Monday 26 November 2012

AAA Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame Acceptence Speeches (News, Views and Music Issue 172 Top 21)

The Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame has been going since 1987 and has been the cause of some highs and lows down the years for AAA men: it saw Neil Young become the first ever triple inductee of the hall of fame, saw tearful reunions of bands like The Byrds that we never expected, inspired Neil Young to work with Pearl Jam after a quick on-stage jam session and helped raise the profile of our fallen heroes and heroines like Otis Redding and Janis Joplin. Unfortunately it’s also caused huge unworkable rifts between bands like The Beatles and The Hollies and seen career suicidal acceptance speeches from the likes of the Beach Boys. Anyway here, this week, is our list of all the AAA Hall Of Fame inductees and what happened at each, in chronological order...

We’d planned this article for when the list of nominees for the 2013 Rock and Roll Hall Of fame in April have been announced, which they have been this month...and they’re terrible. Rush?! Public Enemy?!? Joan Jett?!?!? Heart?!?!?!?! And who the hell are ‘Chic’?!?!?!?!?!? Even the much missed Donna Summer is arguably only on the list because she died last year. I was really looking forward to the announcement so that I could piece this little tribute to the talented decisions made by the RARHOF over the years, but instead I’ve had to turn this piece into a harranguing match about how currently neglected AAA artists like 10cc, Cat Stevens, The Monkees, The Moody Blues The Searchers and Dire Straits could and should have made the list instead of people no one’s heard of (others like Belle and Sebastian and Oasis are too ‘young’ still to make the museum’s hall of fame as acts can only be inducted 27 years after their formation, making both bands eligible somewhere around 2021. I feel old...) Still, harangues over and done with, here’s this week’s handy guide to the rock and roll hall of famers in strict chronological order...

The Beach Boys (Inducted 1988)

Award presented by Elton John

“All of us in the room have the privilege of making music that helps or heals, to make music that makes people happier, stronger or kinder” Our first tale of RaRHOF tragedy concerns The Beach Boys, then going through the throes of a painful break-up. It was not a happy reunion. Dennis Wilson was dead five years by this time and Brian Wilson firmly under the control of his controversial counsellor-come-jailkeeper Eugene Landy. However it was singer Mike Love who caused the real upset of the occasion with his long rambling speech in which he managed to insult the organisers of the event (‘What I want to see is the whole room recognising there’s one earth here!’) and aimed a few pot-shots at other nominees including The Beatles and The Stones (‘We did about 180 performances last year _ I’d like to see the moptops match that...I’d like to see Mick Jagger get out on the stage and do ‘I Get Around’ versus ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ any day now’...He’s always been chicken shit to never get up on stage with the Beach Boys’) It was revealed in Brian’s autobiography ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice?’ that the meditation loving singer had only just returned from a month long fasting session and was feeling a bit grumpy and tired. I’ll say! That’s a shame because at the time seeing Brian back with his old colleagues (and wearing glasses on stage for the only time so far in his career) was amazing (we didn’t know about the 2012 reunion tour then!) and his speech - remembering the band’s early days, paying tribute to his brother Dennis and his debt to other RaRHOFamers is very sweet. What a pity Mike throws his cousin with a badly timed lunge at his microphone! Elton John, long an admirer of the band (and the creator of some rather odd sleevenotes for the band’s CD re-issue of ‘Carl And The Passions- So Tough’ (of all records!) gets to present the award and ends with the quip ‘I’m just glad Mike didn’t mention me!’

The Youtube link is here:

The Beatles (Inducted 1988)

Award presented by Mick Jagger

“Why weren’t they playing ‘Octopuses’ Garden’ when we all came on?” Surely those nice moptops wouldn’t cause the same problems would they? Well, sadly the answer is yes. A longstanding court case between Paul and the other Beatles that started in 1970 had just gone into hyperdrive and Paul McCartney had elected not to turn up (because, in his eyes, the idea that the Beatles were a ‘band of brothers’ would have been ‘hypocritical’). This rather soured the event and George, Ringo and Yoko, Julian and a 12-year-old Sean (all representing John Lennon) are a bit lost what to say (even though Ringo’s rather drunken speech goes on for hours...and hours...and hours! In fact he starts up again twice in the middle of George’s speech to his colleague’s noticeable chagrin). Trust George to hit the subject head on though, saying ‘It’s unfortunate Paul’s not here...because he was the one who had the speech in his pocket!’ and adding ‘I don’t have to say much because I’m the quiet Beatle!’ Listen out too for the double dig ‘I’m sure John would have been here’ and ‘We all love John very much and (*sigh*) we all love Paul very much’. Sean steals the show from his mother and half-brother with the gag ‘I’m pretty proud to be up here today for doing nothing!’ Incidentally, Julian seems very close to Yoko here, despite what’s been said by him in interviews and by his mother Cynthia in her two books (or is that just for the cameras?!) Mick Jagger was an interesting choice to present the award given the media’s delight in creating rivalries between the Beatles and The Stones, but is actually rather generous with his introduction, noting how his band used to think they were unique until they heard about ‘some other band from Liverpool’ who were doing OK too. He also adds that George Harrison asked him backstage ‘you’re not going to say anything bad about me, are you?!’

The Youtube link is here: and

Otis Redding (Inducted 1989)

Award presented by Little Richard

“I gave Otis $50 at the Stanley Hilton Hotel and I autographed it for him...I wanted to meet him in his hotel room but he was scared to meet me by himself!” This RaRHOF induction from the following year was much more dignified, perhaps because nobody wanted to speak ill of the dead (that said, I’ve never heard anybody have a bad word against the ‘gentle giant’ of soul even when he was alive). Otis’ remaining family are there, including his widow Zelda Redding who gives a short but teary heartfelt speech, but the key figure here is 50s rock and roller Little Richard singing rock and roll ‘for the first time in 30 years’. Little Richard was a surprising influence on Otis back in the day, despite being pure rock as opposed to soul and the influence seems to have gone both ways judging by the long rambling speech which spends longer on Richard’s career than it does Otis’ (both men are from Georgia too). Much better is Richard’s inspired decision to sing several Redding classics like ‘In The Midnight Hour’ ‘I’ve Been Loving You Too Long’ ‘Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song)’ and especially ‘The Dock Of The Bay’ (with added ‘whooos’!) which do the great legend proud. Most moving is Little Richard’s memory that when he heard Otis’ version of his song ‘Lucille’ on the radio ‘I thought it was me!’ Little Richard’s best compliment ‘The greatest songwriter that ever lived...and that’s even including me!’

The Youtube link is here:

The Rolling Stones (Inducted 1989)

Award presented by Pete Townshend

“Don’t try and grow old wouldn’t suit you!” Put members of two explosive bands together and you get fireworks right? Well, actually not. The only half-rift here comes in the shape of gags about the size of Bill Wyman’s book advance (unbeknownst to most people Pete was working as a ‘literary editor’ at Faber and Faber at the time!) and Ronnie Wood’s crooked teeth. Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman didn’t show but Mick Taylor made a rare appearance with the band which is rather heart-warming. Mick Jagger talks about moving the RaRHOF to Cleveland and pokes fun at old manager Allen Klein with the best gag of the night (as a ‘wing in his name will feature the best examples of re-packaging’!) Interestingly both Mick and Keith pay homage to ‘sixth Stone’ Ian Stewart (who died five years earlier) and said ‘it’s his band’ but neither mention Brian Jones. Keith spends most of his speech scratching his head while Mick Taylor only has time to talk about why Charlie and Bill aren’t there (notice the grin when he says they’ve been ‘unavoidably detained!’) As for Pete Townshend, his introduction is more about his own feelings than the Stones (‘Keith Moon once told me that I think too much...actually the truth is I just talk too much’) and he himself acknowledges that ‘I’m such a Stones fan I can’t work out what I want to say’, which shows how daft some of these rock and roll awards ceremonies are – and how Pete Townshend has the ability to talk about anything (his speech lasts 10 minutes, one of the longest introductions on this list and double the length of the Stones’ acceptance!) His memories of Brian Jones as ‘the first star who bothered to befriend me...I miss him terribly’ are one of the most moving on this list, however, the first time really we’d heard about the pair’s closeness. Watch out for Mick’s speech to Pete that ‘you’ll be in the hot shoe next year and someone will wind you up!’ Sadly that doesn’t quite happen...more on that story later

The Youtube link is here: and

The Kinks (Inducted 1990)

Award presented by Ahmet Ertegun and Graham Nash

“They’re everything a fine band should be – they’re English, they’re really tough and musical, rebellious against the ruling class and parental constraints and most of all they’re from the street – and this is where their fans live and breathe” The Kinks should have signed with Atlantic as one of their many record labels down the years – they’re exactly the sort of wilful, eccentric but talented bands Ahmet made brought to great success and he was clearly a fan as his opening speech makes clear. He ended up in charge of Crosby, Stills and Nash instead and Nash puts in a great hilarious speech about the band where he manages to poke fun at 50s impresario Dick Clark, the audience and himself (at one point he says to the audience ‘I’ve dealt with Crosby for 20 years, I can deal with all of you!’) Nash is right about the Kinks being ‘outrageous’ too – non-fans forget how controversial this great band can be – but surprisingly their own speeches are rather subdued. Unusually for this list every single member of the original line-up took part including Ray and Dave Davies, Pete Quaife and Mick Avory, although inter-band tension is there from the first, Ray passing his brother a note and asking him ‘not to fuck up’ (causing Nash to quip from the wings ‘they’re fighting again!’) and Mick remembering how the band’s records always seemed to stick the price label over Pete’s face! Ray spends most of his speech talking about falling sales and reads out a sombre note from the band’s record label about how ‘they’re a hard band to promote and I recommend if their next single is not a success we drop the group’ before revealing that it’s an old document from 1964! (You rotter Ray!) Sweetly Ray is one of the few on this list to mention that ‘I’ve dressed up in this ridiculous garb for my fans’ and interestingly Ray spends longer talking about missing Keith Moon than his own band does! (perhaps because back in 1990 the band haven’t lost any of their own members yet!) Other best moments include Ray’s ‘Rock and roll has become respectable...what a bummer!’ and Dave’s modest comment ‘we really do deserve it!’

The Youtube link is here: and

Simon and Garfunkel (Inducted 1990)

Award presented by James Taylor

“It’s mike height – that’s what split up this group!” Simon and Garfunkel are in a funny place in 1990. The duo last tried to get it together in 1983 and ended up further adrift than ever with an abandoned LP and a well received free concert in Central Park which found the pair arguing more than ever. The BBC has just broadcast ‘The Paul Simon Songbook’ retrospective at this point and Garfunkel is extremely critical and open throughout – in stark contrast to most other people’s rose-tinted glasses! As a result this meeting is edgy and awkward, with frequent insults throughout – intended and unintended. Art starts by thanking God for his voice (‘it’s been a lot of fun having it!’) and Paul clearly takes umbridge, starting his speech with the line ‘Arthur and I agree about almost nothing, but its true – I have enriched his life quite a bit!’, a joke that only half comes off. Simon’s speech wanders down some lovely memories of the pair’s early days making music together but soon turns nasty again (‘we had an argument and broke-up, starting a tradition that’s lasted for many years to come!’) Paul tries to steer back on track (‘we were so young we didn’t realise that was a trip of a lifetime that we were on’) and even gets a smile from Arty when talking about nicking towels from the Holiday Inn and laughing together ‘with my best friend’. However Paul can’t leave the pair’s problems alone and claims the duo had a big fight about the Vietnam War, claiming ‘one of us was for it...’ (for the record, Garfunkel wasn’t – he would never have agreed to acting ‘Catch 22’ if he believed in war) and how the pair split up over what the 12th track on ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ ( a Bach fugue or a Nixon baiting slice of rock and roll?) The pair then have an argument live on stage about what Garfunkel ‘really’ said after their Central Park gig! Hmm, leaves a bit of an unpleasant taste this reunion, even with the happy knowledge of hindsight that the pair get back together again in 2001. As for James Taylor’s introduction speech he’s horribly nervous and doesn’t look away from his cards once, despite the fact that he’s now become one of the most common speakers at the RaRHOF.

The Youtube link is here:

The Who (Inducted 1990)

Award presented by Bono

“The Who Sell Out – that was a joke, right?”If Keith Moon was still alive in 1990 the stage would have blown up, fireworks would have been set off in the audience and a rolls Royce would have been lodged into the entrance hall. Without him The Who’s induction was a bit quiet, even with a genuine Moon on stage (Keith’s daughter Mandy in a rare public appearance). At 4 minutes in total, the band’s combined speech is less than half the length of Pete’s induction of the Rolling Stones and both Roger Daltrey and John Entwistle get little chance to speak. As for Bono’s introduction the best he can do is laugh at the size of Pete Townshend’s nose (‘it’s essential equipment in any rock and roll band...look at Ringo, man!’) and spout some rubbish about the awful commercialism of rock and roll (yeah, because U2 never made any money did they?!) Arguably the most boring induction on this list.

The Youtube link is here: and

The Byrds (Inducted 1991)

Award presented by Don Henley
This was quite an emotional night for Byrds-watchers, who had to stay up late to see the first reunion of the original band since 1972! Alas the night got more emotional in hindsight as we lost first Gene Clark and then Michael Clarke in quick succession, mere months after this event took place, making it the last time we ever saw the first line-up of this band together in public ever. The reunion almost didn’t happen too - McGuinn, Hillman and Crosby had just lost a court case to get their drummer Michael Clarke to stop using the ‘Byrds’ name in his shows and weren’t very friendly with him at the time (the whole episode seemed trivial when Clarke died shortly after his ‘victory’). The speeches are short, the performances woefully off-key and most of the band seem to have been at the drinks cabinet (well, it was the last appearance of the night that year!) but its moving all the same. Alas the full show doesn’t seem to be on Youtube – I’m sure a fellow Byrds fan has got a copy out there to share, however, so keep your eyes peeled! As for Eagle singer Don Henley, his memories about hearing The Byrds for the first time is sincere and heartfelt, serenading his 15 year old girlfriend with songs from the first Byrds album, but rather dull, delivered like a man reading out his last will and testament.

The Youtube link is here: and

Grateful Dead (Inducted 1994)

Award presented by Bruce Hornsby

“At the end of the five hour show Bobby Weir walked up to the microphone and said ‘we’re going to come back tomorrow night, tear up all the seats and play for free” Jerry Garcia died slightly less than a year after this ‘celebration’, which gives the whole night a rather sombre tone in hindsight. Just listen to the end where Bob Weir’s talks, apropos of nothing, about watching Count Basie perform a great show the night before his death and thinking how suitable that was as a farewell. The band then move on to a cardboard cut out of Jerry waving to the crowd...spooky! (and yet more evidence that the band ‘knew’ 1994-95 was their last year, after several ‘fan’ premonitions and warnings from on stage). Jerry couldn’t make the gig sadly but everyone else who could be is here, even little seen piano player Tom Constanten, who sadly doesn’t get a chance to speak. Ever controversial, bassist Phil Lesh dedicates his share of the award to ‘the thousands of DeadHeads who are currently serving maximum sentences’ (presumably for drugs!) As for Bruce Hornsby, the decision to cast him as the ‘nominee’ seemed weird to most people, but he was a genuine fan of the band and used to perform with them frequently in their 1990s tours (swapping keyboard duties with Vince Welnick in the six years the band carried on after Brent Mydland’s death in 1989). His speech is spot-on too, celebrating what made the band different to so many of their contemporaries: their looseness, their approach and their connection with the audience. Note: look at Paul McCartney in the audience, loudly clapping at the mention of much missed Dead keyboardist Pigpen!

The Youtube link is here: and

John Lennon (Inducted 1994)

Award presented by Paul McCartney

“Thankyou for everything you’ve done for all of us, this letter comes with love from your friend Paul. John Lennon you’ve made it, tonight you’re into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame!” The reason Macca was in the audience was so he could read out a very moving letter to his old colleague at the occasion of Lennon’s induction in the RaRHOF (suitably the first musician ever to be inducted twice). We Beatles fans all know Macca’s memories better than we know our own these days after 50 odd years of interviews and there’s nothing new here apart from the fact that it was Paul’s tape recorder John and Yoko recorded ‘Two Virgins’ on! (did he ever get it back?!) However hearing all these stories woven together, written in an open letter to John by Paul clearly choking back the tears, is hugely moving and among the best speeches Paul has ever given. As for Yoko’s acceptance speech, she’s much warmer than she was at the Beatles’ induction and is clearly moved by Paul’s letter given the smile she gives him and her comments that John ‘would have been very pleased’. This date was, of course, significant in many other ways for Beatle fans – it was backstage at this event that Yoko gave Paul a cassette recording of John singing ‘Free As A Bird’ and ‘Real Love’, along with her blessings for ‘The Threetles’ to overdub their instruments over John’s work in preparation for a single the following year...

The Youtube link is here: and

Janis Joplin (Inducted 1995)

Award presented by Melissa Etheridge

“Janis was the 60s – she was the style, the sound, the inspiration for men and women over the world. She wasn’t playing a character – just as when she was a rebel in Port Arthur in the 60s, she was just being herself” Melissa Etheridge might be semi-forgotten now, but in the mid 90s she was quite a controversial figure for the times, among the first female singer songwriters to openly reveal she was a lesbian. Janis would have been proud to have been admired and to have inspired such a brave figure, even though their style of singing is quite different (their laughs are pretty similar though). Alas most of her speech is more of a list of biographical facts than a heartfelt speech (and Grace Slick would have something to say about Janis being the only female rock and roll star in a sea of men!) but her use of Janis’ quotes about her idol Bessie Smith ‘showing her the air – and how to fill it’ work well as a tribute to Janis herself. Her closing marks about what Janis might be doing now (standing up for women’s rights and gay rights and recording an MTV unplugged!) and her ‘thankyous’ put it right, though, and are wonderfully put. Attending in person are Janis’ younger siblings Michael and Laura, who announce that next week ‘would have been Janis’ birthday’ (her 52nd, unbelievably) and how this is ‘a rather neat present’. Janis’ friend and early believer Bob Gordie strikes an unhappy note, though, alleging that Janis may have had a sexual encounter with record producer Ahmet Ertegun – a fact that seems unlikely on both sides and seems to get on the wrong side of the audience!

The youtube link is here: and

Neil Young (Inducted in 1995)

Award presented by Eddie Vedder

“Things have been good for me for a long time, so for everyone who thinks I’m kind of sad – that’s bullshit, forget about it!” Neil has always traditionally hated RaRHOF-type ceremonies and most fans were horrified when Neil said yes to appearing (especially as it was just one year on from his poorly received MTV Unplugged set recorded under duress). But most fans are glad he appeared if only for one reason – Neil met Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder for the first time and ended up recording the ‘Mirror Ball’ album together as a result of this gig (Vedder revealed afterwards that he’d ‘bootlegged’ Neil’s new song ‘Act Of Love’ from the RaRHOF performance and the band started playing it themselves). Of course, Neil being Neil, he’s already got the collaboration planned in his mind even while he’s busy asking Crazy Horse to take a bow (little did they know they’re about to be sacked to make way for Pearl Jam in a few days!) Actually Vedder comes off as a bit of an idiot in his speech which barely touches on Young’s career or personality or what Young means to him personally. Neil, less than a month on from his 50th birthday, seems unusually cheerful and is the only member of this list so far who remembers to thank both his mum and the RaRHOF organisers! The most interesting point for fans is Neil’s thankyou speech to Ahmet Etergun (who seems to be cropping up frequently this issue!) for letting Neil leave for Reprise ‘because he rightly accepted that Stephen Stills and I would not be able to be solo artists on the same level!’ However the funniest moment is when Young’s manager Elliott Roberts keeps interrupting the speech with notes on who Neil should be thanking, causing Neil to quip ‘you can see he’s a manager – he’s even managing this speech!’ Incidentally, in his long list of thankyous, the only musicians Neil mentions are Crazy Horse and recently deceased Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain – neither his Buffalo Comrades nor CSNY get a look in.

The youtube link is here:

Jefferson Airplane (Inducted 1996)

Award presented by The Grateful Dead

“When they hit the groove, you danced!” If the shock of seeing two members of the Dead (Phil Lesh and Mickey Hart) looking like a pair of be-spectacled lawyers wasn’t weird enough, that’s nothing on the appearance of the band themselves who, seen together for the first time in public since 1972, seem awfully old, much older than their years. The band don’t get much time to speak – mainly because there are so many of them –(despite Grace Slick being sadly absent, as she is on all post-1989 get togethers) but their speeches are often sweet and hit the spot. Jack Casady and Jorma Kaukanen remember buying their first records, Marty Balin – dressed in a suit for possibly the first time in his life - dedicates his award to the band ‘and the San Franciscan spirit’ and Paul Kantner reads out a poem posted to him by an eight year old fan. Even Grace is present via a note read out by Paul where she remembers joining a band ‘because it was the least crowded place at a party’ and bemoaning seeing so many old men on television yet again (and this was 16 years ago...) Not the greatest of RaRHOF acceptance speeches, for sure, but it’s great to see the guys together again...

The youtube link is here: and

Pink Floyd (Inducted 1996)

Award presented by Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins)

“The first rule of rock and roll is if things go well take the credit – and if they go wrong then blame the record company!” Assuming that we count the formation of the Floyd as 1965 (the chronology is a little sketchy), how come it took an extra five years past the 27 year point that they were eligible to be inducted into the RaRHOF? That quibble aside, there’s not really much to mention about this induction. Only David Gilmour and Rick Wright actually play, with Nick Mason adding a short speech (the others ‘playing different tunes’ are Roger Waters who is still mad with the others at this point and Syd Barrett, who reportedly watched the event on television in stony silence). By and large the Floyd choose to sing rather than speak thankyous, making their induction one of the shortest on this list (Gilmour barely manages a ‘hello’!)Their one song ‘Wish You Were Here’ is a fine choice however – not least because Billy Corgan mentions it in his opening speech as summing up his feelings about ‘mortality’ when listening as a fan aged 14. The song is also apt for the two men who aren’t there and Rick adds a neat piano lick to the song you don’t often hear in concert, which is a neat bonus for fans. Technically this is the penultimate concert ever given under the ‘Pink Floyd’ name (to date at least) which makes it rather special – and the last won’t be until Live 8 in 2005 when Waters is, briefly, back in the band. A few more words would have been nice though guys... The surprise choice of Billy Corgan to induct the Floyd – a big name at the time, rather forgotten nowadays – is a mixed bag; he is eloquent and moving when talking about what the band mean to him but he doesn’t carry as much emotional clout as a bigger name from the industry would bring. Much more interesting all round is Pink Floyd’s entry into the UK’s rival Hall Of Fame in 2005 where they’re inducted by Pete Townshend – a much livelier, nosier affair in which Pete admits that he missed a Who gig in Morecambe in 1967 because he was so desperate to see Syd Barrett play!

The youtube link is here:

Buffalo Springfield (Inducted 1997)

Award presented by Tom Petty

“I am unutterably flattered and honoured to be in this company – the class of ’97 is a heck of a bunch!” Stephen Stills ended up making history when he became – to date – the only RaRHOFamer to be inducted twice in one night, with both the Springfield and CSN/Y making the 1997 list. Alas very little footage exists but what there is shows a very bouncy Stills clearly thrilled to receive the award next to a serious looking Richie Furay and Jim Messina. In keeping with the full three year history of the band, Neil Young was meant to show up, but cancelled at the last minute (‘Well Richey, looks like he did it again!’ Stills is meant to have quipped). Tom Petty, formerly a Travelling Wilbury, was a surprise choice for the induction (I’ve never heard him so much as mention the Springfield in interviews) but the band managed a fine performance of ‘For What It’s Worth’ together (with Petty’s trademark guitar lines sounding rather good) so, heck, I’ll let that pass.

Alas there is no footage of the full award but some footage of the speech is here somewhere in the middle of the video: and a performance of ‘For What It’s Worth’ is here:

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young (Inducted 1997)

Award presented by James Taylor

“Music is magic, music bridges the gap between human beings” It really was a case of déjà vu for audience members at the RaRHOF as Stephen Stills took to the stage for the second time that night and James Taylor appeared again as a guest speaker. At least there’s more of a link between Taylor and CSN than there was with Simon and Garfunkel, with Taylor cropping up on several Crosby-Nash records in the mid 70s and vice versa. Listen out for his comment about how the night Nash first sung with Crosby and Stills in 1968 ‘the sound must have blown their minds’ and Nash’s off-stage quip ‘you got that right!’ Controversial to the last, Nash starts his speech ‘I’m a lucky man and I thank God for that – she’s doing a great job!’ before plugging those he’s ‘stood on the shoulders of’ and even thanks the Hollies adding ‘I’ll never forget them ever!’ Aah! Nash will be back with The Hollies in a couple of paragraphs’ time... A clearly emotional Crosby then takes to the stage to rap about the healing powers of music and, on near enough the 10th anniversary of his release from prison, is emotional indeed over what he put his friends and family through. Crosby doesn’t thank the Byrds but he does thank Stills and Nash with the line ‘they’ve stuck with me through thick and thin, when I was a pretty tough person to stick with, they waited, they helped, they cried sometimes, they swore at me sometimes, they’ve been my brothers all the way down the line’ which after 28 years of infighting brings a tear to many an eye. Stills then gets ribbed by Nash for having already given a speech that day and the guitarist adds that he had a six page list of thankyous that he had to cut down! Ever the salesman Nash ends with a plug for Stephen’s son Christopher’s new record! Neil Young failed to turn up at this ceremony as well as the Springfield one, missing out on the chance to be the only person in RaRHOF history to be inducted three times! Note too that Ahmet Ertegun gets yet another thankyou, making him the most references person on this list!

The Youtube clip is here:

Paul McCartney (Inducted 1999)

Inducted by Neil Young

“Unlike those other guys I haven’t got a speech, I’m making it up – so this should be fun!” The two most prolific AAA writers have always had a good rapport and so makes sense. Neil’s rambling speech – which finds him much more nervous than he was accepting his own award - mentions how his first lead vocal was a cover of The Beatles’ ‘It Won’t Be Long’ and how his first solo album came out the same time as Paul’s (Neil can’t remember the name of it and calls it ‘the one with Maybe I’m Amazed on it’ but he’s thinking of ‘McCartney’). If Neil is a little shy then Paul is even more exuberant than normal and is making up for having to miss out the Beatles’ acceptance event. However the emotion runs high when the great one talks about wishing wife Linda could be there (she’d died two years earlier) and brings an emotional Stella up to the stage to represent her. Macca then asks the organisers to get a move on and ‘induct George and Ringo!’ (George is inducted in five years time...we’ll get back to you about Ringo!’) and admits his love of America because without it he’s never have had Linda. There’s barely a dry eye in the house at this point. However this RARHOF will always be remembered for the t-shirt Paul’s designer daughter Stella wore at the ceremony complete with the logo ‘About Fucking Time!’ which appeared in all the media the next day!

The Youtube clip is here: and

Paul Simon (Inducted 2001)">

Award presented by Marc Anthony (Who?!)
“Paul is brilliant, witty and wise, driven first and foremost by art – and I don’t mean Garfunkel!” Ah Paul Simon – the RaRHOF will get a big name in then – perhaps a Beatle or Ray Davies or maybe even old sparring partner Art Garfunkel? Nope, they get Latin singer Marc Anthony. The audience don’t know who he is either (full brownie points to you if you know who he is without looking him up – and no the Roman Emperor doesn’t count!) and he does have a habit of simply listing song titles, but I guess it makes a kind of sense, with the RaRHOF honouring Paul’s work with ‘world’ music and the pair did work together on ‘The Capeman’ (not one of Paul’s better ideas!) The line ‘Paul – You’re the one!’ (in reference to his then current album) and ‘he’s small in height but a giant in the music business!’ are also pretty cringe-making (surely this celebratory day, of all days, Paul could go without some smart aleck joking about his height?!) Perhaps Marc had been hired by Art Garfunkel to get his own back after the jokes made at his induction?! These comments aside, Paul’s second induction apparently went a lot more smoothly than his first even though his vocal is hoarse on renditions of ‘Still Crazy After All These Years’ and ‘Graceland’ – although sadly footage of Paul’s actual speech doesn’t seem to exist (assuming he made one of course – the RaRHOF might not have let him after last time!

The Youtube clip is here: and

George Harrison (Inducted 2004)

Award presented by Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne

“Knowing George, he’s probably up there watching us all tonight – and right now he’s muttering ‘get on with it!” Five years earlier Paul McCartney had asked the RaRHOF to induct George and so it came to pass, though sadly it took George’s death to spur that event on. George was inducted by two fellow Travelling Wilburys who make all the right comments: George never had a manager or agent, he scored the first post solo Beatles number one in the singles and album charts, he ‘invented’ charity gigs long before Live Aid and yet for all his achievements their biggest memories of him are watching him stay up all night playing the ukulele. As Petty puts it here ‘George filled the room’ and all the comments are valid – and yet it all falls rather flat, even with Petty trying to incite the crowd into chanting ‘Hari Krishna’ and Lynne’s speech only runs 30 seconds compares to Petty’s 250. Much better is the acceptance speech made by then 27-year-old son Dhani (Youtube gets the spelling wrong!), in which he admits for the first time to his mother that he accidentally broke George’s Beatles RaRHOF award in 1987 and glued it back together! Olivia then reads out a quote from one of George’s favourite Indian poets that reads ‘The best is he whose fame does not outshine your truth’ which gets the audience thinking and then, surprisingly, thanks Beatles roadie-come-business manager Neil Aspinall for looking after George and the others so well for so long and who died not long after this(he may well have been poorly already at this stage, if so it was a rather very kind gesture). Incidentally, look out for Yoko in the audience, who rather sweetly wasn’t at the ceremony for an award but to cheer Olivia on! And so ends another RaRHOF ceremony!

The Youtube clip is here: and

The Hollies (Inducted 2010)

Award presented by Stevie Van Zandt

“I’m being inducted into a museum – how’s that for longevity?” If any band are going to fly at each other it’s going to be notoriously fickle and fragile groups that are always fighting like The Who, The Kinks or CSN, right?! Wrong! The only true ‘fight’ in Hollies history took place on stage in front of their biggest audience in decades and was an awful shame after so many fans had waited so long to see them get the recognition they deserved. The problem comes when a special guest from the band Train (why?!) joins the band onstage to sing lead on ‘Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress’ (as Clarkey considers his voice to be worn out – Nash went with him to a vocal coach to prepare for this, his first public performance for 15 years or so; even with his problems he still sings better on the night than any of his special guests!) No one’s told harmony singer Terry Sylvester though, who whispers in the ear of the Train guy and grabs his mike, singing for a few lines until being pushed aside by Clarkey who hands it back to its owner (this is about a minute after he’s been blocked from singing on Clarke and Nash’s shared mike, a truly low moment in Hollies history although the performance itself isn’t that bad). It was an awful shame coming at such a warm and wonderful time for The Hollies, back in the charts thanks to a terrific compilation (‘The Clarke-Hicks-Nash Years’) Fans had already been upset by the news that current Hollies members Tony Hicks and Bobby Elliott were in the middle of a heavy tour and couldn’t attend. Original drummer Don Rathbone (who left after three singles) was also poorly at the time and couldn’t attend, which was a huge shame (it would have been his first public appearance with the group since 1963!) However the actual speech itself went smoothly. E Street member and DJ Van Zandt may have been odd choice as nominator but his rambling speech is heartfelt and he is clearly a fan, not just someone looking to get up on stage. Clarke talks about his dad telling him groups never last and how he’d better put some money aside, gleefully acknowledging ‘I’m in a museum!’ Nash is gleeful at matching Stills and Crosby’s records as double nominees and delighted to be meeting back with his old school friend Allan Clarke who he dedicates his award to, adding ‘we’ve known each other now for 63 years(the grin they give each other walking up on stage is priceless)! Original bassist Eric Haydock seems happy to be up there with the others, despite the fact they parted on bad terms and Clarke and Nash even sued him to stop him using the Hollies name on stage. Bernie Calvert tells his children off for staying up late to see him! Terry Sylvester, meanwhile, switches between being a music (or is that music hall?) comedian and paying heartfelt tribute to the band’s 1970s manager who died some years before.

The Youtube link is here: here: here: and here: (it’s a long ceremony!)

The Small Faces (Inducted 2012)

Award presented by Stevie Van Zandt

“I’d like to thank our fans – if any are still alive!” The main talking point of the Small Faces/Faces reunion was the non-appearance of Rod Stewart, who was too poorly with flu to take part, but only cancelled at the absolute last minute. Even sadder Simply Red vocalist Mick Hucknall stepped in on vocals – a low point in any band’s career, although to be fair to him he copes as well as he can given the last minute timing. Van Zandt’s second AAA speech risked causing a rift, though, with a risqué joke about ‘how after Ronnie and Rod joined the band they were almost called the ‘proudly large noses’ rather than the small faces’. Surviving members Ian Mclagan, Kenney Jones and Ronnie Wood all showed didn’t seem to mind, however, and took the time to remember both Ronnie Lane and Steve Marriott (the latter of whom would have had an absolute ball with the spotlight back on him again!) Incidentally, Ronnie Wood was attending his second Hall of Fame induction, having been with the Rolling Stones at their induction in 1989.

The Youtube link (what little has been posted to date) is here:

Updates 2018 (At Last!!!) 

1)    Cat Stevens/Yusuf (Inducted 2014)

Award presented by Art Garfunkel

“All the girls I took out were Cat Stevens fans – he was a sexy guy!” A nice bit of AAA cross-pollination here, as one harmony singer taps his hat to another (the pair did work together once but only once, on the song ‘Jzero’ from Cat’s 1975 album ‘Numbers’). Art’s faintly embarrassing speech jokes that had he and Paul not split up in 1970 there wouldn’t be room for Cat on the charts and that ‘he owes me a big thankyou!’ Interestingly Art talks not about harmonies or songs but ‘groove’, singing bursts from ‘Peace Train’ ‘Morning Has Broken’ and ‘Wild World’. He does have the sense to say that Cat’s songs mean a lot to ‘most people in this room’ and that his ‘building blocks’ of ‘sensitivity and a bass voice’ was the perfect formula for success. ‘He sought awareness as a man’ intones Art as ‘Yusuf turned his back on it all to find the truth’. Art wonders what Yusuf will make of being a Hall of Fame inductee? Well, he looks quite happy to me, beaming his head off at all the attention. After such a serious introduction he gives a very giggly speech, admitting ‘I’m pissed!’ at one point. Yusuf thanks his father, mother, brother wife and sons as well as his ‘band’ and ‘fans’ and surprisingly admits to only getting the vocal for ‘Morning Has Broken’ right after thinking about his mother. ‘Being inducted sounds cold and medical!’ he jokes before adding that ‘I can still seem some sceptical faces’ in the front row but that he cheekily takes his prize with pride: ‘I’m not the best of you – but looking around I’m not the worst of you either!’    

Dire Straits (Inducted 2018)

Awarded presented by John Illsey (to himself!)

“It’s a bit weird but there we were, life’s strange…but it’s collective, a brotherhood!” This was a strange one. Mark Knopfler had been saying for years that if Dire Straits ever were inducted he wouldn’t turn up (he never gave a reason, but he’s always hated the ginormous fame Dire Straits gave him and there was also talk that he didn’t want to see his brother; however Dave also refused to turn up, with not very many happy memories of the time). Ignored by the Hall of Fame for so long, it makes perfect sense that the band should be inducted the first year it was open to the hall the first year that the public could vote rather than a panel. Without the Knopflers there most people weren’t that fussed and the Hall of Fame couldn’t get anyone interested in presenting the award, which for the first time in the Hall’s history was presented effectively by a member of a band to himself. Bassist John Illsey, whose always flown the flag of the band highest, copes remarkably well in difficult circumstances with two glorious speeches (especially the one remembering where he and Mark was the first time ‘Sultans Of Swing’ was played on the radio – moving furniture for a few extra pennies - and guitarist Guy Fletcher (who remembers talking to his school careers instructor who laughed at the idea of him being a musician) and keyboardist Alan Clark (who dedicates his award to ‘everyone whose made people happy’) also give some excellent speeches. Ignored in the press the next day and overshadowed by bigger reunions, this was nevertheless a big day for Dire Straits fans even without the Knopflers – the first time three of them had been in the same room for decades. Sadly Dire Straits didn’t get a chance to actually play.

The Youtube link is here:

The Moody Blues (Inducted 2018)

Award presented by Ann Wilson (Heart)

“I’d like to thank Justin and John for putting up with me – and me for putting up with Justin and John!” Moody Blues fans have fought tooth and nail to get the band included into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. It took an embarrassingly long time since the first date at which they were eligible (a quarter century go) and nobody ever gave a reason why they were passed over in favour of lesser acts nobody had heard of. The fans got increasingly desperate as its all the last ten years of interviews with the band had ever talked about but they themselves weren’t fussed – as late as the night of the induction Justin was telling reporters he didn’t think it was a ‘big deal’. And perhaps it wasn’t – this is only a panel’s eye view of the rock world after all and I’m astonished many times by how much faith people put into a museum that so few people ever get to visit anyway. However it felt good that The Moodies were here at last and it speaks volumes that they were inducted the year they brought in a ‘popular vote’ rather than a panel one. There was a lot o debate about who would turn up to the show, with Denny Laine told early on he wouldn’t be eligible despite singing lead on technically the band’s biggest selling hit and sadly Ray Thomas passed away mere weeks before the band were confirmed as entrants, robbing us of one last precious chance to see our famous five onstage. The night was overshadowed too by Mike Pinder’s frail health – though he turned up he asked not to give a speech, though he’s clearly itching to make one anyway come the night. Denny sets the tone by joking that he wasn’t with the band long so he’s made the shortest speech, Graeme’s is typically funny, with jokes about thanking the people who’ve helped him and ‘screw you!’ to those who haven’t before admitting that though he didn’t think much of the Hall of Fame the emotion has got to him on the night, John looks the proudest and stares at his trophy with awe, wondering how he got here after his second chance at fame in 1968 (there’s a gorgeous video shot for his facebook page of him unwrapping his award back home and dedicating it to all the fans who ‘pushed so hard to make this happen’) and Justin just looks bemused by the whole thing. The Moodies closed the ceremony with a mini-suite of songs. Inevitably ‘Nights In White Satin’ is there (complete with Graeme’s ‘Late Lament’ opening) but interestingly Lodge gets the other two songs, ‘I’m Just A Singer’ and traditional encore ‘Ride My See Saw’. It’s good to see Mike playing along with the others for the first time in decades, but it’s a shame Denny doesn’t get to take part and there’s a big hole on the side of the stage where Ray should be that even Nora Mullen can’t fill.

The Youtube link is here: (I’m Just A Singer In A Rock ‘n’ Roll Band’)


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