2021 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction: The Highs & Lows

Paul McCartney, pictured here with his beloved “stalker.”
Photo: Kevin Mazur / Getty Images

Cleveland got the spree 30 Rock treatment in late October with the return of an in-person Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, which is now finally available for viewing by the masses on HBO. This year’s class was the most beautiful and diverse in the Hall’s history: Tina Turner, Carole King, the Go-Go’s, Jay-Z, Foo Fighters and Todd Rundgren were recognized as entertainers; Kraftwerk, Charley Patton, and Gil Scott-Heron as early influences; LL Cool J, Billy Preston and Randy Rhoads for overall musical excellence; and Clarence Avant for the Ahmet Ertegun Creative Award. (Ugh! Now list them all again! Also, would you like to pet a real police horse?)

Being back in a real arena and not, well, in a small screen box due to the pandemic was such a delight to guests, surprise guests, and attendees alike, that no one seemed to mind having to stay up until midnight. 1 am to witness all of this. Vulture was on the ground for the entire event, and this is what we thought the highs, lows, and whoas were.

From the left: Do we think it’s La Mer? Photo: Kevin Mazur / Getty ImagesPhoto: Kevin Mazur / Getty Images

From above: Do we think it’s La Mer? Photo: Kevin Mazur / Getty ImagesPhoto: Kevin Mazur / Getty Images

Drew Barrymore, who is very Good at hosting talk shows, she brought in her favorite band in the world with a little help from a few towels and a goo – throughout her speech, she slowly recreated the look and feel of Go-Go’s seminal album. The beauty and the Beat, a compromise that drew enthusiastic applause from the audience. “The beauty and the Beat it blew up the doors of my life, ”Barrymore explained. “The coolest girls in the world taking a spa day in cool girls heaven. It was always a party, guys, for so long with these girls. This is a true love letter from her biggest fan. ”Impressively, Barrymore was back on stage in less than 15 minutes in fresh makeup.

Paul McCartney honored Cleveland with his presence to bring Dave Grohl and Foo Fighters into the Hall (this is Grohl’s second addition, years after joining Nirvana), and the two joined forces at the end of the ceremony to perform the first. super jam since 2019: an energetic take on the Beatles standard “Get Back”. Sure, it would have been nice if more musicians joined in the fun, but it was still Sir Paul doing a Beatles song. THE BEATLES. He literally rolled up his sleeves to perform! Yes, we were also screaming like it was 1964.

This hot information comes from Go-Go bassist Kathy Valentine, who revealed a few days after the ceremony that another super jam was planned to honor Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts, who died unexpectedly earlier this year to the age of 80 years. According to Valentine, it was one on a fairly epic scale: The Go-Go’s, Foo Fighters, Mickey Guyton, Brandi Carlile, Jennifer Hudson and HER would perform the Stones’ “Tumbling Dice” in tribute. “They all supported each other a lot and fanned each other,” he recalled of the dress rehearsal. “It was just amazing.” The reason it was removed from the final show? The run time was deemed too long at four and a half hours. However, we have a feeling that the fans wouldn’t have cared about five more minutes.

Women are currently estimated to comprise only 8 percent of the total Rock Hall of Fame body, a grim statistic that many female artists, including Stevie Nicks and Janet Jackson, have criticized with their induction speeches in the past. The Go-Go’s continued that trend at this year’s ceremony with bassist Kathy Valentine shouting what she believed to be the Hall’s propensity for misogyny. (Belinda Carlisle shared similar thoughts with Vulture earlier this year.)

“By recognizing our achievement, Rock Hall celebrates possibility, the kind of possibility that creates hopeful dreamers. In honoring our historic contribution, the doors of this establishment have been opened wider and the Go-Go’s will advocate for the inclusion of more women, ”she said. “Women who have paved the way for us and others. Women who started bands, who sing and write songs, who excel at their instruments, who make and produce records. Because here’s the thing: we wouldn’t be less if we were more visible. “

The addition of the five members of Go-Go’s, Turner and King marks the most women the Hall has ever included in a single class.

Look to the right.
Photo: HBO

The rap deity brought in his old friend LL Cool J, joking that LL’s nickname means “love of women, lip licking and living legend.”

This is not a surprise in itself given that we are still in a pandemic and talented musicians may not want to descend on a C-list city and sit in a crowded auditorium for almost five hours. Hell, last year’s ceremony was relegated to a television special. But as a concise summary for those who chose not to make the trip to Cleveland: Tina Turner, who lives in Europe, accepted her second induction to the Hall in a short and sweet video message. That Kraftwerk mens said no. (Connecting flights from Düsseldorf seems complicated.) Meanwhile, Todd Rundgren, always true to his word, was minding his own damn business at a solo concert in Cincinnati. What Rock Hall?

“I would like to apologize,” Chappelle began his speech to induce Jay-Z, seemingly referring to the large amount of criticism plaguing his new comedy special. “I’m just fucking with you.” In what was otherwise a moving speech, the comedian spoke at length about the cultural significance of Jay-Z to African Americans. “What we hear is that he will never forget us. He will always remember us, ”said Chappelle. “That we are his point of reference, that he is going to show us how far we can go if we take advantage of the opportunity. Therefore, we will always love it, we will always treasure it ”.

The rapper and entrepreneur joined legions of hip-hop icons to be admitted to the Hall and admitted in his speech that the honor almost made him “cry in front of all these white people.” Chappelle aside, almost every famous person from the Knowles-Carter Rolodex appeared in a video montage to celebrate his achievement, Jay was included in his first year of eligibility, which included Barack Obama, who joked that the duo shared a special. sisterhood because “they both have wives who are significantly more popular than us.” More significantly, the former president added: “I have drawn on Jay-Z’s words at different times in my life, whether he was brushing dirt off my shoulder on the campaign trail or testing his lyrics on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. on the 50th anniversary of the march from Selma to Montgomery. “

Also featured in the montage were his wife Beyoncé, daughter Blue Ivy, as well as the likes of Rihanna, Diddy, Pharrell, Chris Rock, LeBron James, Common, and Jay-Z’s superfan David Letterman.

We will be doing a tall blanket for all the performances, which included Eminem and Jennifer Lopez wowing the crowd with their friend LL Cool J and many of the contestants doing their own mini-sets to celebrate the night. (Brandi Carlile playing the Everly Brothers for the in memoriam segment was also quite charming.) However, we will highlight two versions in particular that drew the most response from the audience: Christina Aguilera’s diva masterclass of “River Deep, Mountain High” for Tina Turner and Taylor Swift that bewitches the audience with an ethereal and synthesized version. from “Will You Love Me Tomorrow? “for Carole King. Like Grohl, Turner and King are now two-time Hall of Famers: Turner was previously honored for her musicality with her husband, Ike Turner, and King for writing songs with her husband, Gary Goffin.

Not really, of course, but even Sir Paul was in awe of the parallels shared between him and Foo’s frontman when he introduced the band to the Hall. The Beatles and Nirvana? The same. Wings and Foo Fighters? Also the same, oddly enough. “We had a great time with our groups, but eventually the tragedy happened and my group disbanded,” McCartney explained on the podium. “The same thing happened with Dave: his group disbanded under tragic circumstances. So the question is what do you do now? We were both presented with that question. In my case, I thought, Well, I’ll make an album where I play all the instruments myself. So I did that. Dave’s group disbanded; What are you going to do? He makes an album where he plays all the instruments himself. Do you think this guy is stalking me? It makes you think.

Photo: Arturo Holmes / Getty Images

LL Cool J knocked us out with several outfit changes, unsurprisingly.

Photo: Kevin Mazur / Getty Images

Jane Wiedlin, who will always have the beat.

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