For the first time the 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony was opened to the public on Thursday. It was also the first time held outside of the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. The ceremony took place in a larger venue at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. There were plenty of long speeches, unforgettable performances, and excellent inductions. Opening the festivities was Chris Martin of Coldplay introducing Peter Gabriel.
Nirvana and Kiss were what drove fans out to see them. The surviving members of Nirvana, David Grohl and Krist Novoselic, were on hand to perform while four female artists fronted for the late Kurt Cobain.
Even though members of Kiss were on hand to accept, and give speeches, for their long overdue induction, thanks to the legion of fans voting them in. Fans must have been disappointed when they didn’t perform, because of a dispute within the Kiss original line-up and other group members.
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band took up a bulk of the time with speeches, including family members of the late Clarence Clemons. Fans were in for a treat with their raucous jam session.
Surprising performances came from quieter members of the class of 2014. Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens, has rarely toured, much less perform, since the 1970s. That didn’t stop him when he performed three songs “Father & Son,” “Wild World,” and “Peace Train.” In his memorable acceptance speech praising the Hall of Fame in their selection, Stevens stated, “”someone who doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke and only sleeps with his wife.” Art Garfunkel did the induction honors.
Linda Ronstadt was not able to attend. The organizers arranged for a number of female singers that included Emmylou Harrison, Bonnie Raitt, Stevie Nicks, Sheryl Crow, and Carrie Underwood. This supergroup took park in singing Ronstadt’s many greatest hits, then all joined in for ‘When Will I Be Loved.”
Hall & Oates were a tad miffed following the E Street Band with time allotted for a short speech. It was Daryl Hall who made a startling insight about the duo, “the only home-grown band from Philadelphia.” He was referring to them being the only ones from Philly in the Hall, and there should be many more.
Peter Asher pulled double duty by inducting the managers of the British invasion’s greatest bands, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, with his impassioned speech. According to the Los Angeles Times, a 15-year campaign was waged to get Beatles manager Brian Epstein into the hall. Both Epstein and Andrew Loog Oldham, a no show at the ceremonies, were the recipients of the Ahmet Ertegun Lifetime Achievement Award. It was reported Oldham snubbed the Hall’s invitation, because of being admitted as a two-fer with Epstein.
Closing out the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame show was a tearful tribute for Nirvana. Courtney Love and David Grohl laid aside a deep divide of differences. Female rockers Joan Jett, Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon, St. Vincent, and Lorde each performed. The latter artist wasn’t even born during Nirvana’s golden era. With so many artists coming together for one night, despite feuds and ill will toward the hall, the group Kiss may regret not performing after all.