Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

Although I am a week late, I still wanted to toss in a couple of pennies regarding this year's RRHOF Induction Ceremony:

1. It was cool to see The Ronettes after all of these years. Both curious and understandable at the same time, none of the members mentioned Phil Spector during their speeches. Allegedly due to illness, member Estelle Bennett (Ronnie Spector's sister) did not perform with The Ronettes during their set. A younger female singer stood in for her. However, at the end of their performance of "Be My Baby", the substitute left the stage and they brought out Estelle to take a bow with Ronnie and Nedra Talley (the 3rd member, who is also Ronnie and Estelle's cousin). If there is more to the story behind the substitution, maybe Ronnie will shed some light if she writes an update to her autobiography (naturally titled "Be My Baby").

2. During his speech, Grandmaster Flash took the time to make note that despite what some people think, what he and the Furious Five did musically was very much a part of rock and roll. Although they are the 1st rap/hip hop act to be inducted, they certainly will not be the last.

3. Given that we live in world that can be too PC, I give credit to Patti Smith for peforming her song "Rock and Roll Nigger" (of course, VH-1 bleeped out the offending word). For anyone unfamiliar with the song, it is in no way racist (it attempted to redefine the term "Rock and Roll Nigger" as a badge of honor for anyone who lived outside the establishment). Since there was no public outcry over her performance of this song during the induction ceremony, one of two things happened. People not familiar with the tune actually listened to the lyrics or they didn't see the performance at all. I'll keep my cynicism in check for a moment and go with the former.

4. Michael Stipe of R.E.M. looked sharp as hell in his white suit! Also, props to Eddie Vedder for his subdued (but hilarious) speech inducting R.E.M. I especially liked what he said about listening to "Murmur" over 1,200 times even though you can't understand a fucking thing [frontman Michael Stipe] is saying." Another highlight was Eddie duetting with Michael during R.E.M.'s performance of "Man On the Moon".

5. I was thoroughly disappointed that only 2 of Van Halen's inducted members (Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony) showed up. However, Eddie Van Halen did have a legit excuse (he's in rehab). Maybe brother Alex's no-show is related to that. As for Diamond Dave, it appears that he didn't show because of a dispute over what songs he would perform. According to Scott Weiland (who, along with his group Velvet Revolver, inducted VH and performed some VH tunes), David was adamant about doing ''Jump.'' Weiland added that "Jump was not really us, and we don't have a keyboard player." As a side note, Gary Cherone (the man who replaced Sammy Hagar as VH lead singer) was not inducted with Van Halen. However, bassist Michael Anthony showed tremendous class during his induction speech by mentioning Cherone's contribution to VH.

Rock & Roll Hall Welcomes Class of 2007 (clip approx. 2 minutes in length)

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