“There had always been conversations about why the groups weren’t included when the lead singers were inducted. Very honestly, nobody could really answer that question – it was so long ago,” said Terry Stewart, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s nominating committee.
In 2012, the Rock Hall finally righted a criminal wrong a few years ago when they inducted the bands that made front men like Buddy Holly and Smokey Robinson into the icons that they are today.
While not enshrined the same year as the Comets, the Crickets, the Miracles and other deserving early rock pioneers, Springsteen’s E-Street Band was included a few years ago, many years after Springsteen himself was honored. I always thought it was a horrible oversight when the Crickets, a huge part of what has made Buddy Holly a household name almost sixty years after his death, had been neglected. The Boss didn’t become a boss of any sort without Clarence on the horn or Garry on the bass.
Prince Rogers Nelson burst onto the Minneapolis music scene in the late 1970s. He formed The Revolution at about the same time and the band stayed together, in one fashion or another, until 1991.
Achieving their most enduring success with the monster 1984 album and film of the same name, Purple Rain was a phenomenon that spawned five Top Forty hits, four of them peaking in the Top Ten. The album went on to become #1 for twenty-four weeks, win two Grammys, and would be certified Platinum 13 times over, six times platinum in Canada and two times platinum in the United Kingdom. The album knocked Springsteen’s Born In The U.S.A. out of the top spot and came to define the mid-1980s in all of its glam slam.
Of course, The Revolution were also an integral part of 1982’s hit 1999 and Around The World In A Day, released in 1985. But by 1986, many personnel changes occurred which marginalized the band’s popularity. They called it quits after Prince unceremoniously fired members Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman, who went on to successful careers as a duo in the late 1980s. Although Prince went on to form other groups, such as New Power Generation, and then removed his name from all of his subsequent WEA albums (becoming known as the unpronounceable “glyph”), he will always be best-remembered for his collaborations with The Revolution.
Based upon the performances of 1999 and Purple Rain alone, the Rock Hall should consider righting a wrong and inducting the band alongside Prince, who was enshrined in 2004, the first year in which he was eligible.
In regards to their current tour, this is one band that has a predicament: How do you properly pay tribute to your frontman who passed away a year ago? They’ve mentioned that they aren’t going to have anyone take lead vocals on “Purple Rain;” they’re going to play the instrumentals and have the audience, lighters swaying above their heads, take the reins on that tune.
The most exciting part of this reunion tour is that all of the band’s Purple Rain-era personnel, Wendy Melvoin, Lisa Coleman, Brown Matt, Bobby Z., and Matt “Doctor” Fink will appear at the House of Blues on May 18th.
This is one of those nights that you have to drop whatever it is you have planned and make it to HOB for an evening that’s sure to spark some nostalgia and see a band that, while a little more mature, has their collective hearts in the right place. Like many things , this may be the last time that you’ll be able to see this lineup playing the music that made them more than a footnote in popular culture. Purple Rain, and its makers, defined a generation through their unique fashion, amazing combinations of rock, funk and R&B, and the lightning that they so effortlessly captured in a bottle; maybe their star was destined to burn out quickly.
So don your purple garb and make it down to House of Blues for a night that will be memorable in so many ways. Like bottled lightning, it may be a moment that’s difficult to catch.
And never twice.
For tickets and more information about the May 18th House of Blues show, please click here.