The 36th Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony took place on October 30th at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland, Ohio. The Induction Ceremony will be broadcast on HBO and streamed on HBO Max on November 20th.
The ceremony honored this year’s Inductees: Tina Turner, Carole King, the Go-Go’s, Jay-Z, Foo Fighters, and Todd Rundgren in the Performer category.
The 2021 Musical Excellence Award was given to LL Cool J, Billy Preston, and guitarist Randy Rhoads. This year’s Early Influence Award inductees were Kraftwerk, Gil Scott Heron, and Charley Patton.
There were two conspicuous no-shows at the event, with Todd Rundgren — a longtime critic of the Rock Hall — skipping the induction and choosing to play in nearby Cincinnatti instead while good friend Patti Smith inducted him. Bryan Adams, who was supposed to perform his 1984 duet with Tina Turner at the show, was forced to beg out after testing positive for covid. Country star Keith Urban sat in for the Canadian rocker and duetted with H.E.R. on the Private Dancer favorite.
Paul McCartney inducted Foo Fighters; actress Angela Bassett inducted Tina Turner — who accepted the award via film from Switzerland, with performances by Christina Aguilera, Mickey Guyton, H.E.R., and Keith Urban; Taylor Swift inducted Carole King, with performances by Swift and Jennifer Hudson; Ringo Starr filmed a salute the Beatles and Rolling Stones sideman Billy Preston; Drew Barrymore inducted the Go-Go’s; Dave Chappelle inducted Jay-Z, with filmed comments from President Barack Obama; LL Cool J was inducted by Dr. Dre and performed with Eminem and Jennifer Lopez, Common paid tribute to the late Gil Scott-Heron; Tom Morrello appeared on film to salute Randy Rhodes; Pharell inducted Kraftwork; and Lionel Richie did the honors for Clarence Avant. Brandi Carlile performed the Everly Brothers‘ “All I Have To Do Is Dream” during the filmed “In Memoriam” section.
According to sources, the proposed grand finale to the night was to be all the musicians performing the Rolling Stones‘ “Tumbling Dice” as a tribute to the late-Charlie Watts, but it was cut, according to some, due to time constraints.
KEY MOMENTS FROM THE SPEECHES. . .
Paul McCartney inducting Foo Fighters
“I fell into rock n’ roll, I joined a group. My group was the Beatles. Like I say, the world changed. Dave did a similar kind of thing. He joined a group, Nirvana.
We had a great time with our groups, but eventually tragedy happened and my group broke up. Same happened with Dave. His group broke up under tragic circumstances. So the question is, ‘What do you do now?’ We both were presented with that question. In my case, I said, ‘Well, I’ll make an album where I play all the instruments myself.’ So I did that. Dave’s group broke up, what’s he do? He makes an album where he plays all the instruments himself. Do you think this guy’s stalking me?
Anyway, so me, I’m gonna name my new group, and I call them Wings. So Dave’s got the same problem, and he’s got to think of a name for the group, so he comes up with ‘Foo Fighters.’ I was just saying to them in the dressing room, ‘Guys, this is it. You’re here in Cleveland, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. And tonight, you’re gonna be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.’ I mean, it’s not just any Hall of Fame — it’s the f***ing Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”
Taylor Hawkins of Foo Fighters
“I’d like to share this award with a couple bands that I’d like to see get in there someday too: I’d like to see George Michael in there one day. I’d like to see Jane’s Addiction in there; I’d really like that. I’d like to see Soundgarden in there; I’d really like that. So I’ll share this with you guys, but when you guys get it, you’ve got to give me back your bit. And thanks, everyone.”
Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters
“I also have to thank my beautiful family who without my beautiful family, I would not be as happy as I am, so I love you guys so much and thank you very much. And I have to thank these people, because we wouldn’t be here tonight if it weren’t for each one of these Foo Fighters. And, we did it.”
“If they’re still giving me awards at 81, I must have done something right. I’m very happy to have this. As you can surely tell from my beaming smile: I am thrilled to now be officially inducted into the Rock Hall as a solo artist. What an honor! I am grateful to so many people who stood by me on my journey here — especially you, dear fans. Keep on rocking!”
“I was James (Taylor’s) piano player on a college tour when he said, ‘I want to turn the stage over to Carole King.’ And as you saw in the film, I’m thinking, ‘Please, don’t do this.’ But then he listed the songs that Gerry (Goffin) and I had written and said the fateful words: ‘Here’s Carole to perform ‘Up On The Roof.’ At this point, I am used to performing, and when, y’know, that fateful night when the audience began to sing along and I felt them with me — and here we are, 51 years later. . . I keep hearing it, so I guess I’m going to have to try to own it, that today’s female singers and songwriters stand on my shoulders. Let it not be forgotten that they also stand on the shoulders of the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. May she rest in power, Miss Aretha Franklin!”
LL Cool J
“Rock n’ roll, hip-hop loves you. We borrow your beats. We sample ’em. We turn them into hits. And we know where we came from. We know where things come from. . . We love and appreciate you.”
Patti Smith inducting Todd Rundgren
“As his friend. I was privy to the stages of his work on his solo albums — such a swift evolution, from shimmering pop songs to soaring experimental pieces, and he was unflinching in the face of new technology. He would just bend it in his hands. Todd was our producer on my last album with the Patti Smith Group. He would tell the band, ‘If you know what you want, I will help you get it; if you don’t know what you want, I’ll do it for you.’ Todd and I have our own personal mantra: ‘No grown-ups allowed.’ And that is Todd Rundgren, the Peter Pan prodigy, ever curious, ever youthful, ever defiant. He has been our alchemist, our wizard, our true star.”
Dave Chapelle inducting Jay-Z
“He used to sell crack. He didn’t have anything to write his rhymes on and he would sit there and he would just write down whatever. He would memorize all these thoughts that came to his mind, an avalanche of ideas. And he would just be catchin’ rain-water. And when he got in the studio, like God, he would do the verse. He would let it be. And it would be — and the streets admired him for this.
With success comes co-option. And he never let that get him. The way a white person might hear his music is not the same the way someone from Marcy would. Well, he’s said, ‘This is Jay is every day.’ He told us he’d never change. You heard this. . . probably says the white person, ‘Well, maybe this guy should focus on this development.’ But what we heard is that he’ll never forget us.”
Kathy Valentine of The Go-Go’s
“By honoring our historical contribution, the doors to this establishment have opened wider and the Go-Go’s will be advocating for the inclusion of more women. Women who have paved the way for us and others. Women who started bands, who sing and write songs, who excel on their instruments, who make and produce records. Because here is the thing: There would not be less of us if more of us were visible.”
2021 ROCK HALL INDUCTION PERFORMANCES
“Our Lips Are Sealed”
“We Got the Beat”
“Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” – by Taylor Swift
“(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman” – by Jennifer Hudson
“You’ve Got A Friend – by Carole King
“High Water Everywhere” – by Guy Clark Jr.
LL Cool J
“Go Cut Creator Go”
“Going Back To Cali”
“Rock The Bells” – with Eminem
“All I Have” – with Jennifer Lopez
“Mama Said Knock You Out”
“What’s Love Got To Do With It” – by Mickey Guyton
“It’s Only Love” – by H.E.R. & Keith Urban
“River Deep Mountain High” – by Christina Aguilera
“Best Of You”
“Get Back” – with Paul McCartney
ROCK HALL AUDIO
Through fan-filmed footage of Paul McCartney‘s induction speech, we can hear first-hand how the former-Beatle drew the comparisons between his and Dave Grohl‘s careers after both enjoying the gig of a lifetime: “We had great times with our groups — but then tragedy happened and my group broke up. Same happened with Dave — his group broke up under tragic circumstances, and so then, the question is, ‘What do you do now?’ We both were presented with that question. In my case, I thought, ‘Well, I’ll make an album where I play all the instruments myself.’ (Cheers) So, I did that. Dave’s group broke up — what’s he do? He makes an album where he plays all the instruments himself (cheers, applause). Do you think this guy’s stalking me? (laughter)”
Dave Grohl explained that the Foo Fighters‘ band connection goes way beyond recording and touring together: “I would like to say that the best thing about being here tonight is being surrounded by our family. And when I say that, I mean, if anybody knows how the Foo Fighters work, the people that we are with and we worked with, it’s been 20, 25, 30 years, and we stick together like a family. And I think that’s important, because then, you’re doing it together — not just because it’s work — but because you love each other.”
Go-Go’s drummer Gina Schock described the ups and down of committing to a group for the long haul: “Bein’ in a band is a trip. It is not like anything else. It’s kinda like being married — in our case, a polygamist same-sex marriage (laughter), that ends up getting divorced and remarried and divorced and remarried.”
LL Cool J made a point to underscore the lines that connect rock and rap: “Humility (applause). I’m not talking about. . . I’m not talkin’ about that false, self-deprecating– ‘I bow to you, but I think I’m better than you.’ I’m talking about real humility where you have the confidence to collaborate. The confidence to work with other people (applause). The confidence to celebrate others.”