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"Weird Al used music videos brilliantly. His parodies of both Michael Jackson and Madonna were even more memorable than the original videos themselves."
--Peter Fornatale,
Who Can It Be Now

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Entry for January 14, 2009

Not that it matters much as far as Al is concerned, but the Rock Hall announced the 2009 inductees today, even though some artists had leaked the news of their induction early to various sources.

It would be nice to say that there were any surprises in the batch, but alas, considering the seemingly smaller and smaller number of nominees each year and viable inductees among them, one doesn't exactly need a slide ruler and a crystal ball to guess--err, "predict" the inductees.

This year's class of inducted performers include Jeff Beck (ehn, okay), Little Anthony and the Imperials (um...), Metallica (duh), Run-D.M.C. (the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame), and Bobby Womack (riiiiight). Fellow nominee Wanda Jackson will be inducted in the "early influence" category (read: nobody would vote for her as a regular performer inductee, but the foundation desperately wanted her in somewhere), while Bill Black, D.J. Fontana, and Spooner Oldham will be inducted as "sidemen."

Of course, we are disappointed that Al is not among this year's class, but we do extend our congratulations to those who will be inducted.

But not so fast.

According to the Recording Industry Association of America and SoundScan, Al has sold over 12 million records, tapes, CD, videos, etc. in his career so far. Let's just see how Al stacks up against this year's inductees.

Obviously, in terms of sales, chart success, and worthiness, there is no comparison between Al and Metallica (or really, between most still-uninducted acts and Metallica, for that matter), since Metallica has sold about five times more records than Al has. And hey, that's fine. If any one group on this year's list of nominees deserved the honor without question or protest, it would be Metallica.

Run-D.M.C., however, is another story. According to the RIAA, they have only sold seven million records. According to Billboard, they have only had three of their albums in the top twenty on the general "Billboard 200" album chart, whereas Al has had six. And where Al has won three Grammys so far, Run has never been so awarded. The one place where Run-D.M.C. squeaks past Al is in the singles department. Again according to Billboard, the rap group has had four top forty singles on the "Hot 100" versus Al's three.

As a solo artist, British guitar wizard Jeff Beck is another mixed bag of comparisons. He has only sold 4.5 million records in the United States (heck, Al has sold more than Jeff Beck and Run-D.M.C. combined!). Doing slightly better than Al, Jeff has won four Grammys (so one more than Al has). In Billboard, though, Jeff pales slightly, also having six top twenty albums but never releasing a top forty single.

Continuing the downward slide, Bobby Womack doesn't do too well when compared to Al, either. The RIAA only credits the R&B singer/songwriter with two million records in sales, while he has never won a Grammy. In Billboard, though he has scored four top forty singles (one more than Al has), he has never had an album in top twenty.

Then there's Little Anthony and the Imperials...oh boy. Not a single one of the '50s doo-wop group's releases have gone Gold, nor have they won any Grammys, nor have they had any top twenty albums. They have, however, had three top forty singles in the "Hot 100"...just like Al. This all also holds true for "early influence" inductee Wanda Jackson (and Al's singles have charted higher than Wanda's).

So what, exactly, does it say when you have an artist who has sold more records than five of the six performing inductees, but is not himself yet inducted?

In the meantime, we are very close to announcing this year's campaign project, one we hope everyone will be jazzed about and will get everyone's creative juices flowing. And of course, we're still knee-deep at work on our video documentary, and very soon we'll post a "wishlist" of things we still need from volunteers and fans, so stay tuned!

2009-01-15 06:53:53 GMT
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