“People who make music together cannot be enemies, at least while the music lasts.” Paul Hindemith
HBO hosted a special event tonight: The 27th annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony which honored the artistic and musical contributions of the following inductees: Guns N’ Roses, Beastie Boys, Donovan, Laura Nyro, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Small Faces/Faces, Freddie King, Don Kirshner, Cosimo Matassa, Tom Dowd, Glyn Johns, The Crickets, The Famous Flames, The Midnighters, The Comets, The Blue Caps, and The Miracles. If you have never heard the music of any of these brilliant artistes, now is not a bad time to look them up and check out their sounds. Personally, I have a few favorites on the list and I’ll share some songs.
“Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music” Sergei Rachmaninov
The show had its share of zany musicians, great speeches and stellar performances. I have to say that Ledisi did a brilliant rendition of Etta James song “At Last” as pictures of all the great musicians who passed away this year scrolled down a large screen. Bitter sweet to see Whitney Houston, Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys, and a number of others on it. There were lots of moving, passionate speeches; Rappers Chuck D and LL Cool J and several others did a brilliant job when they paid tribute to the late Adam Yauch of The Beastie Boys. Bette Midler gave a very emotional and touching speech about the brilliant work and life of Laura Nyro. ZZ Top paid a great homage to Freddie King. John Mellencamp, in his tribute, admitted to stealing material from Donovan.
A funny moment was when Chris Rock cracked a joke that if Axl Rose of Guns N’ Roses was going to show up for the event, he would still be on his way… Axl Rose had declined to be inducted into the Hall of Fame for reasons he explained in a letter he wrote to the RRHF. I applaud his gumption. You can read the letter at end of this post explaining why. Meanwhile, Slash thanked everyone including the kitchen sink… just kidding. Ron Wood of The Rolling Stones was inducted again for his gig as a member, back in the day, of The Small Faces/Faces. He was inducted with fellow former band members Rod Stewart and Kenney Jones of The Who. Like Axl Rose, Rod was a no show…The Red Hot Chili Peppers wrapped up the evening performing Stevie Wonder’s ‘Higher Ground.’ with Ron Wood, Slash and George Clinton jumping in to bring the event to an energetic conclusion. Get a recap here: Ultimate classicrock. More below!