The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony returned to DTLA for the first time in a decade on Saturday, Nov. 5, filling the Microsoft Theater with music legends.
Bruce Springsteen, Dave Grohl, Ed Sheeran, Lenny Kravitz, John Mellencamp, Pink, Janet Jackson, Steven Tyler, The Edge and LL Cool J were in attendance and/or honored inductees during the five-and-a-half-hour ceremony. It begins airing Saturday, Nov. 19, on HBO, and streaming on HBO Max.
This year’s inductees included, in the performer category, Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo; Duran Duran; Eminem; Eurythmics; Dolly Parton; Lionel Richie and Carly Simon.
Musical Excellence Awards were given to Judas Priest; Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, while Harry Belafonte and Elizabeth Cotten were honored with the Early Influence Award.
Allen Grubman, Jimmy Iovine and Sylvia Robinson were celebrated with the Ahmet Ertegun Award.
“It’s only the third time ever it’s been in Los Angeles,” said Greg Harris, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame chief executive officer in the media room before the ceremony.
“It’s really exciting to bring it back here. The last time was in 2011, so it’s been over a decade or two since the inductions.”
After being inducted by actor Robert Downey Jr., Duran Duran cast a pall on the ceremony, revealing that original guitarist Andy Taylor could not attend due to a setback in treatment for stage-four metastatic pancreatic cancer.
Lead singer Simon Le Bon said it was “absolutely devastating,” to find out one of his “family” wasn’t going to be around for very long.
“We love Andy dearly,” he said in the media room. “I’m not going to stand here and cry because I think it would be inappropriate. But that’s what I feel like.”
Now that Duran Duran is in the Rock Hall, they are eligible to vote. Who would they like to see? Among their choices: Siouxsie and the Banshees, Japan and the New York Dolls.
Keyboardist Nick Rhodes said backstage that the honor is still special.
“I’ll tell you what, if I have a burglar in my hotel room tonight, it’s going to be OK,” he said with a laugh.
Jam and Lewis added comedy relief to the event. Lewis shared that he felt like the “luckiest guy in the whole world” because Janet Jackson inducted him and his songwriting partner.
The quiet one of the bunch, Lewis thanked his family, as well as Prince for allowing them to play in the Time.
“There’s no Time without the Purple One,” he said.
“That’s the most I’ve heard Terry Lewis talk in his whole life,” Jam added after his partner’s 6 1/2-minute speech.
Jam stressed that the induction doesn’t mean the end of their career. “Hall of Fame” means excellence at something.
“In sports (hall of fames), you have to be retired to get in,” he said.
“I don’t see a gold watch just yet. I think we still got some time to get some things done.”
Backstage, Jam and Lewis revealed they’re working on their own album and recruiting fellow inductees, whom they didn’t name.
“We just want to continue to make music and have fun,” Jam said.
Sheryl Crow inducted Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo, starting her speech by holding up a 1980 Rolling Stone cover with them on it.
“I was 18 when this Rolling Stone magazine came out,” she said. “I had just graduated high school in my little town of Kennett, Missouri. I headed off to college to study classical piano and voice, but what I really wanted to be was Pat Benatar.”
Wearing thigh-high leather boots, Benatar, joined by husband Giraldo, ripped through “All Fired Up,” “Love is a Battlefield” and “Heartbreaker.”
Judas Priest lead singer Rob Halford was joined on stage by, among others, estranged guitarist K.K. Downing, drummer Les Binks and guitarist Glenn Tipton, who retired from touring, for “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’,” “Breaking the Law,” and “Living After Midnight.”
“I’m the gay guy in the band,” Halford said. “We call ourselves the heavy metal community, which is all-inclusive, no matter what your sexual identity is, what you look like, or what you believe in or don’t believe in. Everybody’s welcome.”
Simon didn’t appear at the ceremony, as her two sisters, Joanna and Lucy, recently died of cancer within days of each other. Instead, Sara Bareilles and Olivia Rodrigo performed “Nobody Does It Better” and “You’re So Vain,” respectively.
In the media room, Bareilles, who inducted Simon, said she admired the singer’s commitment to her own courage because she was vocal about her stage fright.
“I’m someone who struggles — not as much as stage fright — with my own anxieties and fears and it was just very remarkable to me to have someone be so outspoken about their challenges and do it anyway,” she said.
Introducing Richie, Kravitz said the “All Night Long” singer doesn’t “have a pretentious bone in his body. Lionel also happens to be the funniest person I’ve ever met. I never laugh as hard as I do when I’m with him. It’s the kind of laugh that comes from the soul. When Lionel shows up, everyone gets happy.”
Richie performed “Hello,” bringing out Dave Grohl for the Commodores classic “Easy” and closed with “All Night Long.”
The ’80s vibe continued with Eurythmics, who ripped through “Would I Lie to You?” “Missionary Man,” and “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This),” after an introduction by U2’s The Edge.
Lead singer Annie Lennox said in the media room it was easy returning to the stage with her musical partner Dave Stewart.
“It’s always a bit like getting back on a horse when you’ve fallen off,” she said with a smile.
“It was second nature; almost intuitive, I have to say.”
Highlights also included a visit by Dr. Dre. He inducted Eminem, saying the Detroit-raised rapper could hold a mirror to white America while expressing pain through poverty.
“Eminem brought hip-hop to Middle America and offered kids who looked like him a way to connect to it. Hip-hop wasn’t just for Black kids in desperate inner-city circumstances anymore,” Dr. Dre said.
In his coronation set, Eminem launched into “My Name Is,” before segueing into “Rap God,” “Sing for the Moment” with Tyler, and Sheeran on “Stan.” He wrapped it with “Forever” and “Not Afraid.”
Covered in a hooded sweatshirt and wearing readers, Eminem said he was grateful as he wasn’t supposed to be there, referencing a near-fatal overdose in 2007.
“Hailie, plug your ears,” he said to his daughter, who attended the ceremony.
“Drugs were (expletive) delicious. I thought we had a good thing going, man, but I had to go (expletive) it all up. … I’m so grateful that I’m even able to be up here doing hip-hop music mainly because I love it so much.
“They say success has many fathers. That’s definitely true for me. So whatever my impact has been on hip-hop music. I never would have, could have done this (expletive). Without groundbreaking artists, I wouldn’t be here.”
He went on to list — in alphabetical order — all of his influences.
The show ended with Dolly Parton’s induction by pop star Pink. After Zac Brown and Crow duetted on “9 to 5,” Parton arrived on stage and invited Le Bon, Lennox, Stewart, Pink, Benatar, Halford and Brandi Carlile to sing “Jolene.”