The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame had its 2019 induction ceremony at Barclays Center in New York this weekend and it was an evening of gratitude and well-wishes not only for the inductees, but also to the Hall itself for a job well done.
This year’s honorees included Radiohead, Stevie Nicks, The Cure, Janet Jackson, Def Leppard, Roxy Music, and The Zombies, with many – especially Trent Reznor – giving the Hall props for the list despite alleged past sins.
The Zombies, for instance, had to wait 29 years and four ballots to get in, and Roxy Music, Janet Jackson, and Def Leppard have been waiting for at least 10 years. Reznor, who inducted The Cure, has had choice words for the Hall in the past but last night was apparently extremely gracious.
“I remember distinctly saying to myself, among other things, how can I even take this awards ceremony seriously if they’ll open their doors to X, Y, and Z and not acknowledge the Cure?” Reznor said, according to Rolling Stone. “Not so long ago I get a phone call I wasn’t expecting, and, well, here we are. Let’s just say I’ve never been as happy to eat my words as I was tonight.”
Janet Jackson, Roxy Music and The Zombies (the latter inducted by The Bangles’ Suzanna Hoffs) all received similar accolades. Some were lacking in attendance – Brian Eno didn’t make it to the room for Roxy Music and much of Radiohead were unavailable – but that was made up for by The Cure, with Robert Smith bringing to the stage literally dozens of players from the band from over the years.
Nicks kicked off the show with the help of Don Henley, Harry Styles and ace guitarist Waddy Wachtel. She performed “Leather and Lace” with Henley, “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” with Styles and Wachtel recreated his guitar parts for “Edge of Seventeen.”
“If you’re lucky enough to know her, she’s always there for you,” Styles said. “She knows what you need, advice, a little wisdom, a blouse, a shawl — she’s got you covered. Her songs make you ache, feel on top of the world, make you want to dance, and usually all three at the same time. She’s responsible for more running mascara — including my own — than all the bad dates in history combined. That is true Stevie.”
Radiohead was inducted by David Byrne, whose Talking Heads song “Radio Head” inspired the band’s name.
Roxy Music was inducted by Simon Le Bon and John Taylor who said they both worshipped the rock pioneers as teenagers.
The evening also included a category introduced last year where songs are inducted into the Hall, which gives provides some acknowledgment to performers and writers who would otherwise not be recognized. This year, the songs were presented by Steve Van Zandt.
The selections were “Maybe” by the Chantels, “Tequila” by the Champs, “Money (That’s What I Want)” by Barrett Strong, “Twist and Shout” by the Isley Brothers, “Leader of the Pack” by the Shangri-Las and “Gloria” by the Shadows of Knight.
Def Leppard’s acceptance speech included an emotional moment when singer Joe Elliott recognized the fortitude of drummer Rick Allen, who continued with the band after a devastating car accident that took away one of his arms.
“He survived it,” Elliott said, “and came out the other side stronger.”
Jackson did not perform but reportedly gave an emotional speech about the long journey it took for her to get where she is.
I witnessed, along with the rest of the world, my family’s extraordinary impact on popular culture,” she said. “Not just in America, but all around the globe, the entire globe. As the youngest in the family, I was determined to make it on my own. I wanted to stand on my own two feet, but never in a million years did I expect to follow in their footsteps. Tonight, your baby sister has made it in.”
The event is expected to be broadcast on HBO April 27.