Article 1988-01-20 New York City, NY

Rock Hall of Fame Inducts Members

The Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame moved into rock's second generation last night. The Beatles, Bob Dylan, the Beach Boys, the Supremes and four members of the Drifters were inducted at the third annual hall of fame ceremony, a black-tie dinner at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel's Grand Ballroom, with speeches, tributes and a closing jam session.

As fans clustered behind police lines outside the hotel, hoping to snap a photograph of ''everybody who's famous,'' as one put it, music-business executives and other rock fans sat at tables for which they had paid $5,000 or $10,000 for 10 people. They saw Mr. Dylan, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Bruce Springsteen, Little Richard, Neil Young, Mick Jagger, Billy Joel, Elton John, Pete Seeger and other performers step up to the dais, to receive or present awards and pay tribute to fellow musicians. Only one sour note was struck, as Mike Love of the Beach Boys challenged ''the moptops'' or Mick Jagger to perform as often as the Beach Boys did, and complained that Diana Ross, from the original Supremes group, and Paul McCartney were absent.

Mr. McCartney had released a statement saying, ''After 20 years, the Beatles still have some business differences which I had hoped would have been settled by now. Unfortunately, they haven't been, so I would feel like a complete hypocrite waving and smiling with them at a fake reunion.''

From Soul to Rock

At the two previous ceremonies, the hall of fame had inducted many of rock's founders: Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Ray Charles, Bo Diddley, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly and others. The 1960's soul singers Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson and Aretha Franklin were inducted last year. But now, rockers who grew up listening to early rock - including the first British hall of fame members, the Beatles - have joined them. Performers who made their first recordings before 1963 became eligible for the hall of fame this year, allowing some 1960's rockers to be honored alongside their predecessors.

''I wanted to write joyful music that would make other people feel good,'' Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys said as he accepted the award.

The 25-year time limit was intended to provide historical distance for the 150 performers, producers, music-business executives and writers who choose hall of fame members - to free the choices from the commercial nearsightedness that affects other music-business awards. Even so, one new member, the ex-Beatle George Harrison, has an album in the current Top 10.

Three pre-rock figures were also recognized: Huddie Ledbetter (Leadbelly), Woody Guthrie, and the guitarist and technical innovator Les Paul.

'Fun With My Toys'

Les Paul, who refined the electric guitar and pioneered multitrack recording, said, ''Have a lot of fun with my toys.'' Also cited was a nonperformer, Berry Gordy, founder of Motown Records. Mr. Gordy's ''hit factory'' approach was responsible for some of the most enduring rock records of the 1960's. Michael Jackson, a Motown discovery, sent a congratulatory telegram signed, ''Your son.''

The ceremony also included the unveiling of I. M. Pei's design for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland - a pyramidal building to be set on a bluff above the Cuyahoga River, on a donated site near Terminal Tower, the tallest building in Cleveland. Gov. Richard Celeste of Ohio, who was at the ceremony, said the hall of fame would be ''a true cultural asset, something that not only speaks to several generations but to people around the world. It might be more of an attraction than the Country and Western Hall of Fame.''

The museum is incorporated as a subsidiary of the New York-based Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, which originated the idea and organizes the annual induction ceremonies; the foundation expects to raise $40 to $45 million from corporate donors to build the museum. ''There's no timetable, and frankly we're not in a rush,'' said Ahmet Ertegun, chairman of Atlantic Records and of the foundation. ''We want to make sure we don't make any mistakes.''

Jann Wenner, publisher of Rolling Stone magazine and the foundation's executive vice president, said current plans for the museum included a ''contemplative and quiet'' hall of fame with names and likeness of the members. There will also be an exhibition area with permanent and changing exhibits of memorabilia and audio-visual displays, where, he said, ''You can go and spend two hours and take a trip through rock-and-roll history.''

Like the previous two induction ceremonies, this one was kept on a small scale, but the proceedings were videotaped for the archives. ''There are impromptu jam sessions in which you could never pay to see those combinations,'' Mr. Ertegun said.

By Jon Pareles via The New York Times.

McCartney's Absence Sparks Rancor at Rock Hall

NEW YORK — Hopes that the three surviving Beatles would stage a mini-reunion at Wednesday night's third annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction dinner were dashed by Paul McCartney. And that led to some bad vibrations from the Beach Boys' Mike Love.

Moments before the start of the dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, a representative for McCartney distributed a statement in the press room that indicated McCartney wouldn't be joining Ringo Starr and George Harrison at the ceremony, which also honored Bob Dylan, the Beach Boys, the Drifters and the Supremes.

The reason: longstanding business and legal problems involving the surviving Beatles and their former record company, Apple. It would have been the trio's first public appearance in America since the Beatles' 1966 concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.

"I was keen to go to (the dinner) and pick up my award, but after 20 years the Beatles still have some business differences which I had hoped would have been settled by now," McCartney said in the statement. "Unfortunately, they haven't been (settled), so I would feel like a complete hypocrite waving and smiling with (Harrison and Starr) at a fake reunion."

The more than 700 people who paid up to $1,000 a ticket to attend the black-tie affair were caught by surprise when the Beach Boys' Love took a slap at McCartney and another no-show, the Supremes' Diana Ross.

"I think it is wonderful to be here tonight," said Love, following the other Beach Boys at the microphone as they accepted their awards. "But I also think it is sad that there are other people who aren't here tonight (to be honored) and those are the people who passed away," Love said, referring to the Beatles' John Lennon, the Beach Boys' Dennis Wilson and the Supremes' Florence Ballard. "Those are the obvious ones.

"But there are also (people who chose not to come for other reasons), people like Paul McCartney, who couldn't be here tonight because he's in a lawsuit with Ringo and Yoko (Ono, Lennon's widow)… . That's a bummer because we're talking about harmony … in the world."

Amid sighs of disappointment over the news of McCartney's decision, there was also scattered applause in support of Love's remarks.

The applause apparently spurred the notoriously outspoken Beach Boy to further jabs, which generated additional nervous laughter and applause.

"It's (also) a bummer when Ms. Ross can't make it… ."

On a roll, Love made some more sarcastic references to the Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel and Mick Jagger during a long, rambling speech. He even suggested that Jagger was afraid to be on the same bill as the Beach Boys.

The remarks were so pointed that when he left the stage, there was widespread booing from the audience.

Dylan, in making his induction acceptance speech a bit later, responded, at first humorously, then seriously.

"I'd like to thank Mike Love for not mentioning me… . Peace, love and harmony is important indeed, but so is forgiveness."

(A Beach Boys spokeswoman said Thursday that Love would have no further comment on his speech.)

Love's criticism of McCartney was not sharedat least publiclyby Harrison, Starr or Ono, who accepted a Hall of Fame statuette for her late husband.

Harrison, however, made a playful reference to McCartney as he stood at the podium with Starr, Ono and Lennon's sons, Sean, 12, and Julian, 24.

"I don't have to say much because I (was always known as) the quiet Beatle," he said. "It's unfortunate Paul's not here because he was the one who had the speech in his pocket… ."

In reflecting on how strange it felt being on stage without Lennon, however, Harrison also made a poignant reference to McCartney.

"We all loved (Lennon) so much—and we all love Paul very much."

Mary Wilson, representing the Supremes, also sidestepped Love's criticism of her former partner.

"It was my wish that (Ross were) here tonight, but we all must recognize that people have to live their lives… .," Wilson said.

"There comes a time in a star's life when you have to really assess what is important to you, and I would say that since Diana has received so many, many accolades in life … that she probably has felt that (her marriage and recently born baby) is something that's very, very important and I respect (that)… ."

A spokesman for Ross, however, reacted angrily to Love's comparing of Ross and McCartney. Elliot Mintz, media consultant for Ono and Ross, said in an interview after the dinner: "If his speech was intended to be about harmony, it had totally the opposite effect. It was divisive, judgmental, misguided and at times venomous.

"Paul McCartney's statement stands or falls on its own merits. He made a conscious business decision to purposefully boycott the evening's ceremony. Ms. Ross issued a statement through my office … that personal family reasons prevented her from attending. In that statement she said she was honored to be inducted into the Hall of Fame and has many wonderful memories of her days with the Supremes."

Love joined Jagger, Harrison and the other musicians on stage during the closing jam session and made it a point to go over to Starr on drums and pat him on the back—as if the remarks about the Beatles were just in jest.

Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly and Les Paul were also honored as early influences on rock 'n' roll, while Motown Records founder Berry Gordy Jr. joined the Hall of Fame's list of music business giants.

In an apparent salute to the Beatles, the first non-American act to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, the stage was decorated with U.S. and British flags, and the dinner had an English flavor: poached salmon, English green salad, bangers and mash (a sausage and potato dish) and plum pudding.

The induction of Dylan, the Beatles, the Beach Boys, the Supremes and the Drifters brings to 30 the number of performers voted into the Hall of Fame. A panel of 150 critics, musicians and recording executives votes on potential members, but artists aren't eligible until 25 years after the release of their first record.

By Robert Hilburn via Los Angeles Times.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Supremes, The Drifters, Bob Dylan and more were inducted during a star-studded ceremony and performance

It was one of the great nights in rock & roll history. As 1,200 selected guests clapped, cheered and even danced atop their tables, three generations of rock legends took to the stage to praise their peers, celebrate their music and, at the end, join together in an all-stops-out jam session. The lineup was a virtual who’s who of classic rock: Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Bruce Springsteen, Jeff Beck, Elton John, the Beach Boys, Neil Young, Billy Joel, John Fogerty and Dave Edmunds, among many others.

But apart from the sheer star wattage, the real magic in the air at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s third-annual induction dinner — held on January 20th at New York City’s Waldorf-Astoria hotel — was the palpable sense of what Pete Seeger, one of the evening’s inductors, called “the long, long chain” of American music. “I love it,” said John Fogerty, pointing to a nearby chair. “I mean, Little Richard is sitting right there.”

Most of the crowd was seated by the time Elton John made his way into the ballroom, accompanied by his wife, Renate, and his longtime songwriting partner, Bernie Taupin. John jauntily made his way toward the table in the center of the room, where he and his party were to join George Harrison and Ringo Starr. Unfortunately, Harrison had already invited Bob Dylan to join him at the table, leaving no room for Taupin. Taking offense, the jet-lagged John stormed out of the room and headed back to his Waldorf suite, leaving Starr’s wife, Barbara Bach, to explain: “I think he’s had some sort of disagreement with George.”

Across the room, the squabble was noted by Mick Jagger, who had not only the dubious honor of being seated at a table overrun by Little Richard’s unusually large retinue but the misfortune of being situated near a serving area, where he was constant prey to the jostlings of waiters bearing big silver platters of sausages and mashed potatoes. Jagger unobtrusively made his way out of the room to the elevator and headed for Elton John’s suite.

The ceremonies got under way with a fanfare by Paul Shaffer and the World’s Most Dangerous Band, the house band for the night; they romped through a medley of music associated with the evening’s inductees.

Next, the masters of ceremonies — Atlantic Records chairman Ahmet Ertegun and Rolling Stone editor and publisher Jann Wenner — took the stage. Ertegun first introduced the noted architect I.M. Pei and displayed a slide of Pei’s preliminary design for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame building, to be built in Cleveland, Ohio; he proceeded to set the generous tone for the evening with his introduction of the first inductee, Berry Gordy Jr., the founder of Motown Records. Ertegun spoke of his reaction to the great early Motown records, saying, “It was the only music I couldn’t copy.” He continued by reading a telegram addressed to Gordy: Congratulations. You deserve it. You are the father of fine music. Love always, Your son, Michael Jackson. Finally, describing Gordy as “the record man of our time,” Ertegun brought on the reclusive Motown mastermind himself.

Gordy, all smiles, seemed genuinely moved. “My life has been an embarrassment of riches,” he said. “Every day for thirty years, I’ve had the luxury of doing what I love to do. Tonight, I’m being honored for it… . Thank God for rock & roll.”

The late Huddie Ledbetter — the great Leadbelly — was next in line to be honored. Ertegun recalled seeing Leadbelly perform at an antifascist benefit concert in the early Forties. Then, to induct Leadbelly, Ertegun brought on the singer, folklorist and longtime social activist Pete Seeger. Seeger was not wearing a tuxedo, but he struck the strongest political chord of the night. He started off by softly reciting a few lines from a poem by García Lorca (“All our art is but water, drawn from the well of the people”) and then built to a fiery peroration. “If we realize that we are but links in a long, long chain,” Seeger said, “then, by God, there will be links to come. And the people who’d wipe the human race off the map with their goddamn atom bombs and their goddamn toxic chemicals will be fooled. Because love and music are gonna bring us together!”

Tiny Robinson, Leadbelly’s niece, accepted his award. “I don’t know if this was one of Leadbelly’s dreams,” she said, “but I’m so glad it came true.”

The induction of Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly’s former concert partner, followed. Neil Young, the inductor, began his speech by reflecting on how torn he had been in his youth. He wanted to be a rock star. But, Young said, “I wanted to be that other guy, too — to have a guitar and sing a few songs about things that I really felt inside myself, things I saw going on around me.” And singer-songwriters, he discovered, “all seemed to go back and start with Woody Guthrie.”

Woody’s award was accepted by his son Arlo Guthrie. “You could figure a lot of things in this world,” Arlo said, “but this isn’t one of them. I think if my dad was alive today, this is the one place he wouldn’t be. I understand that… . [But] his spirit is still around, still writing, still singing. And I think this is why I had to come anyhow, to say thank you.”

Things lightened up a bit when Jeff Beck ambled onstage to introduce one of his guitar heroes, Les Paul. “I’m terrible at speeches,” Beck said. “But I guess I’ve copied more licks off of Les than anybody else. I showed him the speech I was gonna read out, and he said, ‘That’s worse than a United Airlines meal.’ So I didn’t bother.”

Les Paul quickly appeared and proved equally modest. A pioneer of studio overdubbing, tape echo and guitar design, Paul would allow only that “I have been credited with inventing a few things … that you guys are using out there. About the most I can say is ‘Have a lot of fun with my toys.'”

Meanwhile, up in Elton John’s suite, John and Jagger were yukking it up over old times when they were joined by an extremely merry Ringo Starr, who finally managed to disperse John’s ire over the earlier seating snafu. Jagger and Starr ushered the singer back down to the ballroom just in time for John to induct the Beach Boys into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The Beach Boys “made me love America so much more because they existed,” John said. “They are, for me, what America is — a very, very wonderful place to be.” With his brother Carl, his cousin Mike Love and rhythm guitarist Al Jardine huddled close, Brian Wilson donned glasses and began to read from a loosely written but obviously heartfelt speech. He talked about the summer weekend twenty-seven years before when he and Love had written an innocuous little song called “Surfin’.” Then he added poignantly, “All of us in this room — all of us — have the privilege of making music that helps and heals. To make music that makes people happier, stronger and kinder. Don’t forget, music is God’s voice. Love and mercy to everyone.”

After Carl’s brief salute to his late brother, Dennis, the band struck up a riff from “Good Vibrations,” and the Beach Boys moved to the front of the stage to pose for pictures. But Mike Love had no intention of relinquishing the spotlight so readily. Taking his turn at the microphone, Love said a few words about the importance of harmony in life and music, and then said, “It’s sad that there are other people who aren’t here tonight … people like Paul McCartney, who couldn’t be here because he’s in a lawsuit with Ringo and Yoko. That’s what he sent a telegram [sic] to some high-priced attorney in this room, you know? Now, that’s a bummer. The Beach Boys have their own interstacine [sic] or whatever-you-call-it squabbles. But that’s a bummer when Ms. Ross can’t make it, you know?”

Love went on to execute a complicated transition, noting first that he didn’t care if a lot of people present thought he was crazy, and then that the United States composed only six percent of the world’s population — which, he announced, “is why I came here tonight with Muhammad Ali. Muhammad!” He punched a fist up in the air.

Love then resumed his baiting of other musicians. “I’d like to see some people kick out the jams,” he said. “I challenge the Boss to get up onstage and jam. I wanna see Billy Joel, see if he can still tickle the ivories. Lemme see!” Then, apparently confusing his British rock stars, he said, “I know Mick Jagger won’t be here tonight!” (Jagger’s seat was approximately twenty feet away.) “He’s gonna have to stay in England. He’s always been chickenshit to get on a stage with the Beach Boys!”

At that moment, the Shaffer band cranked the “Good Vibrations” riff back up to maximum volume, forcing Love to at last leave the podium. Carl Wilson approached Ahmet Ertegun, who was standing at stage left, and asked, “Is our career over?” Elton John suddenly dashed back out onstage and shouted, “Thank fuck he didn’t mention me!” Ertegun, taking control of the microphone, said, “Well, that’s rock & roll.”

In the wake of such mania, Billy Joel’s appearance onstage to induct the Drifters seemed a marvel of sophisticated, genuine sentiment. Joel told of his days as a gang member back in Levittown, New York, and how the great music of the Drifters changed all of his friends’ lives. “They gave us the word,” Joel said. “And the word was this: Don’t just stay in the house and stare at the ceilin’. Go up on the roof and look at the stars.”

The award honored Ben E. King, Johnny Moore, Bill Pinkney, Gerhart Thrasher and Charlie Thomas, as well as deceased members Rudy Lewis and Clyde McPhatter. The surviving members accepted their awards graciously, despite the divisive legal maneuverings that continue to embroil them.

Bruce Springsteen, dressed in a silk suit and a bolo tie, gave an eloquent appreciation of the next inductee, Bob Dylan. Dylan’s early work, he said, was so great that his latter-day songs have gone “unappreciated for having to stand in that shadow.”

“Anyone who came along today with an album like Empire Burlesque or a song as good as ‘Every Grain of Sand,'” Springsteen said, “they’d be callin’ him the new Bob Dylan.

Springsteen spoke of seeing an interview with Dylan on the Rolling Stone twentieth-anniversary TV special a few months earlier. “He was in a real cranky mood, it seemed like,” he said. “He was kinda bitchin’ and moanin’ about how his fans don’t know him. They come up to him on the street and treat him like a long-lost brother or somethin’. And speakin’ as a fan, I guess when I was fifteen and I heard ‘Like a Rolling Stone,’ I heard a guy like I’ve never heard before or since. A guy that had the guts to take on the whole world and made me feel like I had ’em, too.

“And maybe some people mistook that voice to be sayin’ somehow that you were gonna do the job for ’em. And as we know, as we grow older, there isn’t anybody out there that can do that job for anybody else. So, I’m just here tonight to say thanks. To say that I wouldn’t be here without you. To say that there is not a soul in this room who does not owe you their thanks. And to steal a line from one of your songs, whether you like it or not, ‘You was the brother that I never had.'”

After waiting at the mike for his standing ovation to subside, Dylan simply said, “Thanks, Bruce.” He then expressed his admiration for Little Richard and for folklorist Alan Lomax, who was also in the audience. “And,” he said in conclusion, “I wanna thank Mike Love … for not mentioning me… . And, uh, peace, love and harmony is greatly important indeed, but so is forgiveness, and we gotta have that, too.”

Little Richard’s speech to induct the Supremes proved to be the most enjoyable performance of the whole shebang. “I love the Supremes so much,” Richard said, ” ’cause they remind me of myself. They dress like me. Diana Ross been dressin’ like me for years. You all know that! And they also do my holler: whoo! You know I started that. I am the first one said whoo! Everybody else was sayin’ wuh! I was sayin’ whoo! Shut up!”

Mary Wilson and Lisa Chapman, the late Florence Ballard’s youngest daughter, accepted the award for the group. Wilson looked terrific, slinking onstage in a skintight sheath slit up to an inspiring height along one leg. She made a gracious reference to Diana Ross’s absence, pointing out that “Diane” (as Wilson always calls her) recently had a child and that since she had received “so many, many accolades in life and so much success,” perhaps she had seen fit to content herself “with a personal achievement more than a public achievement” at this time in her life. Then Chapman thanked the hall of fame for honoring her mother.

From that point on, the night took on a magical tone. Mick Jagger strolled up onstage, totally relaxed and charming, and proceeded to introduce the Beatles. His speech was a small revelation: never before had Jagger seemed so guilelessly appealing. He reminisced about the first scuffling gigs the Rolling Stones played in the very early Sixties.

“We were doin’ Chuck Berry songs and blues and things,” Jagger said, “and we thought that we were totally unique animals. And then we heard there was a group from Liverpool” — his mock sneer was affectionate — “and they had long hair, scruffy clothes. But they had a record contract. And they had a record on the charts, with a bluesy harmonica on it, called ‘Love Me Do.’ When I heard the combination of all these things, I was almost sick.”

Jagger then recalled his initial encounter with the Beatles. “We were playin’ a little club in Richmond,” he said, “and suddenly there they were, right in front of me — the Fab Four. John, Paul, George and Ringo. The four-headed monster. They never went anywhere alone at this point. And they had on these beautiful, long black leather trench coats. I could really die for one of those. And I thought, ‘Even if I have to learn to write songs, I’m gonna get this.’

“We went through some pretty strange times,” Jagger said in conclusion. “We had sort of a lot of rivalry in those early years and a little bit of friction. But we always ended up friends, and I’d like to think we still are. ‘Cause they were some of the greatest times of our lives.”

And with that, George Harrison and Ringo Starr appeared, in the company of John Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, and his two sons, Julian and Sean. Ringo, the first to speak, had obviously progressed beyond mere merriment to a place of deep drollery. “I did have this speech written here,” Starr said, “and in 1922, when I wrote it, I could see it. So we’ll just rip that up. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I love it — when they used to call us a pop group… . Anyway, there were four of us in that band, and there just seems to be George and I, Yoko, Sean and Julian here. It’s growin’, you know, every day.”

Harrison was even drier. “I don’t have much to say,” he said, ” ’cause I’m the quiet Beatle. It is unfortunate Paul’s not here, ’cause he was the one who had the speech in his pocket. Anyway, we all know why John can’t be here, and I’m sure he would be. And it’s hard, really, to stand here supposedly representin’ the Beatles. Uh, it’s what’s left, I’m afraid. But we all loved him so much. And we all love Paul very much. And, uh, it’s certainly wonderful to be here and certainly a thrill.”

In a statement distributed by his publicist shortly before the dinner, McCartney explained his absence: “I was keen to go [to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony] and pick up my award, but after twenty years the Beatles still have some business differences which I had hoped would have been settled by now. Unfortunately, they haven’t been, so I would feel like a complete hypocrite waving and smiling with them [George Harrison and Ringo Starr] at a fake reunion.”

The business differences McCartney referred to involve a royalty dispute among the former Beatles. “The difference between this one and all of the other Beatle cases is that it’s not all four Beatles suing, but it’s three of them suing Paul,” Yoko Ono explained later. Filed in December 1984 by Ono (representing the estate of John Lennon), Harrison and Starr, the suit focuses on the fact that McCartney receives a higher royalty on the group’s recordings than the other Beatles.

After Harrison’s speech, all further comment seemed almost anticlimactic: Ono’s brief acceptance for Lennon (“He would have been here, you know. He would have come”); Julian’s short salute to the Beatles enduring influence; even young Sean’s witty disclaimer (“I’m pretty proud to be up here today for doing nothing”).

Harrison made a point of thanking the longtime Beatles associates who were present. “During the years of the Beatles,” he said, “there was probably about 500 fifth Beatles. But there was actually only really 2 fifth Beatles — if there can be such a thing — and they were Derek Taylor and Neil Aspinall.”

With the induction ceremonies over, all that remained was to corral all the stars up onstage and try to get some sparks flying. Although the structure of this customary conclusion to the hall-of-fame ceremony would remain loose, a certain amount of planning had been done in advance.

“We never did this in the previous two years,” said Shaffer afterward. “But this year, there were so many opportunities that we thought we’d better have a few ideas, because it would be silly to blow it if nobody could think of anything to play.”

So during the dinner, Shaffer approached Billy Joel, who asked for access to a Hammond B-3 organ and agreed to sing “I Saw Her Standing There.” Next, Shaffer went to Neil Young. “He said maybe he’d sing something of his own,” Shaffer said, “but he ended up very happy just playing guitar for everybody else. Then I spoke to Ringo. I said, ‘Would you participate in the jam?’ He said, ‘Absolutely not. There’ll be real musicians up there.’ But he ended up playing drums anyway.”

Next to fall into line were Dylan (“Anything you want,” he told Shaffer) and Springsteen, who offered to pitch in on “Like a Rolling Stone” if Dylan agreed to do it. “So then, between me and Bill Graham, we made a sort of tentative list,” Shaffer said. “And in our back pocket, we knew we were going to do ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ last.”

The opening number, a stab at “Twist and Shout,” was wobbly. The first high point occurred when George Harrison gently nudged Bob Dylan into the lyrics of “All Along the Watchtower” — a bit of a problem, since Shaffer’s core band was pounding out the three-chord Jimi Hendrix arrangement while Dylan stuck with the two chords around which he’d written the song twenty years ago. (Les Paul didn’t seem to care. He took off on one of those skittering solos that have become his trademark, prompting gasps from most of the other guitarists in his vicinity.)

Billy Joel kicked things up to another level when he took charge and tore into the Paul McCartney lead on “I Saw Her Standing There,” with Jagger and Harrison contributing hilarious, head-waggling choruses. Springsteen jumped in to sing the bridge and then duetted with Jagger while Beck’s screaming lead lines circled all around them.

Ben E. King and Julian Lennon teamed up on one of John Lennon’s favorite oldies, “Stand by Me,” with guitar power provided by Dave Edmunds. Then, following an Elton John assault on “Whole Lot of Shakin’ Going On” and “Hound Dog” and the Beach Boys’ rough rendition of “Barbara Ann” (“Mike Love, redeem yourself!” Shaffer shouted), John Fogerty was called forth to sing “Long Tall Sally” — but changed his mind.

“I wanted to do it with Little Richard,” Fogerty announced, “but he’s left. So I’ll just do one of my own tunes, if it’s okay.” And with that, he led the sprawling ensemble into a riveting version of “Born on the Bayou.” Springsteen — clearly thrilled — weighed in on harmonies, Neil Young went nuts on guitar behind them, and Nile Rodgers matched Fogerty’s classic riff lick for lick.

“That was the most fun for me,” said Rodgers. “I knew that one would sound perfect, ’cause I’ve been practicing that part since I was a kid.”

From there, it was a short step up to what was planned as the evening’s musical peak: a long, thundering version of “Like a Rolling Stone,” with Jagger and Springsteen flanking Dylan and roaring in on the choruses for a mightily massed “How does it feel?”

“It was just a fabulous moment,” said Shaffer. “The guitar section was ridiculous — George Harrison, Jeff Beck and everybody. I didn’t think you could top it.”

Shaffer was ready to call it a night — in fact, he did. But then, out of the blue, Beck lit into the anthemic opening guitar line of “Satisfaction.” Jagger turned away from the audience, took off his jacket, and suddenly nobody was going anywhere.

“I guess Jeff knew that Jagger hadn’t really had a chance to shine yet,” Shaffer said. “I looked at Jagger’s face, and he just loved it when he heard those opening notes. He just automatically took center stage and went to work.

“It was really a stroke of genius on the part of Jeff Beck. When I had approached Jeff before the show, he showed me his finger, which he’d jammed in a door or something — the nail was right off the picking finger of his right hand. He sort of tried to make an excuse, but then he said that maybe if he got drunk enough, he might play. And he turned out to be one of the most valuable players.”

“Satisfaction” was indeed an inspiration. Even amid such stellar company, Jagger took control of the stage as if by natural right. Probably only Springsteen could have stood with him, and when he did, the song became a study in charisma. Nose to nose and eyeball to eyeball on a single microphone, they shouted out the chorus for all it was worth. Then, as if by instinct, each began lowering his voice to a hoarse croak, the one bobbing and weaving playfully against the other, building the tension, slowly bringing the volume back up and finally exploding for the finale. The applause rose in waves toward the stage, and soaring above it, the perfect concluding touch, was a brief quote by Beck of the guitar intro to the Stones’ classic “Paint It Black.”

“It was a beautiful reunion,” Little Richard said later. “Bob Dylan said it was a beautiful evening. Bruce said the same thing. Mick said it seemed like old times.”

And Richard’s own final verdict?

“I don’t think it’s gonna get no bigger than that,” he said.

By Kurt Loder via Rolling Stone.


NEW YORK, JAN. 20 — The stars who showed up for tonight's third annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria were somewhat overshadowed by two conspicuous absentees, Paul McCartney and Diana Ross.

The Beatles were among the five inductees, along with Bob Dylan, the Beach Boys, the Drifters and the Supremes. But even though Motown founder Berry Gordy, a major figure in her career, was being inducted in the nonperformer category, Ross flew off to Europe, leaving no statement.

That was not the case with McCartney, who stayed in England but did release a terse statement: "I was keen to go and pick up my award but after 20 years, the Beatles still have some business differences which I hoped would have been settled by now. Unfortunately, they haven't been so I would feel like a complete hypocrite waving and smiling with them at a false reunion."

BothGeorge Harrison and Ringo Starr were at the ceremony, as were John Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, and his two sons, Julian and Sean. When they all got up on stage, it wasn't the Fab Four but the Flustered Five, and Ringo quipped, "It's growing every day."

Harrison graciously downplayed McCartney's absence. "I don't have to say much because I'm the quiet Beatle," he began. "It's unfortunate Paul's not here because he's the one who had the speech in his pocket." Later, he quoted from the Beatles catalogue, saying, "It's wonderful to be here, it's certainly a thrill."

"I wish John was here," said Julian Lennon. "He would have been here. He would have come." At a reception before the dinner in the hotel ballroom, Yoko Ono had said, "It's very sad that he's not here."

McCartney's absence did inspire the night's one gonzo speech, by Mike Love of the Beach Boys. During that group's induction, Love rambled on about harmony and peace before calling the McCartney situation a "bummer" and challenging the Mop Tops to match the Beach Boys' 180-concert-a-year touring schedule. Love then threw down the gauntlet to Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel to get up on the ballroom stage and jam and, finally, to Mick Jagger (who introduced the Beatles) and the Rolling Stones to share a concert stage with his band. Elton John, who had presented the Beach Boys with their award, stood on stage whistling after Love's rambling discourse, then walked off, mock-miffed and asking, "Why didn't he … mention me?"

Little Richard was hard pressed to remember who he was introducing, sending greetings to Muhammad Ali ("Thank you for loving me, Muhammad!"), making a pitch for a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and occasionally remembering the Supremes, who, he said, "remind me of myself — they dress like me and they do my holler."

Springsteen, dressed in the same silver suit he'd worn to last year's ceremony, had no such problem when he introduced Bob Dylan: "When I was a kid, his voice thrilled and scared me, made me feel irresponsibly innocent, and it still does … He's a revolutionary. In the way that Elvis freed your body, Bob freed your mind. To this day, when great rock music is being made, it's in the shadow of Bob Dylan, over and over and over."

After a long standing ovation, Dylan said, "Thanks, Bruce," and added thanks to a number of people, including "Mike Love for not mentioning me. Peace, love and harmony is very important indeed, but so is forgiveness, and you've got to have that, too."

Ono and the Lennons shared a table with the two ex-Beatles, Bob Dylan, Billy Joel and his wife Christie Brinkley. They probably didn't have to pay for it, but the 700 in attendance, mostly from the record industry, paid $300 apiece, or $10,000 for a table. The money raised will go toward basic foundation expenses while the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, to be located in Cleveland, continues its fund-raising activities. The audience was shown two slides of the model for the hall, designed by architect I.M. Pei.

AtlanticRecords' Ahmet Ertegun, a founder of the nonprofit foundation behind the Hall of Fame, insisted, "There's no rush" to complete and open the hall. However, foundation President Seymour Stein, the head of Sire Records, put it differently: "I'm in the record business, and we'd like for it to be a hit overnight." But only $7 million of an estimated $50 million that will be needed has been raised so far, and no work is expected before late 1990.

Stein expressed surprise "that some of the {inductees} aren't here. This is a lifetime achievement award, not an Academy Award or a Grammy for a particular record or song. This is the summation of someone's career, ongoing or complete."

One surprise inductee was Gordy, who has seldom appeared at public functions. "It's very strange because I'm usually behind the scenes," he said before the dinner. "It's a strange sensation. I can kind of feel what some of the stars go through — the cameras, the lights, the questions. Hey, this is not so bad. Maybe I'll have to rethink things."

Supreme Mary Wilson, who wrote some unflattering things about Gordy and Motown — as well as Diana Ross — in her recent autobiography, said Gordy seemed to be avoiding her, but that "if we were inducted without him, it would have been wrong. We didn't do it alone; there were a lot of people behind us. He made not only us, but all the others. He gave us the opportunities."

Three pioneering artists were inducted into the Hall of Fame as early influences on rock 'n' roll: Woody Guthrie, the folk poet of the Great Depression; folk-blues legend Huddie (Leadbelly) Ledbetter; and jazz guitarist and technical innovator Les Paul.

"I don't want his music to die," said Leadbelly's niece, Tiny Robinson. "I want it to stay alive. It's a root and the tree is growing."

Looking out over the well-heeled crowd, Arlo Guthrie was typically irreverent. "I'm fairly positive if my dad were alive today, this is the one place he wouldn't be."

Les Paul, the only living pioneer and a major figure in the development of both electric guitar and advanced recording technology, admitted he'd been credited with "stumbling across a number of things you guys are using. You've had a lot of fun with my toys."

SeanLennon got off one of the night's best lines, saying, "I'm pretty proud to be up here today for doing nothing," to which Ringo added, "We're all doing nothing. Give us the prize and let's get on."

Nominees, chosen by a panel of record executives, producers and writers, had to have released their first records by 1962. And this year, because of personnel changes that affected many groups, the Hall of Fame began listing group members separately, which is why the Drifters were represented by all of their seven lead singers: Ben E. King, Rudy Lewis, Johnny Moore, Bill Pinckney, Clyde McPhatter, Gerhart Thrasher and Charley Thomas. It was the second induction for the late McPhatter, who made it in last year as a solo artist. The evening ended with the traditional jam featuring all inductees and inductors. Highlights included Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower," with Dylan and George Harrison chiming in on dual vocals after a long guitar intro by Les Paul, and "I Saw Her Standing There," with Harrison, Springsteen and Jagger on vocals, a band that included Neil Young, Nile Rodgers, Billy Joel, John Fogerty and Jeff Beck and a choir of assorted Platters and Beach Boys. The "Letterman" show's Paul Shaffer goaded everyone into a ragged but raucous set of representative classics, including "Barbara Ann," "Stop in the Name of Love," "Twist and Shout," "Satisfaction" and "Stand by Me," which it was impossible not to do on that crowded stage. When Dylan finished off the evening with a vibrant ensemble reading of "Like a Rolling Stone," the black-tie crowd was standing on its chairs and dancing with abandon.

By Richard Harrington via The Washington Post.
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