changing the history of music forever

Never cared much for that phrase. It is my opinion that it is simply too soon to know whether history has been changed forever. Forever is a long time.

But last week, the history of rock and roll may have turned an important corner. At the very least, a great opportunity presented itself to the geriatric rocker population. And for that, we can thank Mötley Crüe.

Yes, the Crüe. For in a brilliant PR stroke late last week, the veteran band expelled all Liberal Senators from their caucus. No wait, let me check that… OK, it says here the quartet announced its farewell tour. Moreover, (see brilliant PR stroke, a few words back) the Kickstart My Heart combo made it nice and official — by signing what sure looked like a legal document proclaiming that this tour will well and truly be it for the Girls Girls Girls group. Thank you. Cheque, please. Good night. Goodbye.

Oh, they could try another tour, but in America, that would undoubtedly provoke a class-action suit that frighten even killer Vince Neil and abuser Tommy Lee. So yes, folks, this is it. If you want to hear those classics one last time, best invest in tickets for the tour, which will only run until… well, they haven’t figured that part out yet. Cynical Crüe fans (you know who you are) might note that the “farewell” tour could, conceivably, continue for years, should the band so choose.

But no matter. This is a band that has taken decisive action, sort of. I mean, there must have been lawyers involved and everything. (And Tommy Lee doesn’t call his lawyer without a good reason.) It’s an important precedent for both rock and roll. And an example for others to follow.

This seems particularly notable on the eve of another round of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductions. This year, such balls-out rockers as Linda Ronstadt, Cat Stevens and Hall and Oates are to enter the venerable institution. And in light of the Crüe’s recent announcement, the Hall would do well to alter its induction policies, the better to bring it in line with respected Halls of Fame such as those honouring baseball, hockey and football players. What those hallowed Halls have in common, remember, is a strict policy that ties recognition to retirement. Active players need not apply.

Why should Rock and Roll be any different? I mean, let’s look at some of the honoured inductees. Guns N’ Roses. Van Halen. Steely Dan. Fleetwood Mac. The Eagles. Crosby, Stills and Nash. The Who. Each had the decency to call it quits, but refused to stay down. Given the prestige involved, it’s at least worth a shot for the Hall to request said honourees to sign a piece of paper making retirement mandatory. In each case, the world would have been spared the horror of new music that served only to tarnish the legacy. Was it a good idea for Guy Lafleur to return to the NHL after his induction into the Hall of Fame? Exactly.

It is, granted, too late to enact such a policy for the 2014 ceremony (though it’s fun to imagine the look on KISS’s faces when, upon arriving at the podium — with or without Ace and Peter — they are presented with the paperwork). But let’s make it happen for 2015. For one thing, it could make the nomination process that much more fun, as the distinguished panel of judges begins to lobby for Katy Perry or Miley Cyrus’s immediate induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in exchange for a promise to never perform again. If only they’d thought of it before honouring John Cougar. Or Genesis, who rumour has it…

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