March 18th, 2006 16:08 EST
2006 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees
The 2006 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony took place at the Waldorf-Astoria, in which Black Sabbath, Blondie, Miles Davis, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Sex Pistols and industry executives Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss were inducted in. In true rock and roll fashion, the event came complete with feuding stars, tantrums, and unexpected surprises.
In a much-publicized outburst, punk rockers the Sex Pistols turned down the honor in a profane letter posted on their website and all over the media. The hand-written, poorly misspelled note was read at the ceremony by founder of Rolling Stone magazine, Jann Wenner. The band stated, “Next to the Sex Pistols, rock and roll and that Hall of Fame is a piss stain. Your museum, urine in wine. We're not coming. Fame at $25,000 if we paid for a table, or $15,000 to squeak up in the gallery, goes to a nonprofit organization selling us a load of old famous. Congratulations. If you voted for us, hope you noted your reasons. You’re anonymous as judges, but your still music industry people. We're not coming. You’re not paying attention.” Making light of it, Wenner invited them to pick up their trophies at the rock hall in Cleveland. “If they want to smash them into bits, they can do that, too,” Wenner said.
Miles Davis was inducted by another jazz great, musician Herbie Hancock. In his speech, he mentioned how the trumpet player often played with his back to the audience because he was conducting the band. “He was a man of mystery, magic, and mystique. It was often said he was an enigma. I would venture to say that many who said that just didn’t get it,” Hancock said.
Two members of Lynyrd Skynyrd received the honor post-humorously. A plane crash killed singer Ronnie Van Zant and guitarist Steve Gaines. Accepting the honor was Judy, Van Zant’s widow, who said, “no one deserved to be here more than Ronnie Van Zant and he would truly be honored”. Ronnie’s brother, Johnny, who is the replacement lead singer for Skynyrd, played “Free Bird” and joined Kid Rock in a duet for the epitome of southern pride anthems, “Sweet Home Alabama”.
The most uncomfortable exchange of the night was when ex-members of Blondie begged on stage to play with the band again. When Blondie reformed after 15 years missing from the music scene, Frank Infante, Nigel Harrison and Gary Valentine weren’t asked back. Despite a very long legal battle and bitterness on both ends, this great achievement was marred by a public display of their ongoing feud. When accepting the group’s award, the three reformed members, Deborah Harry, Chris Stein, and Clem Burke, barely acknowledged them. It became increasingly awkward as Infante begged to perform with them while accepting his award. “Debbie, are we allowed?” he pleaded, to which lead singer Harry replied, “Can’t you see my band is up there?” Blondie, lacking its original members, proceeded to play mega-hits “Heart of Glass”, “Rapture”, and “Call Me”.
Front man Ozzy Osbourne has trashed the hall of fame for waiting a decade to induct Black Sabbath, calling the selection committee “the supposed elite for the industry and the media, who‘ve never bought an album or ticket in their lives.” The metal band, which also included Geezer Butler, Tony Iommi, and Bill Ward, finally got the respect they deserve as Metallica’s James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich inducted them in. Both emphatically expressed that without Black Sabbath, Metallica wouldn’t exist. “If there was no Black Sabbath, I could still possibly be a morning newspaper delivery boy,” Ulrich said. Ward paid homage to metal admirers. “Thank you to all Sabbath fans everywhere. Hopefully our induction tonight will add to the validation… (And) hard rock and heavy metal will have an enduring and everlasting place in rock history.” Ozzy thanked his wife Sharon and daughter Kelly and Aimee. Surprisingly Sabbath didn’t perform; Metallica took to the stage and blasted out “Iron Man” and “Hole in the Sky”.
Lifetime achievement awards were given to Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss, founders of A&M Records. The influential record label signed major artists, such as the Police, Supertramp, John Hiatt, Cat Stevens, and Alpert’s band, the Tijuana Brass. “I haven’t seen this many people since I played bar mitzvahs years ago,” remarked trumpeter Alpert.
The nominating committee composed of rock and roll historians, select artists for induction, who are then listed on a ballot and voted on by an international voting body of about 700 rock experts. This year’s ceremony will be televised on VH-1 on March 21