News April 16, 2018

20 highlights and lowlights at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductions

Byron Jones
Staff Writer
20 highlights and lowlights at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductions
Image: David Bergman

The 2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony took place on Saturday night at Cleveland’s Public Auditorium, with as many highs as there were lows.

Among them were:

#1 – Bon Jovi stole the show, reuniting with guitarist Richie Sambora and original bassist Alec John Such for the induction.

#2 – Their anthemic set included ‘You Give Love a Bad Name’, ‘Wanted Dead Or Alive’, ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’ and ‘It’s My Life.’

#3 – Jon Bon Jovi’s thank you speech went close to the 20 minute mark.

“I’ve been writing this speech since I first strummed a broom and sang at the top of the stairs of my childhood home,” he said.

“I’ve actually written it many ways, many times.

“Some days I write a thank you speech and other days, I write an fuck-you speech.”

#4 – American DJ Howard Stern’s induction speech included a reference to Jon Bon Jovi‘s use of hairspray, Sambora‘s penis size and the fact that the band’s 130 million album sales eclipsed the death tolls from Europe’s bubonic plague, the American Civil War and atomic bomb drops..

#5 – Mark Knopfler refused to attend, so Dire Straits did not play.

“I’ll assure you it’s a personal thing. Let’s just leave it at that,” bassist John Illsley told the audience.

#6 – Even more embarrassing, no one was on hand to induct Dire Straits, so John Illsley took the stage with keyboardists Alan Clark and Guy Fletcher, to induct his own band into the Rock and Roll Hall.

#7 – Guy Fletcher admitted, “I never thought of Dire Straits as a particularly cool band… We weren’t really there to be cool.”

He told the group’s fans to “consider this award yours, but if you don’t mind, I’ll look after it.”

#8 – Lauryn Hill made an unexpected appearance to join Andra Day and The Roots to perform the songs of the late Nina Simone – “the high priestess of soul” according to Mary J Blige who inducted her, the night’s most musical moment.

#9 – Nina Simone’s younger brother Rev Wayman picked up the trophy and recalled his sister’s pride and self confidence, “I’m gonna say this to all my black young girls, if you want to be a queen you are a queen.

“If you think you’re a king, you’re are a king.

“If you want to be like my sister and you have a dream, don’t let anything stop you from your quest.”

#10 – John Lodge: of The Moody Blues recalled how the band and producer Tony Clarke went into the Decca Studios in London in 1967 and came out with their debut Days of Future Passed, “an album that changed our lives forever.

“And I’d like to thank American radios for supporting us for five decades.

“And the belief in us has just been tremendous and has given us encouragement to keep going, and doing everything we love to do and that’s make music.”

#11 – The Killers paid tribute to Tom Petty, playing his ‘American Girl’ which segued into “Free Fallin’.”

#12 – Heart’s Ann Wilson and Alice in Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell performed Soundgarden’s ‘Black Hole Sun’ for Chris Cornell.

#13 – A tribute to gospel-blues singer Sister Rosetta Tharpe (who died in 1973) was by Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes, following video footage of interviews by Aretha Franklin and Johnny Cash of her musical prowess.

#14 – The Killers Brandon Flowers who covers The Cars songs in his show, fell to his knee as The Cars members walked on stage.

#15 – Ric Ocasek in a glittering silver tuxedo paid tribute to bassist/ singer Benjamin Orr, who died in 2000, saying, “It’s quite strange to be here without him.”

#16 – The Cars’ Elliott Easton paid tribute to his late mother, glancing heaven-ward and declaring, “We did it mom!!”

#17 – Weezer’s Scott Shriner joined The Cars on bass for their run-through of hits including ‘My Best Friend’s Girl’ and ‘You Might Think’.

#18 – This year saw the introduction of a new category inducting songs that shaped rock music.

There were six: ‘Rocket 88’ by Jackie Breston and his Delta Cats (1951), ‘Rumble’ by Link Wray and his Ray Men (1958), ‘Louie Louie’ by The Kingsmen (1963), ‘A Whiter Shade Of Pale’ by Procol Harum’s (1967) and ‘Born To Be  Wild’ by Steppenwolf (1968).

#19 – Steve Van Zandt while introducing the new category, noted, “We all know the history of music can be changed with just one song, one record.

“In three minutes we suddenly enter a new direction, a movement, a style, an experience.

“That three-minute song can result in a personal revelation, an epiphany that changes our lives.”

#20 – Usually the induction ceremony ends with everyone gathering onstage to perform a famous song by one of the inductees.

Alas, this year organised opted for The Moody Blues to end the show

They were so laid back, that the audience streamed out of their seats despite their set including ‘I’m Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band),” ‘Ride My See Saw’ and the gorgeous ‘Nights in White Satin.’

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