Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony: Our Five Favorite Moments
Every year the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony provides plenty of highlights. We’ve compiled five of our favorites, which includes moments provided by Pearl Jam, Lenny Kravitz and Nile Rodgers, for you.
These range from speeches — both by inductors and inductees — to performances. The former brought us a television legend on short notice, a long overdue induction and an attire-based acknowledgement of the many bands that have yet to be recognized by the Hall. For the latter, we saw one of the biggest pop stars of the past 30 years bringing a gospel choir to honor an icon who left us all too soon and generations of politically active folksingers coming together.
Although the official broadcast won’t take place until April 29 on HBO, we searched through YouTube to find fan-shot clips of these moments. Check them all out below.
David Letterman Inducting Pearl Jam
We’re still not used to seeing David Letterman with that giant beard, but underneath he’s the same mixture of sarcasm and heart that made him a late-night television fixture for 30 years. Letterman joked that he’d known the members of the band back from the days when he played with them in Mother Love Bone and that the balcony of the Barclays Center was loaded with their former drummers, but he also he praised their commitment to political activism. “They would recognize injustice and they would stand up for it,” he said, “whether it was human rights or the environment, whether it was poverty. They didn’t let it wash over them. They would stand up and react. … These young men risked their careers by going after those beady-eyed, blood-thirsty weasels at Ticketmaster.”
Nile Rodgers, Finally
After having been on the ballot 11 unsuccessful times as a member of Chic, Nile Rodgers entered the Hall through their Award For Musical Excellence, which recognizes his work as a songwriter, producer and guitarist. After boasting that he has sold 300 million albums and 75 million singles, he pivoted and showed a lack of ego in his approach to producing. “When people work with me, they think that I’m the boss,” he said. “But believe me, every record I do I join the band. I try and make every artist believe that all I have is their best interest at heart. … This award, which is amazing to me, is really because of all the people that have allowed me to come into their lives and just join their band. Be it Mick Jagger, be it Madonna, be it Duran Duran, be it Daft Punk, be it Pharrell Williams, be it Diana Ross, be it Sister Sledge.”
Joan Baez With the Indigo Girls and Mary Chapin Carpenter
It’s always a thrill to see legends performing with a new generation of musicians. In the case of Joan Baez, she brought out the Indigo Girls and Mary Chapin Carpenter to sing Woody Guthrie‘s “Deportee.” She called them onto the stage by saying, “I like working with younger artists. They give me the impression that I’m younger than I am.” The women, who first sang together in 1991, are touring in June as Four Voices.
Lenny Kravitz’s Choir
Lenny Kravitz paid tribute to Prince by singing two of the Purple One’s songs, a version of “When Doves Cry” that had a different groove than the original and “The Cross,” from Sign ‘O’ the Times. In addition to his regular band, he received vocal support from the 30-member Love Fellowship Choir, led by Grammy-winning gospel singer Hezekiah Walker.
Jeff Ament’s Shirt
In his acceptance speech, Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament mentioned a handful of bands that had not yet been inducted into the Hall, including Roxy Music, the Jam and Black Flag. But his t-shirt added dozens of acts — a diverse array including the Replacements, Nina Simone, Bon Jovi, Richard Hell, King Crimson, Fela Kuti, Weather Report and Harry Nilsson — all of whom have been snubbed by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame throughout the years.