I'm not sure which historical magazine, a few years ago, had an underrated/overrated article. Recently, I began thinking about doing my own version. I realize my opinions usually get me in trouble, but I'm compelled to do this. I really didn't do extensive research, I'm just going on my opinions verses that of co-workers, former classmates, colleagues in the radio industry, film and music critics and other bloggers. You can be mad at some of what I have here, but the only person that will be allowed to dispute my awards is Kanye West.
UNDERRATED: The Untouchables Truck. How underrated is this vehicle? The only photos I could find of it were screen caps from an episode of Happy Days (above). It deserves recognition because it was a real vehicle. In his book, from which the TV show was based, Eliot Ness explains that his men confiscated a beer truck, used by Al Capone, and fitted it with two steel sheets that were sharpened on the sides. These worked as both a battering ram on the chained doors of illegal breweries and kept bullets from striking the engine.
OVERRATED: The General Lee from The Dukes of Hazard. The doors don't open and you have to crawl through the window. Enough said.
UNDERRATED: Paper Moon. Great dialogue, great casting, black and white cinematography, and fairly accurate historical details.
OVERRATED: Kramer vs Kramer. When is somebody going to admit this is just like a thousand made for TV movies about divorce. Meryl Streep was better in Death Becomes Her and She Devil and Dustin Hoffman better in Tootsie and Meet The Flockers.
UNDERRATED: "I Feel Fine." This is the quintessential early Beatles song. Everything that made The Beatles one of the greatest rock band in history is all right here in this song.
OVERRATED: "In My Life." It is slow and depressing. Not what I want from the Beatles.
50s ROCK & ROLL PIONEER:
UNDERRATED: Screaming Jay Hawkins. His stage act paved the way for Alice Copper, Ozzy Osbourne, Kiss and Marilyn Manson. Some of his 60s recordings could be the forerunner of 2 Live Crew and other rappers hits. Plus, his most famous song, "I Put a Spell On You" was one of the first early rock and roll songs to become an pop standard recorded by singers of other genres (Buddy Holly's "True Love Ways" would be the next one).
OVERRATED: Jerry Lee Lewis."The Killer" had about four good songs early in his career, then in the 60s he went country. All of his country songs sound alike and they all suck. The bad part is he just kept recording more of them.
60s AMERICAN POP GROUP:
UNDERRATED: The Monkees. The rock critics and press of the 60s hated them. Over the years that has changed. Their most recent CD has gotten good reviews. They may still get into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame yet.
OVERRATED: The Four Seasons. Let me first say I like the 70s hits by The Four Seasons, but I find most of the 60s output irritating and much of it was overplayed by radio. If that wasn't enough, they recorded an LP, using something called the "Chee Chee Girl" voice, under the name The Wonder Who. That LP will make your ears bleed. One reason they are here is the talk radio contingent are trying to rewrite history (and intelligent thought) and say that the Four Season were a better group than the Beatles. It a good country people would be executed for saying that.
70s HARD ROCK BAND:
UNDERRATED: Blue Oyster Cult. For a heavy metal band they produced some very smooth recordings that border on yatch rock, while having a strange sense of humor ("Joan Crawford Has Risen From the Grave"). I took my blogging moniker from one of their songs. The only thing complaint is (wait for it) they needed more cowbell.
OVERRATED: Lynard Skynyrd. Overplayed on radio, but part of that has to do with music testing and request lines. Once, I was getting my tires changed in Lebanon, Missouri, and there was a radio in the garage on. "Free Bird" came on the radio and every guy working in that garage went "Yeeehaw," like the Dukes of Hazzard. Scary.
UNDERRATED: Boy George of Culture Club. If you close your eyes, forget what about the way he looked in the 80s and just listen to his voice, you will find Boy George has one of the most pleasant and smoothest voice in rock and roll. Sadly, people saw him as a gimmick singer.
OVERRATED: Whitney Houston. Besides being the favorite singer of goody two-shoes people in the 80s, she always seems to be saying "Listen to how good I can sing. I'll hold this note real long and prove it." That is irritating.
UNDERRATED: John Cipollina of Quicksilver Messenger Service. All you have to do is listen to some of Quicksilver's instrumentals and you will see why I say he is underrated.
OVERRATED: Stevie Ray Vaughan. I shocked a friend of mine, who lives in California, when I told him that some people here in the Ozarks believe Stevie Ray Vaughan was a better guitarist than Jimi Hendrix. "NO WAY!" He said. "That is messed up thinking." Indeed.
ALBUM BY THE EAGLES:
UNDERRATED: One of These Nights.
OVERRATED: Hell Freezes Over. You have one LP that contains the hits, "One of These Nights," "Take It To The Limit" and "Lying Eyes," but also "Journey To the Sorcerer," which was the theme for the radio and TV versions of Hitchhikers Guide To the Galaxy. The other CD is several live versions of previous hits and the official national anthem of douche-bags everywhere, "Get Over It."
MOVIE DESIGNED AS A VEHICLE FOR A SINGER:
UNDERRATED: UHF starring Weird Al Yankovic.
OVERRATED: Pure Country starring George Strait. One is a hilarious cult film and the other is the forerunner of the movies on the Hallmark Channel.
NUMBER ONE HIT OF THE 90s:
UNDERRATED: "MmmBop" by Hanson. This is just a great, fun bubble gum song. I don't think any of the radio stations in Springfield, Missouri, played it when it came out. I know KTXY in Columbia played it heavy because it was a NUMBER ONE HIT.
OVERRATED: "Candle In the Wind - 97" by Elton John. I'll just say it. This is not as good as the original version that was on the Goodbye Yellow Brick Road LP. It should have made it to Number One, not this one.
MOVIE OF THE 90s:
UNDERRATED: Matinee. A movie about being a monster kid at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis with John Goodman as a William Castle-like producer promoting a meta-film called MANT!, that is filmed in black and white, with several stars from various sci-fi films of the 50s.
OVERRATED: Jerry McGuire. A jock boy picture. I tried to watch it twice and each time it put me to sleep at the word "Hello."
LINE IN A HORROR COMEDY:
UNDERRATED: "It is true. This man has no dick." from Ghostbusters. Peck deserved that comment.
OVERRATED: "You mean like Democrats?" from Ghost Breakers. After this has been on Facebook 50 million times it is no longer funny.
Who knows, I may give out more of these awards sometime.