Sunday, April 19, 2015

Five Epic Moments From the Rock Hall Induction Ceremony

Whether it was boldly paving the way for an entire genre or opening the doors for equality in race and gender, rock ‘n’ roll would not be what it is today without the 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees. The honorees joined more than six decades of music’s greatest icons at Public Hall Saturday for an epic celebration. As Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong said of the crowd, “It’s like my record collection is actually sitting in this room.” Inductees included Ringo Starr, the “5” Royales, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Green Day, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Lou Reed, Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble and Bill Withers. From a misty-eyed tribute to the late Reed to the hysterical jokes of Withers to a monumental all-star jam led by Starr here are highlights from the ceremony that will air May 30 on HBO.

Joan Jett
Joan Jett Feels Accepted

So Miley Cyrus grabbed attention when she started inducting Joan Jett by saying that she wanted to have sex with her, dropped a ton of F-bombs and told a story about smoking pot in a hotel bathroom with Jett before taping Oprah together. But when the leather jacketed, striped pant-donning Jett took the stage, she received a standing ovation that sent tears streaming out of her black-lined eyes. “I was trying to not bawl because people just did not think girls could play rock ‘n’ roll,” she later said. “You know the all the nasty things that were said to us went on for years and years. … So to see that whole place standing up like that was like acceptance and it was very moving.”

Jimmie Vaughan and Double Trouble
An Electrifying Tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan

“The ultimate guitar hero” is how John Mayer views the late Vaughan. While he was inducting him, he acknowledged that Vaughan saved his life by stressing the importance of staying clean from drugs and alcohol. The Texas blues guitarist got a blazing tribute with “Pride and Joy and “Texas Flood” performed by his brother Jimmie, Mayer, Gary Clark Jr. and Doyle Bramhall II replete with soaring guitar solos. Jimmie closed out the set with a send-up he wrote fro his brother, “Six Strings Down.” 

Laurie Anderson Remembers Lou Reed

“Lou, Lou, Lou” floated through the air as Laurie Anderson delivered the most emotional speech of the night about her husband who passed in 2013. While still reeling from the loss of the alternative pioneer, she took great comfort in knowing that his name lives on for an eternity through the Hall of Fame. “He’s here with his heroes Otis and Dion. He’s here with B.B. King, who he loved and admired. Aretha, who he saw so many times. His dear friend Doc Pomus.” She left the audience with a heartfelt rundown of Reed’s rules to live by: don’t be afraid of anyone, get a really good bullshit detector and be really tender.

Bill Withers and Stevie Wonder

Bill Withers Tells Spunky Jokes

The 76-year-old R&B singer-songwriter who’s been out of the spotlight for nearly 30 years showed off his sprightly charisma by going off the teleprompter and musing on random-fire topics from Yoko Ono’s hat to his adoration for Judge Judy. “I’m honored to be this year’s youngest living solo performer inductee. Who else came here with a Legend and a Wonder?” he quipped. But he wasn’t all funny business. After a 25-year hiatus from performing, Withers surprisingly took the stage to join Stevie Wonder and John Legend for a gospel-laced “Lean on Me” rendition that brought the audience to its feet.

Joe Walsh and Ringo Starr

Ringo Starr Shouts Out to Cleveland

Our city shaped Ringo Starr. Let that one sink in. “I got lucky that it’s actually in Cleveland,” said the last of the four Beatles to be inducted as a solo artist. Starr talked about listening to Alan Freed’s broadcasts from Cleveland while growing up in Liverpool, England. “That’s where we heard rock ‘n’ roll music,” he recalled. He repaid us with leading the night's best performances, all-star jams of “With a Little Help From My Friends” and “I Wanna Be Your Man”  that solidifies this class' standing amongst legends.

Photos by Jennifer Keirn

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