|03-25-2002, 11:24 PM||#1|
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Local Time: 03:10 AM
For whoever requested this.__________________
Frank never did like Rock and Roll. And, uh, he's not crazy about guys wearing earrings either...but, he doesn't hold it against me in any way. The feeling is not mutual.
Rock and Roll people love Frank Sinatra because Frank Sinatra's got what we want. Swagger and attitude. He's big on attitude. Serious attitude. Bad attitude. Frank's the chairman of the bad.
Rock and Roll plays it being tough, but this guy, well, he's the Boss. The Boss of Bosses. The man. The Big Bang of pop. I'm not gonna mess with him, are you?
Who's this guy that every city in America wants to claim as their own? This painter who lives in the desert. This first rate, first take actor. This singer who makes other men poets. Boxing clever with every word. Talkin' like America. Fast. Straight up. In headlines. Comin' through with the big schtick. The aside. The quiet compliment. Good cop, bad cop, all in the same breath. You know his story 'cause it's your story.
Frank walks like America....cocksure.
It's 1945 and the US cavalry are trying to get their asses out of Europe, but they never really do. They're part of another invasion. AF-4. American Forces Radio, broadcasting a music that'll curl the stiff upper lip of England and the rest of the world. Paveing the way for Rock and Roll with Jazz, Duke Elington, The Big Band, Tommy Dorsey, and right out in front, Frank Sinatra. His voice tight as a fist, opening at the end of a bar. Not on the beat, over it, playing with with it, splitting it, like a Jazz man, like Miles Davis. Turning on the right phrase in the right song.....which is where he lives, where he let's go, where he reveals himself. His songs are his home, and he lets you in.
But ya know, to sing like that...you gotta have lost a couple of fights. To know tenderness and romance....you gotta have had your heart broken.
People say Frank hasn't talked to the press. They wanna know how he is, what's on his mind. But ya know, Sinatra's out the more nights than most punk bands selling his story through the songs. Telling an articulate in the choice of those songs. Private thoughts on a public address system. Generous.
This is the conundrum of Frank Sinatra.
Left and right brain hardly talkin'.
Boxer and painter. Actor and singer. Lover and father. Bandman and loner. Troubleshooter and troublemaker. The champ who would rather show you his scars than his medals. He may be putty in Barbara's hands, but I'm not gonna mess with him.........are you?
Ladies and Gentlemen, are you ready to welcome a man heavier than the Empire State? More connected than the Twin Towers. As recognizable as the Statue of Liberty. And living proof that God is a catholic.
Will you welcome the King of New York City....Francis Albert Sinatra......
I know claiming Bob Marley is Irish might be a little difficult here tonight, but bear with me.
Jamaica and Ireland have a lot in comon. Naomi Campbell, Chris Blackwell, Guiness, a fondness for little green leaves-the weed, religion, the philosophy of procrastination-don't put off till tomorrow what you can put off till the day after. Unless, of course, it's freedom. We are both islands. We are both colonies. We share a common yoke: the struggle for identity, the struggle for independence, the vulnerable and uncertain future that's left behind when the jackboot of empire is finally retreated. The roots, the getting up, the standing up, and the hard bit---the staying up.
In such a struggle, an often violent struggle, the voice of Bob Marley was the voice of reason. There were love songs that you could admit listening to. Songs of hurt, hard but healing. Tuff Gong. Songs of freedom where that word meant something again. Redemption songs. A sexy revolution wher Jah is Jehovah on street level. Not over his people but with his people. Not just stylin'---jammin'. Down the line from Ethipoia where it all began for the Rastaman.
I spent some time in Ethiopia with my wife, Ali, and everywhere we went we saw Bob Marley's face. There he was....dressed to hustle God. 'Let my people go,' an ancient plea. Prayers catching fire in Mozambique, Nigeria, Lebanon, Alabama, Detroit, New York, Notting Hill, Belfast. Dr. King in dreads, a Third-and First- World superstar.
Mental slavery ends where imagination begins. Here was this new music, rocking out of the shantytowns. Lolling, loping rythms, telling it like it was, like it is, like it ever shall be. Skanking, ska, bluebeat, rock steady, reggae, dub, and now ragga. And all of this from a man who drove three BMW's. BMW....Bob Marley and the Wailers....that was his excuse!
Rock & Roll loves its juvenilia, its caricatures, its cartoons.The protest singer, the gospel singer, the sex god, your more mature messiah types. We love the extremes and we're expected to choose. The mud of the blues or the oxygen of the gospel. The hellhounds on our trail or the bands of angels. Well, Bob Marley didn't choose, or walk down the middle. He raced to the edges, embracing all extremes, creating a oneness. His oneness. One love. He wanted everything at the same time and he was everything at the same time. Propeht, soul rebel, Rastaman, herbsman, wildman, natural mystic man, lady's man, Island man, family man, Rita's man, soccer man, showman, shaman, human......Jamaican.
The spirite of Bob and the spirit of Jah live on in his son, Ziggy, and his lover, Rita Marley. I'm proud to welcome Bob Marley inot the Hall of Fame. Amen!
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