound like one of those Hall of Fame guys who didn’t vote for Willie Mays because it shouldn’t be “unanimous”.

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