Rock Hall of Fame high­lights

From Janet Jack­son to The Zom­bies, icons rule.

USA TODAY US Edition - - LIFE - Maeve McDer­mott and Pa­trick Ryan

From Ste­vie Nicks’ charm­ingly loopy sto­ry­telling to Janet Jack­son’s soft-spo­ken com­mem­o­ra­tion of her fam­ily, the high­lights of the 2019 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in­duc­tion were the mo­ments when the night’s most dis­tinc­tive per­son­al­i­ties were on dis­play.

Fri­day night’s cer­e­mony at Brook­lyn’s Bar­clays Cen­ter brought to­gether a wide-rang­ing group of artists to honor them as the Rock Hall’s 2019 in­ductees: Nicks, Jack­son, Ra­dio­head, The Cure, Def Lep­pard, Roxy Mu­sic and The Zom­bies.

The cer­e­mony will air April 27 on HBO.

The first woman to be in­ducted into the Rock Hall two times, Ste­vie Nicks kicked off the night as the show’s first per­former and in­ductee with a dis­play of show­man­ship that few of the night’s other fea­tured artists man­aged to top. Blaz­ing through sev­eral of her hits in her open­ing med­ley, Nicks brought Don Henley on­stage for “Leather and Lace” and was joined by Harry Styles for her Tom Petty col­lab­o­ra­tion “Stop Drag­gin’ My Heart Around,” with Styles tack­ling Petty’s vo­cals.

“We didn’t re­al­ize it would be the last song on my set for the rest of my life, it never seems to lose its power,” she said, in­tro­duc­ing the last song in her set, her en­dur­ing hit “Edge of Seven­teen.”

Styles re­turned to the stage to in­duct Nicks into the Rock Hall, with a speech hon­or­ing Nicks’ sta­tus as a mu­si­cal and cul­tural icon.

“On Hal­loween, one in seven peo­ple dress as Ste­vie Nicks,” he said. “She is both an ad­jec­tive and a verb. To quote my mother, ‘I Ste­vie Nicks’d that (ex­ple­tive) so hard.’”

Nicks ac­knowl­edged that she was too ner­vous to pre­pare a speech, in­stead treat­ing the au­di­ence to six min­utes of vin­tage sto­ries and quirky ad­vice, as she re­called her years rough­ing it with her for­mer band­mate Lind­say Buck­ing­ham.

“Three wait­ress jobs and two clean­ing lady jobs,” she re­called, ex­plain­ing that she rel­ished leaving the house she shared with Buck­ing­ham be­cause of the con­stant clouds of il­licit drug smoke. “Lind­say worked on the mu­sic, I worked on food and dirty houses.”

Ad­dress­ing her fel­low fe­male artists, Nicks en­cour­aged them to seek the same ca­reer heights that she has achieved, in­clud­ing her record­break­ing dou­ble in­duc­tion. “What I am do­ing is open­ing up the door,” she said. “The times are dif­fer­ent, and it’s gonna be hard but I know some­one will be able to do it, and I’ll give enough in­ter­views to tell you what to do.”

Ra­dio­head front­man Thom Yorke, as well as band­mates Jonny and Colin Green­wood, did not at­tend the cer­e­mony, leaving gui­tarist Ed O’Brien and drum­mer Philip Sel­way to thank the in­die rock band’s cheer­ing fans in the au­di­ence.

“It feels re­ally good to be in­ducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” O’Brien said. “I know if the other guys were here, they’d feel it, too.”

Mak­ing up for the miss­ing star power, pop in­no­va­tor and Talk­ing Heads front­man David Byrne in­ducted Ra­dio­head into the Rock Hall, point­ing out that the band took their name from the 1986 Talk­ing Heads song “Ra­dio Head.”

“I’ve asked my­self, why that song?” Byrne said, calling it a “slightly goofy Tex-Mex song.”

“I still haven’t been able to fig­ure it out and I still don’t want to know,” he con­tin­ued, prais­ing Ra­dio­head for “their mu­sic, the qual­ity and con­stant in­no­va­tion, but equally for their in­no­va­tions in how they re­lease their work (that) com­pletely changed the en­tire mu­sic busi­ness.”

“It’s a real honor that David Byrne has in­ducted us,” Sel­way said. “We bor­rowed our band name from him 30 years ago, and luck­ily for us, he hasn’t asked for it back yet.”

For the first time since 2011, the ma­jor­ity of Roxy Mu­sic gath­ered on stage to per­form to­gether and cel­e­brate the band’s legacy. Band­leader Bryan Ferry, gui­tarist Phil Man­zan­era and sax­o­phon­ist Andy Mackay were in at­ten­dance at the cer­e­mony, run­ning through a set list of hits, in­clud­ing “Out of the Blue,” “Love Is the Drug,” “Avalon” and “Edi­tions of You.”

Du­ran Du­ran’s Si­mon Le Bon and John Tay­lor did the hon­ors of in­duct­ing the English rock­ers, with Le Bon calling their mu­sic “a shock to the sys­tem, a psy­che­delic Si­na­tra croon­ing pop-art po­etry over driv­ing drums, sax­o­phones and oboes, heav­ily treated elec­tric gui­tars, and the most out-there syn­the­sizer parts you’ve ever heard.”

“The mu­si­cians them­selves were dressed out­ra­geously, each one with an in­di­vid­ual, well-de­fined look,” he con­tin­ued. “Put it all to­gether and what you got was pulp-sci­ence fic­tion.”

While Du­ran Du­ran has yet to be in­ducted into the Rock Hall, Le Bon de­murred when asked about the in­clu­sion of their new-wave peers The Cure in the 2019 class.

“The Rock Hall in­ducts seven acts a year, so there must be a very fine process of elim­i­na­tion to get there,” he said. “One does not pre­sume to be in­ducted and if it does hap­pen, you’re very grate­ful for it.”

Found­ing mem­ber Brian Eno, who hasn’t played with the band since 1973, did not ap­pear with the band, nor did drum­mer Paul Thomp­son.

“Do I have time for one more? (Ex­ple­tive) Ste­vie Nicks!” Cure front­man Robert Smith joked on­stage to­ward the end of their set, ref­er­enc­ing Nicks’ time-con­sum­ing show opener, be­fore launch­ing into the band’s en­dur­ing hit “Boys Don’t Cry.”

In one of the night’s most in­spired in­duc­tor-in­ductee com­bi­na­tions of the night, Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor spoke about how the ’80s pop in­no­va­tors changed his life as a young lis­tener, in the years “be­fore the in­ter­net de­val­ued our art form.”

“A lot of the dark­ness I felt in my head was com­ing back through the speak­ers, and it blew my mind,” he said, re­call­ing hear­ing The Cure’s “The Head on the Door” al­bum in col­lege.

Reznor con­ceded that he’s not al­ways a fan of awards shows, but for The Cure, he was more will­ing to travel to Bar­clays for their in­duc­tion.

“In the past, I’ve been am­biva­lent about the ex­is­tence of cer­tain awards cer­e­monies,” Reznor said. “I’ve even said, among other things, ‘How can I take this awards cer­e­mony se­ri­ously if they let in X, Y and Z, but they won’t even let in The Cure?’ Let’s just say, I’m never been so happy to eat my words.”

Smith was un­fail­ingly po­lite dur­ing his short-and-sweet speech, telling the crowd that he’d “rather use our al­lo­cated time to play some mu­sic” in­stead.

“I’d like to thank all the fans, ev­ery­one who’s bought our records or lis­tened or been to a show and just en­joyed what we do, it’s been fan­tas­tic,” he said. “We love you, too.”

Cel­e­brat­ing her much-de­served Rock Hall in­duc­tion, Janet Jack­son gave a speech brim­ming with love for her par­ents, sib­lings and young son, 2year-old Eissa Al Mana.

“He wakes me up ev­ery sin­gle morn­ing singing his own lit­tle melodies,” she said. “He’s only 2, you guys. I want you to know that you are my heart, you are my life, and you have shown me the real mean­ing of un­con­di­tional love.”

Jack­son didn’t ref­er­ence her brother Michael Jack­son di­rectly in her speech, main­tain­ing the si­lence she’s kept since the re­lease of the con­tro­ver­sial HBO doc­u­men­tary “Leaving Nev­er­land” about the al­leged crimes against him. But she did men­tion “my fam­ily’s ex­tra­or­di­nary im­pact on pop­u­lar cul­ture” in her speech, telling her broth­ers, “tonight, your baby sis­ter has made it.”

Like Nicks, Janet Jack­son also pe­ti­tioned the Rock Hall to add more women to its ranks, telling the crowd, “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, please, in 2020, in­duct more women.”

In­duct­ing Janet Jack­son was fel­low R&B rev­o­lu­tion­ary Janelle Monae, who said on stage that she had kept a photo of Jack­son as her phone back­ground “for seven years.”

“She is the queen of Black Girl Magic,” Monae said about Janet Jack­son.

Fol­low­ing their bands’ in­duc­tions, mem­bers of The Zom­bies and Def Lep­pard emerged to per­form the tra­di­tional all-star jam that has ended the show in pre­vi­ous years. Along with Zom­bies’ Colin Blun­stone and Rod Ar­gent, The Ban­gles’ Su­sanna Hoffs and Steven Van Zandt (of Bruce Spring­steen’s E Street Band), Def Lep­pard also in­vited Mott the Hoople’s Ian Hunter on stage to sing the band’s 1972 feel-good crowd-pleaser “All the Young Dudes.”

Queen’s Brian May also lent his gui­tar skills to the jam ses­sion af­ter in­duct­ing Def Lep­pard ear­lier, shar­ing his tips for rock-star longevity in his speech.

“Well, these guys did not get fat, they did not lose their hair and they did not split up, and they’re here tonight,” he joked.

“They kind of got at­tacked for mak­ing hit records,” he added about the band. “There was this feel­ing abroad in the press and in the me­dia that that made them un­cool. The fact that they made real songs that peo­ple can sing is why Def Lep­pard will be re­mem­bered in hearts and minds long af­ter all of us.”

Hoffs de­liv­ered a poignant speech hon­or­ing The Zom­bies for their in­duc­tion, telling the crowd: “Even when their mu­sic moves me with its poignancy to tears, it re­minds me of what it is to be alive, to be hu­man, and of the power of song and mu­sic to con­nect us all.”



Def Lep­pard’s Joe El­liott, left, per­forms with Queen’s Brian May at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame cer­e­mony.

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