The 2014 Rock Hall of Fame Inductions


Saturday night HBO aired this year’s induction ceremony for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and I watched it as I always do. It was a mix of bands and performers that I really like, some I don’t like as much but think should definitely be in the hall of fame and on or two that I don’t care much about at all.

The show started with the induction of Peter Gabriel. He’s already in the hall as a member of Genesis, but this was for his solo work, which is extraordinary. The album So may be the masterpiece album of the 80s. Forget Sledgehammer and its acid trip video that got all the attention, songs like Red Rain, Mercy Street and best of all In Your Eyes (the greatest love song in rock since Marvin Gaye) helped define an era — my era. Gabriel doesn’t have the voice he used to have but the performance of In Your Eyes, which reunited him with Youssou N’Dour, was still magical, driven by Manu Katche’s incredibly conceived drum part.

KISS was also inducted. KISS bores me. Always has. And Tom Morello’s unexpectedly passionate speech honoring them didn’t change my mind one bit. I’ve said many times that they should have been in the hall of fame a long, long time ago — not because their music is any good (it isn’t) but because you can’t tell the story of rock and roll without them. The influence and over 100 million albums sold clearly puts them in, but frankly I’m glad they didn’t perform because, well, they suck.

Hall and Oates is a band that I didn’t like much when they were topping the charts in the early-mid 80s, but they’ve grown on me over the years, especially the older stuff. Songs like She’s Gone and Sara Smile are classics of blue-eyed soul. This is the most successful due in music history and they absolutely deserve to be there. They also sounded pretty darn good when they performed. Hall may not be able to reach all the high notes, but they still harmonize beautifully.

Linda Ronstadt was inducted as well, which I just fast forwarded through (nothing against her, just was never a fan). And Cat Stevens was inducted, which prompts me to say only one thing: Fuck Cat Stevens. He may have made a couple of peace-loving songs in the 70s but I will not forgive him for his embrace of religious fascism in calling for the murder of Salman Rushdie after he converted to Islam. So fuck Cat Stevens.

Next up was Nirvana, a first ballot hall of fame band. This is the band that launched grunge and defined the music and attitude of an entire generation and, despite having only put out three albums, the hall of fame is right to put them in so soon. I’m not sure what they were thinking with their choices of people to sing their songs when they performed. The only one that was listenable was Joan Jett doing Smells Like Teen Spirit. Despite her very limited vocal range, she did a good job (and it’s about time she got into the hall of fame as well).

And finally, Bruce Springsteen inducted his own E Street Band into the hall of game, 15 years later than necessary. Springsteen gives great induction speeches and this was no exception. I like that they brought back everyone who had ever played in the E Street Band, including keyboardist David Sancious, who has played with Sting on and off for 25 years and who also played with Peter Gabriel during this show. This is another band that I mostly ignored when they were at their peak of popularity in my teenage years, but the older I get the more I like and appreciate them. The E Street Band is a force of nature. Their live shows are the stuff of legend, and deservedly so. And while they should have gone into the hall along with Springsteen in 1989 (he talked about his regret at not insisting that they go in with him the first time around), better late than never.

The big thing missing from the show was the jam session at the end. They always have a jam session of all the nominated bands and others and this year they didn’t. That sucked. That’s often when some magical moments happen, like Prince’s blistering guitar solo during While My Guitar Gently Weeps many years ago.

Comments

  1. says

    “Forget Sledgehammer and its acid trip video that got all the attention, songs like Red Rain, Mercy Street and best of all In Your Eyes (the greatest love song in rock since Marvin Gaye) helped define an era — my era”

    Thank you! Red Rain and Mercy Street remain two of my favorite songs ever!

  2. gingerbaker says

    Cat Stevens “called for the murder” of Salman Rushie?

    I don’t remember the story like that. If the reporter had not goaded him into his technical explanation, would not the only public experience of Cat Stevens be of a fellow who had nothing bad to say about anyone, who spoke of peace, love and happiness, and lived that life. And a singer-songwriter-guitarist who wrote some of the most catchy tunes of the past fifty years?

    Imagine if an interviewer asked Bob Dylan or Lou Reed about homosexuality and exactly what his good book of Leviticus had to say about it.

  3. says

    And yes, the single most overdue band is Deep Purple. I can’t believe they’ve been nominated and failed to get in two years in a row. What the hell are the voters thinking? And Yes should be the next one. I believe ELP are already in.

  4. gingerbaker says

    gingerbaker — I don’t think the record could be much more clear.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cat_Stevens'_comments_about_Salman_Rushdie

    Actually, yeah – it could be more clear, Ed. A lot more clear.

    Characterizing Stevens as “calling for the death” of S.R. is precisely what Stevens says he did not do, did not intend to do, and what he expressly says he was not trying to do. But feel free to interpret it any way you please.

    The way I see it, he was asked (provocatively) to explain the Koran vis a vis Rushdie which he did, accurately. And then he made statements later which upon review appear to be what he said they were – really ungraceful attempts at humor which fell very flat. But, read even ungraciously, it is clear that he was quite explicitly not personally calling for the death of S.R.

    From your link:

    Cat Stevens statement on his website:

    “I never called for the death of Salman Rushdie; nor backed the Fatwa issued by the Ayatollah Khomeini–and still don’t. The book itself destroyed the harmony between peoples and created an unnecessary international crisis.

    When asked about my opinion regarding blasphemy, I could not tell a lie and confirmed that–like both the Torah and the Gospel–the Qur’an considers it, without repentance, as a capital offense. The Bible is full of similar harsh laws if you’re looking for them.[8] However, the application of such Biblical and Qur’anic injunctions is not to be outside of due process of law, in a place or land where such law is accepted and applied by the society as a whole… [9]”

  5. logicgrrl says

    The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction show is the one reason I wish I still had cable…

  6. jws1 says

    ELP? Linda Ronstadt? What the fuck? It’s the hall of FAME, not the hall of pretty good. Not everybody who made an album 30 or 40 years ago automatically gets in. Sheesh, be a little more selective. Why not April Wine, or Sweet, or Roxette, while your so hard at work rewarding mediocrity.

  7. cptdoom says

    The album So may be the masterpiece album of the 80s. Forget Sledgehammer and its acid trip video that got all the attention, songs like Red Rain, Mercy Street and best of all In Your Eyes (the greatest love song in rock since Marvin Gaye) helped define an era — my era.

    One of my favorite albums of all time. Not only did the movie Say Anything use In Your Eyes for one of the most iconoclastic moments of the era’s movie’s, but that album also includes Don’t Give Up, the amazing duet with Kate Bush.

  8. wildbill says

    As far as who should be in, one that is now criminally obvious is Lou Reed. Yes he is in with the Velvets, but he should already be in as a solo artist as well.

    Actually, I liked what nirvana did, both Joan Jett and Kim Gordon (of Sonic youth) made sense. Don’t know much about about st. vincent or lorde, I can’t say much about the choices, but I did like their performances (especially st. vincent). I wished Gabriel got to perform more. I hated the way the E street band segment was edited. Let us hear everyone talk, then let us hear the whole performance (their performance was great). The ronstadt segment was ok, but could have done without carrie underwood. I’m still not sure hall & oates belong.

  9. says

    gingerbaker —

    I don’t care what he said after the fact when it became a controversy and he was criticized, I care what he said that caused the controversy. And what he said is fucking barbaric. He said that Rushdie deserved to be killed, that the Quran demands it and that if he knew where Rushdie was would “try to phone the Ayatollah Khomeini and tell him exactly where this man is.” The man is a religious fascist, plain and simple.

  10. eric says

    And Yes should be the next one.

    But…but…there’s not enough hotel space in Cleveland for them! :P

  11. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @gingerbaker
    Can you not read? Ed too.

    However, the application of such Biblical and Qur’anic injunctions is not to be outside of due process of law, in a place or land where such law is accepted and applied by the society as a whole… [9]”

    He is saying that Salman Rushdie can be killed for writing the book, as long as it’s done through a “legitimate” court system. Read people, srsly.

  12. Al Dente says

    Saying that somebody should be killed, even legally, is the speaker saying he wants the someone dead. Cat Stevens wants Rushdie dead for “insulting Islam” or some such fuckery.

  13. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @cptdoom, #12:

    of the most iconoclastic moments of the era’s movie’s,

    I think you mean “iconic moments”. It was hardly a moment that smashed icons. It was one that created one.

    @Ed:

    Joan Jett isn’t in???? The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame????

    Look, I can understand the museum having that name but recognizing that music changes and being more a “rock-oriented popular music hall of fame”, but your name still has “Rock and Roll” in it, and has there ever, ever been a woman whose presence screamed “Rock and Roll” more than Joan fucking Jett?

    Can you seriously tell the story of rock and roll without her?

    Linda Ronstadt did some great stuff, and given the museum’s expanded mission, I’m okay with her being in – in theory. But Joan Jett – and Deep Purple, I agree – ought to be put on a list of “no one else gets in until we induct these folks”. And, hell, I can’t even put her below Deep Purple. Half the world is women and Joan Jett is THE rock and roll woman. Given what she meant to women’s participation in rock in would be like inducting a bunch of white rockers, but not Elvis who brought rock to the white people. My mind is blown. This is like not having Chuck fucking Berry in the Hall. This is like not mentioning “Johnny B Goode”.

    I have lost all ability to even.

    Someone tell me I’ve interpreted Ed wrongly and she’s been in since her first ballot opportunity.

  14. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Lords of Malignant Neglect! I didn’t interpret Ed wrongly.

    Moreover? I went to NIHOF and Joan Jett isn’t in the first 50 suggestions.

    There’s exactly one(1) woman in the first 50 suggestions, and she’s not in on her own. Kim Gordon is technically in the first 50 suggestions as she’s the lead singer of Sonic Youth, which was somewhere in the 20s or 30s.

    The band “Love” is on that list before Joan Jett.

    Fuck that. Fuck that hard.

  15. gingerbaker says

    “He is saying that Salman Rushdie can be killed for writing the book, as long as it’s done through a “legitimate” court system. Read people, srsly.”

    No, he is saying that the Koran says “X”, but that should be superceded by a legitimate secular court system.

    FFS, he explicitly said the ‘calling the Ayatolla’ was said in jest, and he did NOT want anyone to kill Rushdie.But let’s not let what he actually said interfere with our condemnation of him, right Ed?

  16. gingerbaker says

    Oh, and before Lou Reed gets a second induction, perhaps Richard Thompson might get his first?

  17. wildbill says

    Definitely agree Thompson should be in (as should Fairport Convention), but this is probably not going to happen(he’s not popular enough). Another major oversight I left off, Emmy Lou Harris.

  18. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @gingerbaker
    I do not understand how you are unable to read a rather clear passage. Read it again please.

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