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ABBA Inducted Into The Rock and Roll Hall of Shame

I’ve been having a spirited debate about Swedish disco band ABBA’s recent induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. When I found out that ABBA had been inducted this year and KISS had not been, I blew a gasket. ABBA? My response to this horror was to post on Facebook;
“Oh my f**king god. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame had a choice between inducting KISS or ABBA, and they chose… ABBA?! Are you f**king kidding me? F**king ABBA? How the f**k is ABBA Rock ‘N’ Roll? F**king ABBA?! Agggghhhhh!!!!”
This, and other comments, sparked a bizarre dialogue between myself and some online friends. Victoria posted;
“I would LOVE to know how it’s remotely possible that Abba has been inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame and Kiss was rejected……if that’s the case, they need to stop calling it the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame. Just my opinion…..I’m just sayin’……..”
Which prompted this response from a friend;
“Well, after seeing Mamma Mia on Broadway I LOVE those old ABBA songs I used to be embarrassed to admit I liked back when they were popular!”
Several of us protested that whether or not this friend liked ABBA was beside the point. The question was whether or not they belonged in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Especially in a year when they were inducted and Rock gods KISS were not. The initial argument was over the absurdity of Disco band ABBA being inducted over KISS.
Later, after some back and forth, and after stumbling across a horrifically cheesy 1977 movie, called, with typical wit and wryness, “Abba: The Movie”, I posted a link to the movie on my Facebook page, and commented in jest;
“I watched some of this movie, and I’ve had to reconsider my contention that ABBA is not a Rock band and should not be in the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame. Upon consideration, I’ve decided that ABBA is a pestilence let loose upon the Earth by the demons who live behind the mirrors, and that anyone who has seen the movie “Mamma Mia” should be quarantined as soon as possible so that this virus cannot spread farther into the general population. ABBA must be stopped. The madness must end. Think of the children!”
To which another friend replied,
“Mamma Mia was an A~M~A~Z~I~N~G movie!”
Prompting me to say;
“I’ve bumped you to the top of the inoculation list. Don’t worry. There’s hope. I’m sure we kind find a cure for this madness within the next six months or so.”
To which she said, “well, you will be THRILLED to know that I also saw Mamma Mia on Broadway and it is a CLASSIC in the making!”
I summed that up by contending, “Well, you see, the primary difficulty here is that I keep talking about ABBA and everyone else keeps talking about “Mamma Mia”. You could take the music from old Warner Brothers cartoons and build a cool musical around it, but it still shouldn’t get Mel Blanc into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”
Then I noticed some comments by the previous friend that really got me thinking, and to which I had to sum up all of my objections, in the hope that these people might be led into the light.
This friend followed up by saying; “Would you call Simon and Garfunkel Rock & Roll? or Elton John? or Nat King Cole? I would say ABBA fits in just as much as those do.”
I responded with the following, and I’ll leave it here as my final statement on the subject:
Elton John wasn’t Rock ‘N’ Roll? Simon & Garfunkel were part of that Folk ROCK wave of the late 60’s and early 70’s (which included Bob Dylan, btw), but they’re not Rock ‘N’ Roll? Nat King Cole is a little more iffy, admittedly, but if you don’t think Nat King Cole influenced a whole bunch of Rock crooners, you must’ve never heard of Robert Palmer.
The point of my support for the three you mentioned is that their artistry had a depth and breadth of purpose that embodied the spirit of Rock ‘N’ Roll. ABBA produced slick, corporate product that turned out to be ideally suited for a big budget, cheesy musical.
I’d have no problem with them being inducted into the Pop Hall of Fame or the Grammy Hall of Fame, or the International Music Hall of Fame (where they probably more rightly belong), but I definitely have a problem with ABBA being listed beside the Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin and Cream as gods in the Rock ‘N’ Roll pantheon. That’s kind of like letting Pee Wee Herman stand beside Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Lenny Bruce and Bill Cosby as one of the greats of Comedy. It’s absurd.

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