The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inducts it’s Latest Legends!

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.”

[singlepic id=362 w=320 h=240 float=left]Diamond had seemed a bit loopy in his acceptance speech, after traveling 25 hours from Australia for the ceremony and looking ahead to another trip Down Under to resume a concert tour. He criticized Paul Simon, who inducted him, for giving Simon’s upcoming album a difficult-to-remember title (“So Beautiful or So What”), then tried to recover by saying “I dare anybody in this room to make a better album.”

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.”

[singlepic id=359 w=320 h=240 float=right]Alice Cooper is the stage name for singer Vincent Furnier and his band, known for 1970s era hard rock songs “Eighteen,” “No More Mr. Nice Guy” and “School’s Out.” Their concerts were steeped in horror movie theatrics, and Cooper wrapped a snake around his neck during his speech accepting induction. He performed a trio of the band’s hits in a shirt spattered with fake blood.

“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.

[singlepic id=363 w=320 h=240 float=left]Songwriter Waits is well-versed in blues, poetry and ballads, with songs rough and romantic. Several of his Hall of Fame predecessors have recorded his work, including Springsteen (“Jersey Girl”), the Ramones (“I Don’t Want to Grow Up”), Rod Stewart (“Downtown Train”) and Johnny Cash (“Down There By the Train”). Neil Young said Waits is indescribable and “I’m here to describe him.” The two later performed together; taped highlights of the rock hall ceremony will be shown on Fuse on March 20.

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.”

[singlepic id=364 w=320 h=240 float=right]Leon Russell composed “A Song for You” and “Delta Lady,” but he said he was in “a ditch beside the highway of life” when Elton John called a year ago and suggested they record an album together. The result was nominated for a Grammy.

“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.

[singlepic id=360 w=320 h=240 float=left]Love, whose voice cut through Phil Spector’s heavy production, called her induction into the hall her best 70th birthday present. She praised Spector’s work but also tweaked him: “Phil Spector said God made two musical geniuses: Beethoven and Phil Spector,” she recalled.

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.”

[singlepic id=361 w=320 h=240 float=right]New Orleans piano maestro Dr. John, born Malcolm John “Mac” Rebennack Jr., was inducted by singer John Legend, who recalled meeting him at a benefit for Hurricane Katrina relief. Legend said the new Hall of Fame member has been a leading global ambassador for New Orleans and its special musical gumbo.

“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!

Don Kirshner, Music Mogul, Dies.

NPR – by Tom Cole – Don Kirshner saw rock n’ roll born out of R&B, and he was there as the music grew into a self-indulgent young adult. Kirshner was a music publisher and a television producer. He had a hand in launching Bobby Darin’s career and he put the Ramones on network TV. He was sometimes called, “The Man With The Golden Ear.”

Kirshner died yesterday of heart failure in Boca Raton, Florida, where he lived. He was 76 years old.

He was born in the Bronx and, the story goes, met Robert Cassotto at a candy shop in Washington Heights. They wrote some songs together, including Cassotto’s first single, “My First Love,” which he recorded under the name Bobby Darin.

In 1958, Kirshner co-founded Aldon Music with publisher Al Nevins. That same year, Darin’s “Splish Splash” hit the Top 10. Aldon landed some of the top songwriting teams of the day, including Carole King and Gerry Goffin; Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil; and Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield. Their songs were recorded by the Drifters, the Shirelles, and Bobby Vee.

Kirshner launched a label, Dimension Records, that released such hits as Little Eva’s “The Loco-Motion” (written by Goffin and King) in 1962. Kirshner and Nevins sold Aldon to Screen Gems/Columbia the following year, and Kirshner eventually became the company’s president.

It was there that Kirshner began to combine music and television. The result was the Monkees. Whatever you may think, they were hugely successful — but disputes over royalties and rights led to Kirshner’s departure from Screen Gems under a legal cloud.

He shot back with another music/TV effort that replaced ungrateful musicians with animated comic book characters — the Archies. Don’t laugh. The “band” (which featured lead vocals by the Cuff Links’ Ron Dante and guitar and bass by such session veterans as Hugh McCracken and Chuck Rainey, respectively) scored a number 1 hit with, “Sugar, Sugar,” selling more than 6 million records.

In the early ’70s, Kirshner became the executive producer for ABC-TV’s “In Concert” late night series, which featured performances by the Allman Brothers BandAlice Cooper, and Curtis Mayfield, among many others. Kirshner then launched his own syndicated concert show, Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert, in September of 1973 with a performance by The Rolling Stones. Later guests included the Ramones, The Eagles, and Kansas, a band Kirshner is credited with helping to launch. The show ran through 1981 and became a staple for ’70s rock fans, despite Kirshner’s stiff stage presence.

Kirshner remained active in the music business right up until the end of his life, through music publishing and a new company called Rockrena which, according to a press release announcing Kirshner’s death is “an online global community where artists, bands, fans, rock stars, and industry professionals come together to find, judge, and enjoy the best undiscovered rock talent online, and at ROCK CITY CLUB shows worldwide.”