Rick Nelson and Claude Peck dispense unasked-for advice about clothing, etiquette, culture, relationships, grooming and more.


CP: It’s an age-old pop-music controversy.


RN: That Sonny & Cher have not been admitted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?


CP: No, the question of whether our fave rave singers, the ones we wanted as posters on our middle-school wall, the ones we sang along with shamelessly in our formative years, were women or men.


RN: Or the men we thought were women?


CP: There were plenty of those: Journey and the Bee Gees (hated ’em). Sylvester (love).


RN: Sylvester, forever. Oh, and David Gates from Bread (no opinion). Conversely, very few women passing as men. Well, other than Beatrice Arthur on the “Fiddler on the Roof” original cast recording.


CP: Janis Joplin had the hoarse croak of a roadhouse dude. My theory: We obsess over the women, but rock out to the guys. If I waded into the mosh pit at the mainroom, it was because Iggy Pop was singing. Or Bob Mould, or Lux Interior of the Cramps. Of course, it also might have been Kate and Cindy of the B-52s, or Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth.


RN: When it comes down to it, all I really want on my iPod are the gals. Audra McDonald. Carly Simon. Cher. Aretha. Madonna. Barbra. Adele. Grace Slick. Deborah Harry. Karen Carpenter. Patsy Cline. Bernadette Peters. You get the picture.


CP: Do I ever. Are you by any chance... and I don’t mean to pry... gay?


RN: Musical preferences know no sexual orientation, Mr. I-Own-Every-Bette-Midler-Album-Ever-Recorded.


CP: Not. My Spotify most-played, at least the ones that mirror yours, above: Lene Lovich. Hole. Sleater-Kinney. Salt N Pepa. k.d. lang. The Pattis (Smith and LaBelle). Siouxsie Sioux. Meshell. Courtney Barnett. Robyn. Marianne Faithfull. Annie Lennox. Kitty Wells.


RN: True to form, I’ve never heard of half of them. Then again, the only new music that I’m familiar with is the stuff that’s piped into our gym. If it weren’t for spin class, I would probably be blissfully unaware of Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga.


CP: Our gym is not exactly Radio K. The same half-dozen Madonna tunes have been on heavy rotation there since Maggie Thatcher first took office. Please note: Not a Broadway belter on my list. Is something wrong with me?


RN: Yes.


CP: The one Broadway cast recording I wore out when I first bought the CD was “Caroline, or Change,” with the incomparable Tonya Pinkins. Saw her in it as well, and wow.


RN: The Tony Award-winning La Pinkins is amazing. She kills on the “Jelly’s Last Jam” cast recording from the early ’90s. Sorry, I’m getting a little Broadway Rain Main on you there.


CP: You push well into savant territory when it comes to the American musical theater. You have not really revealed your idols among male pop songbirds.


RN: Oh, I don’t know. Who’s the guy in the Rolling Stones? I’m blanking.


E-mail: witheringglance@startribune.com

Twitter: @claudepeck and @RickNelsonStrib