"Seymour called me and asked me how I felt about The Ramones, and I laughed at him and said that of course they are my #1 choice."
——Howie Klein
Where One of Our Dumbasses Gets a Response From Somebody Smart
The following is an exchange based on Roy Trakin's always-controversial Beat's Me column from HITS #777. First, Trakin's rant, followed by a response from ex-Reprise president Howie Klein.

It wouldn't be the awards season without controversy, and the announcement of this year's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, the first to reflect the punk class of '76-77, has already caused waves. Noted gadfly Dave Marsh weighed in with his always-acerbic view that the Ramones did not deserve to be in the Hall. He went on to suggest they only got voted in because lead singer Joey Ramone died last year, and that Patti Smith (whom he calls the movement's most important figure) and even his hometown boys the MC5 would have been more deserving choices. For anyone else wondering why the Ramones and Talking Heads got in, while Smith and the Sex Pistols were left with their faces pressed against the window, look no further than the agenda of one of the Hall's chief movers, legendary Sire Records boss Seymour Stein, for whose label both the Ramones and the Heads recorded in their heyday. The only real modern rock "cult" band in the Hall is the Velvet Underground, and we all know Lou Reed recorded several albums for Sire. Stein has never been shy about stumping for his favorites, which includes doo-wop groups like the Flamingos, who got in last year, and Gene Pitney, who'll be inducted this year. That said, I voted for both the Ramones and the Heads, as well as Patti and the Pistols, and anyone who doubts the Ramones are deserving need only listen to Joey's new posthumous solo album, Don't Worry About Me (Sanctuary Records), to hear him as the missing link between the Brill Building's Spectoresque teenpop, the Nuggets-style garage-rock of the mid-'60s, the twee Britpop of Herman's Hermits, Brian Wilson's surf music and the head-banging metal of the Who, Black Sabbath and the Stooges. And I dare you to not shed a tear for his version of the Louis Armstrong standard "What a Wonderful World"...

Dear Roy,
Like you, I voted for The Ramones, the Talking Heads, Patti and the Sex Pistols. If I remember correctly The Ramones got the first or second largest number of votes, a dead heat with AC/DC. Seymour is extremely passionate about the music he loves but your theory that The Ramones got in this year because of something unsavory Stein did is as wrong as Dave's theory (which he wishes he had never put forward). And, no offense, but putting something like that in your column denegrates Seymour, the artists, and the committee members. Many of us "campaign" for our favorites and tell our friends on the committee why they ought to vote for this or that artist. Seymour called me and asked me how I felt about The Ramones, and I laughed at him and said that of course they are my #1 choice. He then asked me if I would vote for some doo-wop junk and I told him he should start a doo-wop hall of fame and help me get the Sex Pistols into the Hall of Fame. He then attacked me vehemently for still falling for the Pistols' hype. We argued and then both agreed that Patti needed to get in. I think Seymour is the head of the dinner committee and I doubt he has any undue influence on deciding who gets into the Hall of Fame and who doesn't.
Your pal,

2019 TOP 50 ALBUMS
It's that time of year. (12/10a)
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They got a name for the winners in the world. (12/10a)
Guess who's on top of the heap...again. (12/10a)
We hope he/she makes the delivery. (12/10a)
Ours is mostly bourbon.
Delicious in salads.
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An entire Christmas tree made of it. Is what we want. for Christmas.

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