Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony 2022: Artist by Artist

Judas Priest, Dolly Parton, Duran Duran, Eminem, Eurythmics, Carly Simon and others received this year’s honors

The Inductees 2022 (Image: RRHOF)

Los Angeles’ Microsoft Theater is filled with music lovers in their most glamorous state of dress.

Sequins and ostentatious-patterned suits are very fashionable, and there is an abundance of fan-made clothes (honorable mention to the lady with hair like Annie Lennox, wearing a dress made of polaroid photos of Duran Duran chained together). 

 

Robert Downey Jr. Inducts Duran Duran

In his speech to induct Duran Duran, Robert Downey Jr. mentions a personal anecdote that seems to highlight just how important this band is: Duran Duran performed at his 50th birthday party (only seven years ago), and during “Rio,” a “prominent Hollywood Director’s wife” threw her bra at the band. The tribute video that precedes the band’s performance tells the story of a group from Birmingham, England who broke into the American market not only due to their iconic sound, but they also had a unique look that was able to be proudly displayed on MTV. This is a common thread throughout the evening – it seems to be a very good year for the first MTV generation. 

What could be more rock ‘n’ roll than technical difficulties? Simon Le Bon began singing “Girls on Film” with a muted band behind him. The screams of Duran Duran fans fill the entire theater, and it seems like the audience doesn’t really notice, or they don’t really care, because Simon Le Bon just purred like a cat into the microphone. After the sound is fixed, they restart the song and continue with the rest of their set, “Hungry Like the Wolf” (which even gets LL Cool J up and dancing), and “Ordinary World” (Robert Downey Jr. mentioned this one in his speech, saying that he’s “cried in the mirror” to it on many occasions). 

Simon Le Bon, John Taylor, Roger Taylor, and Nick Rhodes each took time to thank their family, fans, and musical influence. Le Bon reads a letter penned by Andy Taylor which mentions his reason for not being able to attend: he was diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic prostate cancer. This comes as a shock to the audience, but the announcement was met with love and support from the entire theater. 

Duran Duran Rock Hall Induction 2022 (Image: RRHOF)

Janet Jackson Inducts Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis – Award for Musical Excellence

Janet Jackson stands at the podium with hair that practically touches the ceiling to induct Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. She tells the audience how instrumental to her career the two producers were, and says “I’m not the only artist that has worked with Jimmy and Terry, but I’m their favorite.” In their tribute video, it appears that they have worked with everybody: Michael Jackson, George Michael, Gwen Stefani, and Mary J. Blige, to name a few. What makes them stand out is that they don’t have one single sound that they apply to all of their artists, they put the artist first and develop a style around them. 

Terry Lewis begins his speech by saying that they began their career in his basement, and thanks his mother for tolerating all of the noise. Jimmy Jam is wearing a purple handkerchief in his suit pocket and Terry Lewis pulls at it telling the audience that they would not be there without “The Purple Man” (Prince), who took a chance on them early in their career. Jimmy uses his speech to make a statement on the importance of music in the education system. 

 

Sheryl Crow Inducts Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo

Sheryl Crow, in a yellow Jimi Hendrix shirt, holds up a copy of Rolling Stone Magazine from October 16, 1980. The cover is a picture of Pat Benatar being kissed by soon-to-be husband Neil Giraldo. Crow tells us that Pat Benatar was everything that she wanted to be as a young female vocalist. When she hit the rock world, Benatar not only approached it as a classically trained vocalist, but also as a coloratura (a type of soprano that specializes in vocal ornamentation). Because of this, Sheryl tells us that it was hard to cover her songs – but she always gave it her “best shot.” The tribute video tells the story of a girl who began her career with her sights set on musical theater. When she met guitarist and songwriter Neil Giraldo, everything seemed to fall into place; she became the first woman to perform on MTV with “You Better Run,” and the rest is history.

Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo play a set of three songs that have defined their careers: “All Fired Up,” “Love is a Battlefield” (penned by Giraldo himself), and “Heartbreaker.” With these three songs, we see two performers who have only continued to develop their talents. Benatar’s commanding voice is just as powerful as ever, and Giraldo can still shred with the best of them. There’s something special about seeing a 69-year-old Pat Benatar sing “We are young / heartache to heartache, we stand.” She’s no longer the 30-year-old with bright pink blush covering her cheeks, but she demonstrates that the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll can keep you young at heart. 

In their speeches, they manage to thank their fans, collaborators, their children, and each other. Benatar and Giraldo stare out at the audience as she asks him, “43 years ago in a rehearsal studio in New York – could you have ever imagined this night, tonight?”

 

Bruce Springsteen Inducts Jimmy Iovine – Ahmet Ertegun Award 

The theater erupts at a picture of young Jimmy Iovine at a mixing desk with John Lennon during the 1974 Walls and Bridges sessions. Photos of him working artists at the pinnacle of their career keep coming: Bruce Springsteen during Born to Run, Patti Smith’s Easter, Tom Petty’s Damn the Torpedoes, Stevie Nicks’ first solo record Bella Donna. Then came the ‘90s; Iovine founded Interscope Records, who at one time had Nine Inch Nails, Tupac Shakur, and Lady Gaga. On a further entrepreneurial front, he also founded Beats by Dre and Beats Music with Dr. Dre, which they sold to Apple for about three billion dollars. 

The Microsoft Theater fills with the low rumble, “BRUUUUCE,” as Springsteen takes the podium to welcome Jimmy Iovine into the Rock Hall. His speech centers around “Because the Night,” a song that he couldn’t seem to finish, and one that Iovine knew exactly what to do with. Iovine gave it to Patti Smith, who turned it into a timeless love song which rose to the top of the charts. Bruce tells us “Jimmy knows great songs and he knows who can sing them. He has one of the greatest guts for talent and is one of the greatest sponges for learning I’ve ever met.” 

In his speech, Iovine thanks Patti Smith for broadening his worldview; Tom Petty for teaching him to take no prisoners in the pursuit of art; Bono for teaching him how to drink cranberry and vodka; and Dr. Dre for changing music and his life – he also thanked himself, for having the balls to say yes to Springsteen when asked if he could engineer Born to Run.

 

VIDEO: Elizabeth Cotten “Freight Train”

Elizabeth Cotton Inducted as an Early Influence

Elizabeth Cotton is inducted with a touching tribute video about her humble beginnings and her instrumental part in the development of folk music. Cotton used her left hand to play a guitar strung for a right-hander, and she played it upside down. This means she would play the bass lines with her fingers, and pick the melodies with her thumb. The intricate picking style that she developed, along with her repertoire of folk and blues songs, made an immeasurable impact on the folk movement of the ‘60s. Most notably, her signature song “Freight Train,” was covered by the likes of Joan Baez and Jerry Garcia. 

 

Alice Cooper Inducts Judas Priest with the Award for Musical Excellence

It is only fitting that Alice Cooper present Judas Priest with the Award for Musical Excellence. Cooper says, “Judas Priest are truly the definitive metal band…They defined the sound we call heavy metal.” He also discusses how Priest defined the look of metal: the black leather, the metal studs, the black chains, the motorcycle, “Heavy metal didn’t have that look until Judas Priest.”  

Their three-song setlist consisted of “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’,” “Breaking the Law,” and “Living After Midnight.” The band was made up of past and present members: bassist Ian Hill, drummers Scott Travis and Les Binks, guitarists Richie Faulkner and K.K. Downing, and Rob Halford on vocals. This writer’s introduction to Judas Priest was through Beavis and Butthead – the iconic scene where they sit on the couch, holding their devil horns high, and headbang to “Breaking the Law” was suddenly brought to life all around the theater.

Lead singer Rob Halford began his speech with “I’m the gay guy in the band,” and took the opportunity to make a statement about the metal community, saying that it is “all-inclusive, no matter what your sexuality is, what you look like, or what you believe in or don’t believe in. Everybody is welcome.” Overall, the group thanked their fans the most. 

Judas Priest (Image: RRHOF)

Sylvia Robinson as the Ahmet Ertegun Award Recipient

The tribute video for Sylvia Robinson showed the expansive career of a hit-artist turned musical mogul. In 1957, she had a top hit with “Love is Strange” as part of the duo Mickey & Sylvia, and by 1979 she co-founded Sugarhill Records. Hearing the transition from her slinky rock ‘n’ roll tune to the funky “Rapper’s Delight” (which she co-wrote and produced) of the Sugarhill Gang, shows just how innovative she has been in the music industry. 

 

Sara Bareillis Inducts Carly Simon

Carly Simon is not in attendance at tonight’s ceremony, citing personal tragedy (she recently lost both of her sisters to cancer). In Sara Bareillis’ induction speech, she highlights Simon’s “fierce intelligence and vulnerability,” her unique blend of “music and literature,” and calls her an “arrow of truth.” In the tribute video, we hear the tales of a burgeoning songwriter and her springs of inspiration; love (including all the good and bad things that come with it), family, and her life. It also touches on her songs for films, including “Nobody Does it Better” for The Spy Who Loved Me in 1977, and “Let the River Run” for Working Girl in 1988 (the song that made her the first artist to win a Grammy, Academy, and Golden Globe Award). 

In lieu of Carly’s acceptance speech, she pens a letter from her home in Martha’s Vineyard (which somehow feels like the most Carly Simon thing to do), writing “I am humbled, shocked, proud, over-achieved, under-qualified and singularly grateful to everyone without whom I really couldn’t be here.” 

Sara Barelles takes on “Nobody Does it Better,” and Olivia Rodrigo does “You’re So Vain.” Rodrigo’s voice comes across a bit more demure than the sheer power of the original, but overall, it’s a great performance. She even introduces Jimmy Ryan, the original guitarist on the track who wrote its serpentine solo. The audience seems to know all the words, there are at least 5 men twirling scarves around their fingers during the first verse, and people are pointing at each other accusingly as they sing “don’t you.” The reception of the song proves that the music world is ready for a Carly Simon performance should she ever decide to do one – Here’s hoping, Miss Simon!

Carly Simon (Image: RRHOF)

John Mellencamp Inducts Allen Grubman – Ahmet Ertegun Award

Allen Grubman is a notoriously cut-throat entertainment lawyer whose clients have included Sting, Bono, Bruce Springsteen and John Mellencamp, to name a few. In the tribute video for Grubman, Bono offers this insight into the way Grubman operates: “If you’re not at the table, you’re probably on the menu.” During John Mellencamp’s induction speech, however, Grubman comes across as a softie – he wipes tears from his eyes as Mellencamp sings his praises. Mellencamp then takes a moment to make a statement against racism, bigotry, and antisemitism in the music industry, saying, “silence is complicity.” He commends the Jewish people who have helped him through his career, including Grubman (who he states “is a true mensch”), and concludes “fuck antisemitism and fuck anybody who says anything otherwise.” During his speech, Grubman tells us how he was there at the conception of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame at Pearl’s Chinese restaurant (where he was having spare rib), and that he is proud to have “broken the glass ceiling for lawyers” at the Rock Hall.

 

Harry Belafonte as an Early Influence 

Harry Belafonte’s induction video shows the beginning of his career as a stage actor who had a great talent for singing. A montage of his life, from performances of “The Banana Boat Song (Day-O)” and “Jump in the Line,” to highlights of his humanitarian efforts in the Civil Rights Movement and Anti-Apartheid Movements plays. Someone in the video mentions that anytime “The Banana Boat Song” song is played, no matter where you are in the world, someone is going to sing along. 

 

Lenny Kravitz Inducts Lionel Richie

Lenny Kravitz tells describes Lionel Richie as “respectful, warm, and humble” and tells the audience that “Lionel’s songbook is rich and beautifully diverse…to name all his brilliant songs would take, well, “All Night Long.” The video for Lionel Richie shows a variety of hairstyles, from his work with the Commodores to his present cropped look, with two consistencies: the mustache, and some of the best music that you’ll ever hear. Richie takes his place at a beautiful grand piano to begin his induction set, which consists of “Hello,” “Easy,” and “All Night Long.” In this short set he displays his knack for songwriting. He’s mastered the romantic ballad and the uplifting party song. During “Easy,” Dave Grohl joins the mix for a guitar solo, adding a rock ‘n’ roll edge to the soft ballad. 

During his speech, Richie tells of his journey “from Tuskegee, Alabama, to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.” He also mentions that some of his best-selling songs are ones that he was told would destroy his career – forcing him to see the distinction between the “creative artist and the created artist” in the industry. He also touches on some issues that he’s had in the industry with “not being black enough,” to which he said, “If Mozart was black, would he be Mozart? No, because he wasn’t funky enough.” Overall, Lionel Richie’s speech makes it clear that he has an abundance of integrity as an artist. 

 

The Edge Inducts Eurythmics

U2’s The Edge begins his induction speech with a “shoutout to the women of Iran,” and then goes on to tell us how Eurythmics are true artists. Summing up a definition from fellow Irishman, Oscar Wilde, he explains that “the duty of the artist is to make beautiful things.” He tells that audience that he loves Annie and Dave as songwriters because they “dare to take on and have a hard look at difficult, uncomfortable subjects… To explore this kind of pain in songs so bright and uplifting is almost impossible, but therein lies the genius of Eurythmics.” The video tells of Eurhythmics as image makers as well as music makers, creating an iconic look of sexual ambiguity and beauty that typified their stage presence in the ‘80s, and has continued to inspire our contemporary artists such as St. Vincent. 

Their set includes “Would I Lie to You?”  “Missionary Man,” and concludes with their breakthrough hit “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).” Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart are dressed in black gator skin suits. Dave is wearing his standard tilted fedora, and Annie uses a few different props including piles of money that she throws from her pockets, and a bedazzled cane. During their speeches, Lennox and Stewart thank everyone they’ve worked with, each other, and most of all, their fans. Taking the mic, Lennox addresses the hatred that is present in the music industry and says, “Music builds bridges, not boundaries…Musicians spread love around the world, not hatred or division.”

 

Dr. Dre Inducts Eminem

Dr. Dre tells us an anecdote about the first time Jimmy Iovine played him a demo of Eminem: “My first thought was, ‘What the fuck did he just say?’” But he immediately recognized something unique in Eminem’s dark humor and cadence that would bring a fresh perspective to hip-hop. 

Eminem’s set is probably the most varied of the evening. He performs: “My Name Is,” “Rap God,” “Sing for the Moment” (with Steven Tyler of Aerosmith), “Stan” (with Ed Sheeran), “Forever,” and “Not Afraid.” Seeing Eminem perform with Steven Tyler shows how his vein of hip-hop has utilized rock ‘n’ roll by way of sampling.

Eminem’s speech is a tribute to the lessons he’s learned through music. He says, “I’m a high school dropout man, with a hip-hop education, and these were my teachers. And it’s their night just as much as it is mine,” before reciting a list of over 100 rappers, including: 2LiveCrew, Tupac, Notorious B.I.G, Queen Latifa, Run-D.M.C., Salt-N-Peppa, Wu-Tang Clan and YZ. 

Eminem (Image: RRHOF)

In Memoriam: Ronnie Spector to Jerry Lee Lewis

There is an “In Memoriam” segment of the show that honors those in the music world who have passed this year including Ronnie Spector, Meatloaf, Joanna and Lucy Simon (Carly Simon’s sisters), Takeoff (of Migos), and Jerry Lee Lewis, to name a few.  

 

P!nk Inducts Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton was reluctant to be inducted because she is a country artist. The Rock Hall, however, has expanded its definition to represent popular music more broadly. Pink tells us that Dolly Parton is one of the greatest storytellers of all time; she “paints pictures with her words, and colors them in with her voice,” her songs demonstrate “what it’s like to be a woman in America.” Plus, she can play guitar with long nails. These are just a few hallmarks offered of Dolly Parton’s inimitable career. When Dolly takes the stage, she exclaims, “Look at me, I’m a rock star now!” Dolly has written as song specifically for tonight, but it requires an outfit change, so she gives the stage to Brandi Carlile and Pink, who perform an emotional cover of “Coat of Many Colors.” Then, Sheryl Crow and Zac Brown Band perform “9 to 5,” a song that feels as timeless as ever. 

When Dolly takes the stage to perform, she is dressed in a black, Elvis Presley-esque jumpsuit, and is carrying a custom Mitchell MM100 that is covered in red and white rhinestones to match her jumpsuit. The song she penned for this evening is called “Rockin,” and features a chorus about why this Rock Hall induction is more than fitting for Miss Parton: “I’ve got rock ‘n’ roll down in my country soul / and I’ll be rockin’ until the cows come home.”

The highlight of the entire evening is when Dolly is joined by fellow inductees including members of Eurythmics (Annie Lennox now sporting a red cowboy hat), Duran Duran, Judas Priest, and Pat Benatar to perform “Jolene.” Each singer brings an extra edge to the song, but seeing Rob Halford of Judas Priest hug Dolly Parton as they sing the chorus is something that could only ever happen on a Rock Hall stage.  

 

Bruce Springsteen and John Mellencamp pay tribute to Jerry Lee Lewis

The night was brought to close by Bruce Springsteen and John Mellencamp singing in tribute of Jerry Lee Lewis. Springsteen says “One last one for The Killer,” before launching into “High School Confidential” and “Great Balls of Fire.” They are backed by Zac Brown Band, and E Street Band keyboardist, Roy Bittan. Lewis was the last living member of the Rock Hall’s very first class of inductees in 1986, which also included Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Elvis, Buddy Holly, James Brown and the Everly Brothers – making this closing act a perfect full circle moment. 

 

VIDEO: Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame 2022 official trailer 

 

 

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Stephanie Hernandez

Stephanie Hernandez is a PhD student of English and Music at the University of Liverpool, where she is researching the echoes of Romanticism in the ‘Classic Rock’ era of the 1960s-1970s. Stephanie is also a music journalist who loves to wax lyrical about her favorite artists in every piece that she writes. You can find her on twitter @hstephanie9.

One thought on “Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony 2022: Artist by Artist

  • November 12, 2022 at 1:55 pm
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    One person in the “Memorium” section, who was honored but you didn’t mention, and absolutely belongs in the Hall — Michael Nesmith.

    The Monkees damn well belong in the Hall, but Papa Nez also deserves induction as a songwriter, country-rock pioneer, and music video visionary.

    No surprise about the Jerry Lee Lewis tribute, but, damn, mixed feelings there. Great music, of course, but a pretty vile human being. The incident with the cousin, of course, along with a history of violence (Some believe he murdered one of his wives), tax evasion, and more.

    Congrats to Pat Benatar and Neil Geraldo. Long overdue. I’m OK with Carly Simon and Dolly too, even if neither is exactly “Rock.”

    Too many greats still not in though: Besides the aforementioned Monkees, Joe Cocker, Link Wray, Little Feat, Warren Zevon, Little Feat, Los Lobos, just to name a few. Fans of prof and metal, of course have their deserving favorites too.

    “First world problems,” for sure, and there are far more pressing matters in this country and the entire world. But it is always interesting to see who gets let into “The House that Jann Built” and who is not.

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