Cleveland rocked last night as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted the Class of 2012.
Green Day got the party started with a performance of “Letterbomb,” before an opening speech from Rock and Roll Hall of Fame founder Jann Wenner, who said:
|“I believe in the magic of rock and roll. That magic can set you free. Ladies and gentlemen, tonight you’ve entered a place where magic happens.”|
Early Influence Award – Freddie King
Guitarist Freddie King was inducted in the Early Influence category by ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill. Gibbons said “Freddie taught us how to play like a group.”
Freddie King’s daughter, Wanda, accepted the honour and paid tribute to her late father:
|“He inspired so many young blues artists. I remember going to a show when I was 14 and meeting Stevie Ray Vaughan for the first time. He said to my dad, ‘How can I play the blues like you?’ My dad said, ‘If you don’t feel the blues, you’ll never play the blues.'”|
This was followed by a great jam on King’s “Hideaway” and “Going Down” by Gibbons, Derek Truck and Joe Bonamassa.
Donovan – inducted by John Mellencamp
John Mellencamp told the Cleveland crowd:
|“I wasn’t just listening to Donovan, I was living Donovan. He was my inspiration. One of the original originals.”|
Donovan accepted the honour by reciting a poem, ending with the line “I thank my fellow artists all.” He then played “Catch the Wind” and “Sunshine Superman” before duetting with Mellencamp on “Season of the Witch.”
The Small Faces/Faces – inducted by Stevie Van Zandt
The Small Faces and Faces were inducted jointly by Stevie Van Zandt of the E Street Band, who highlighted the importance of the lead singers Steve Marriott and Rod Stewart:
|“Not many bands get two lives or two of the greatest white soul singers in the history of rock and roll.”|
Stewart had to pull out of the event due to the flu, but Mick Hucknall did a fine job standing in for the singer with strong renditions of “All Or Nothing,” “Ooh La La” and “Stay With Me,” with the latter featuring cool slide guitar work from Ronnie Wood.
Laura Nyro – inducted by Bette Midler
Bette Midler said of the late Laura Nyro:
|“I loved her the moment I dropped the needle on the vinyl. She influenced so many musicians. She was the very essence of New York City. Not in the gritty real sense, but in the passionate, romantic, ethereal, eternal sense.”|
|“She was in a league all her own. When you put her records on, you’d think they were made yesterday. She embodies what we all want to be, if only we had the guts…She was an ornament on the Earth. Everyone is so gratified to see this day finally come around at last.”|
Midler’s speech was followed by a performance of Nyro’s “Stoney End” by Sara Bareilles.
Classic backing groups inducted
Smokey Robinson inducted the following six classic backing groups, who missed out when their frontman was inducted:
- The Miracles (Smokey Robinson)
- The Blue Caps (Gene Vincent)
- The Comets (Bill Haley)
- The Crickets (Buddy Holly)
- The Famous Flames (James Brown)
- The Midnighters (Hank Ballard).
The surviving members of all six groups were present to accept the long overdue inductions.
Ahmet Ertegun Award – Don Kirshner
Don Kirshner was recognised with the Ahmet Ertegun Award for influential record executives. Kirshner, who passed away in 2011, was a highly successful music publisher, producer, record company owner and television host/producer. Carole King presented the award and Darlene Love also paid tribute to Kirshner with a performance of “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” backed by Paul Shaffer and the CBS Orchestra.
Award for Musical Excellence – Cosino Matassa, Glyn Johns and Tom Dowd
Robbie Robertson presented the Award For Musical Excellence to Cosimo Matassa, Glyn Jones and Tom Dowd, who between them produced and engineered some of the biggest artists of all time, including Fats Domino and Little Richard (Matassa); the Rolling Stones, the Who, the Kinks, the Eagles and the Clash (Johns); and Ray Charles, Solomon Burke, Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding (Dowd).
Beastie Boys – inducted by LL Cool J and Chuck D
The Beastie Boys scrapped their planned performance at the ceremony after Adam Yauch pulled out of the event. Hours before the event, the group’s publicist released the following statement:
|“Beastie Boys regret that Adam ‘Mca’ Yauch will be unable to join Mike ‘Mike D’ Diamond and Adam ‘Adrock’ Horovitz at the band’s induction into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. Mike, Adam and Adam are truly grateful for the honor but with only two of the three Beastie Boys attending, they will unfortunately not be able to perform at the ceremony.”|
Fellow rappers LL Cool J and Chuck D inducted the Beastie Boys. Chuck D said:
|“They still are one of the greatest live acts in music. They challenged the conventions in the music business and made up their own rules about what it means to be world class hip-hop cats.”|
LL Cool J said:
|“I wouldn’t be here today without them. The Beastie Boys actually played my demo for Rick Rubin in his NYU dorm room. A lot of people don’t know that.”|
Guns N’ Roses – inducted by Billie Joe Armstrong
After so much speculation about the Guns N’ Roses induction and Axl Rose’s late withdrawal earlier in the week, things went smoothly for the band on the night. Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong spoke warmly about the band, noting:
|“The thing that set them apart from everybody else was guts, heart and soul. Most important, they told the truth.”|
Duff McKagan made a clear reference to Rose’s absence during his acceptance speech:
|“I don’t know if it matters who’s here tonight because it’s about the music that band created.”|
Slash, Duff McKagan, Steven Adler, Matt Sorum and Gilby Clarke were then joined by singer Myles Kennedy on three tracks from “Appetite for Destruction” – “Mr. Brownstone,” “Sweet Child o’ Mine” and “Paradise City”.
Red Hot Chili Peppers – inducted by Chris Rock
The Chili Peppers’ former guitarist John Frusciante was another no-show on the night, but former drummers Jack Irons and Cliff Martinez were both there and, after an induction speech by comedian Chris Rock, they joined the band on an energetic run through of “By the Way,” “The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie” and “Give It Away.”
The finale of the show saw Ron Wood, Slash, Billie Joe Armstrong and Kenny Jones join the Chili Peppers on stage for a rocking rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground.”
Tags: Beastie Boys, Cosino Matassa, Don Kirshner, Donovan, Freddie King, Glyn Johns, Guns 'N' Roses, Laura Nyro, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2012 inductees, The Blue Caps, The Comets, The Crickets, The Faces, The Famous Flames, The Midnighters, The Miracles, The Small Faces, Tom Dowd
Posted in American Rock, Awards, British Invasion, Folk, Rock 'n' roll |