It was a big night last night for some of our biggest legends, as The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s annual induction ceremony was held. The latest inductees were all there to accept their place in rock history: Neil Diamond, Alice Cooper, Tom Waits, Darlene Love, Dr. John and Leon Russell, and after all the speeches were done the musicians kept playing until the wee hours. Highlights of the ceremony will be shown on Fuse on March 20th, so be sure to set your Tivo/DVR!
According to AP: Bruce Springsteen brought his guitar to back Love, who created a modern-day “Wall of Sound” and dueted with Bette Midler on “He’s a Rebel” after her induction Monday night. Guitarist John Mayer supported Russell in his ballad “A Song for You.” Diamond had the crowd in the glittery ballroom of The Waldorf-Astoria hotel dancing to the 1960s era “Cherry Cherry.”
Diamond got a cheer from the New York crowd for recognizing his city roots while performing “I Am I Said.”
Simon noted that Diamond, who was born in Brooklyn, had first been eligible for the rock hall in 1991 and wondered, “What took so long?”
His theory: Diamond’s duet with Barbra Streisand, “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers.”
“It’s Barbra Streisand,” he said. “It’s not rock ‘n’ roll. I don’t even think they let that DNA near the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”
“We’ve always been a hard-rock band,” Cooper said. “We just wanted to decorate it a little differently.”
Cooper said he’d like to promise the rock hall that his band wouldn’t embarrass it.
“But I can’t make that promise,” he said. “After all, we are Alice Cooper.”
He was inducted by singer Rob Zombie, who recalled how he painted a portrait of Cooper dripping in blood when he was in fourth grade and was asked to make a picture of someone he admired – drawing attention from school authorities.
Waits noted that his rock hall trophy was heavy and wondered if he could have a keychain version “that I can keep with me in case I hear somebody say, `Pete, take the cuffs off him. He’s a Hall of Famer.’”
“They say that I have no hits and that I’m difficult to work with,” he said, “and they say that like it’s a bad thing.”
“After that album,” John said, “Leon came alive, and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life.”
Russell, with a shock of long white hair and beard, walked haltingly onstage with the help of a cane and met John for a warm embrace.
Love lent her powerful voice to several of Spector’s hits, in acts such as the Crystals and Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans. Her “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” is a holiday standard: She sang on U2′s cover and performs it every December on David Letterman’s show.
She was inducted with a comic ramble by Midler, who said she was a goner when she first heard Love’s voice on a transistor radio.
“Listening to her songs, you had to dance, you had to move, you had to keep looking for that rebel boy,” Midler said. “Suddenly nobody wanted the buttoned-down guy who was a good provider.”
“He has never stopped flying the flag of funk,” Legend said. “Tonight, he is definitely in the right place at the right time.”
That was a reference to one of Dr. John’s best-known songs, “Right Place, Wrong Time,” with Allen Toussaint and the Meters, which he performed as the ceremony slipped past midnight.
Dr. John wore a bright purple suit for his big night and was asked backstage where he had bought his shoes.
“The pimp store,” he replied.
Elektra Records founder Jac Holzman and Specialty Records founder Art Rupe also were inducted, in the non-performer category.
The inductees’ work will be celebrated in perpetuity at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland.
I myself will admit proudly to being a huge Neil Diamond fan. Yes, I said that out loud. My absolute favorite ND album? Tap Root Manuscript! I listen to the vinyl, yes vinyl, when I want to feel “home” if you know what I mean. What do you think? Did the Hall of Fame miss your favorite this year? Are you willing to now admit your love for Diamond? Let us know below!