Cheese Samples at the Mall

My friend Tracy was deeply dismayed by my featuring the great Debbie Gibson song “Only in My Dreams.” Clearly, she does not recognize the appeal of cheese.

I’ll let Cartman respond for me:

I’ve written before about age largely liberating me from worries that others might not think my musical choices are “cool.” So I am free to enjoy a cheesy pop tune like “Call Me Maybe” without fear of being judged:

I’ve also written that many songs teenage-me once hated now make grown up-me smile. I was reminded again of this phenomenon last week when I got a nostalgic kick out of hearing King Harvest’s “Dancing in the Moonlight” in kinda cheesy The Hitman’s Bodyguard . . .

. . . even though I vividly remember quickly switching away every time it came on the car radio during one summer vacation with my family.

But neither of these explains my response to Debbie Gibson’s “Only in My Dreams” when I heard it again this week on the cheesy spoof Blood Drive. I liked that song when it first came out in 1987 and bought the album Out of the Blue to listen to it and the title track:

And even though they were often cast as Beatles vs. the Stones (Stones, all the way, baby!) rivals, amusingly spoofed in Sci-Fi’s cheesy movie Mega Python vs Gatoroid, . . .

. . . I also liked Tiffany’s Tommy James cover, . . .

. . . even though it does not come close to the original.

And then there’s Robin Sparkles’s more recent is-it-homage-or-is-it-spoof (it’s two, two, two songs in one) “Let’s Go to the Mall” on the often cheesy How I Met Your Mother:

So let’s all go to the mall for some cheese samples!

Speaking of cheese, whatever happened to Rebecca Black?

Does Ted Nugent Belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

Ted Nugent feels he deserves induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, certainly more than Patti Smith, Madonna, Grandmaster Flash and ABBA, about whose inclusion he asks, “Why don’t you just piss on Chuck Berry’s grave?”

But Nugent believes he never will be invited in because Rolling Stone publisher Jann S. Wenner, the Hall’s co-founder, vice chairman and recipient of its Ahmet Ertegun Award (given to non-performers who have influenced the development of rock and roll), has placed a stranglehold . . .

. . . on Nugent’s inclusion because he finds the Detroit rocker’s conservative politics, especially his position as a board member of the National Rifle Association, abhorrent.

Twitter user Rooster Jones asked two time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee David Crosby (once as a member of The Byrds, once for Crosby, Stills and Nash) what he thought:

Crosby replied:

Great line.

But Nugent may have a point about his qualifications, whether or not his sour grapes rationalization of the snub is accurate (at least Crosby stuck to his music when dissing him).

Earlier this year I wrote a series of “Salon des Refusés” posts criticizing the Hall of Fame for ignoring worthy honorees like Kraftwerk, Chic (neither of which Nugent would probably consider rockers), Big Star, T. Rex and Roxy Music. I did not include Nugent in my list.

I am not much of a fan of Nugent, have very little of his music in my collection, but he has been rocking large crowds of fans for over 50 years, beginning with The Amboy Dukes, who scored a Top 20 single in 1968 with the psychedelicized “Journey to the Center of the Mind,” . . .

. . . which many consider an anthem to drugs. Nugent, however, claims to have been oblivious to that interpretation (and continued to play the song in concert):

I’ve been criticized so many times because, “oh yeah, sure Ted, you didn’t know that was about drugs.” I thought, “good idea, journey to the center of your mind … good idea.” A person should always reflect.

Nugent has long been outspokenly anti-drug and anti-alcohol. Ian Mackaye, who coined the term “straight edge” while in the punk band Minor Threat, cites Nugent’s impact on his own philosophy:

I can remember—honestly I loved Ted Nugent in the ’70s, which is horrific to say now, but at the time, part of the reason I found it so engaging [and] him so interesting was because he said quite publicly that he didn’t drink or use drugs, and I thought “OK! That’s cool!” I appreciated that.

Now I also abhor Nugent’s politics, particularly his inflammatory rhetoric with calls to hang and/or behead President Obama, whom he called a “subhuman mongrel,” and Hillary, whom he called a “worthless bitch” (it’s okay now, though, since he has vowed to be respectful towards his liberal enemies in the future; I’ll believe it when I hear it), but even I have to admit Nugent rocks hard in songs like “Cat Scratch Fever”:

And if we add moral or political clauses to the qualifications of being honored by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a number of current ex-con inductees will need to be expunged, and not just for drug charges, including Chuck Berry, who had a long history of conflicts with the law.

Update: So much for Nugent’s vow to be more respectful of his enemies (though Crosby did throw the first verbal punch):