From Wrinkles to Rap, a Rock Award’s Shifting Cast: 2013 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction

From the Heart: Heart singer Ann Wilson looks on as sister Nancy Wilson hugs presenter Chris Cornell at the 28th Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in L.A.

From the Heart: Heart singer Ann Wilson looks on as sister Nancy Wilson hugs presenter Chris Cornell at the 28th Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in L.A.

Heart, trailblazers for women in rock music, and the producer Lou Adler were inducted, while the queen of disco, Donna Summer, and the blues guitar legend Albert King were posthumously honored.

When the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last held its annual induction ceremony here 20 years ago, the singer and songwriter Randy Newman thought he might get his ticket into the hall. (He did not.) And the politically charged rap act Public Enemy had already logged hits with titles like “Fight the Power” and “Burn Hollywood Burn” that promised to overthrow the established order.

But Hollywood royalty was on hand to honor both Mr. Newman and Public Enemy here on Thursday night, as both acts were inducted into the Hall of Fame, a reflection of the huge growth in hip-hop’s popularity and influence over the last two decades and of the rapidly growing musical diversity in the hall.

“We represent the hip-hop community that also deserves recognition today,” said Chuck D, one of Public Enemy’s founders. The group is only the fourth hip-hop act to make it into the hall, after Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five (2007), Run-DMC (2009) and the Beastie Boys (2012). But Chuck D predicted that there would be more soon, citing other influential rappers like L L Cool J and Salt-n-Pepa. “Many of them you will see here in the next 10 years,” he said.

Musicians become eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25 years after the release of their first album or single.

The show’s return to Los Angeles was part of a strategy to make the induction ceremony more accessible to the public, which has also involved holding it in larger spaces in recent years. In coming years it may rotate among New York, Cleveland (site of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum) and Los Angeles, officials said.

In keeping with the pomp that people have come to expect at this city’s award shows, performers filed along the red carpet (sometimes with the help of an escort to fend off the shrieking fans) into the 7,100-seat Nokia Theater. There, a sold-out crowd was treated to performers from different epochs and musical genres playing together onstage, a hallmark of the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies.

Usher did his best Michael Jackson impression as a tribute to the producer Quincy Jones, who was inducted this year. Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins of the Foo Fighters introduced Rush, which was inducted, and performed with the group onstage. Don Henley, Tom Petty and John Fogerty all played with Mr. Newman.

Aside from Public Enemy, all of the eight inductees had recorded some of their greatest successes by the 1970s, if not earlier. Heart, trailblazers for women in rock music, and the producer Lou Adler were inducted, while the queen of disco, Donna Summer, and the blues guitar legend Albert King were posthumously honored.

Mr. Newman, 69, joked about the age of many of the performers, including himself.

After being snubbed for two decades, he said, “I did think I was going to have to die and I’d be watching from below with my relatives.” He played a song called “I’m Dead (But I Don’t Know It),” about old musicians with gray hair who won’t retire “clogging the stage.”

Mr. Jones, already the recipient of 27 Grammys over the course of a career that has paired him with legends from Ray Charles to Michael Jackson, also noted how long it had taken him to get in. “I didn’t want to get into the Hall of Fame too early, so we waited a while,” he said.

As the night went on, the mood continued to lighten. Flavor Flav of Public Enemy no doubt assumed he had given the longest, most haphazard speech when he went on about his children and the clock he wears around his neck (among other subjects) until even his band mate, Chuck D, was giving him wrap-it-up signals on the stage.

“I only get to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame one time in my life,” Flavor Flav said. “I’m enjoying this.”

Not to be outdone, Alex Lifeson, Rush’s singer and guitarist, then gave an acceptance speech in which he repeated “blah blah” over and over for several minutes while aggressively gesticulating, leaving the crowd in hysterics.

Via The New York Times
Photo: Rolling Stone

[The end of each ceremony always raises the question: who will be inducted next year? One strong possibility is Nirvana, who will be eligible – their first single, “Love Buzz,” was released in 1988. “Wow, I didn’t even know that,” said Grohl. “Interesting. Well, hopefully they make us wait as long as Rush did, because did you see all their fucking fans out there tonight?”]

Heart: Fanatic – Album Review

The Wilson sisters

“Why do you have to go sulk off in some corner because you are a girl? What’s the big deal?” ~ Ann Wilson


Heart has had quite a year. They released a career-spanning box set, Strange Euphoria, which preceded a memoir by band leaders Ann and Nancy Wilson, Kicking and Dreaming. To top it off, they returned with their 14th studio album, Fanatic.

They are now just about 40 years into a career that has seen them attain huge commercial success. They made a wise decision to return to their hard rocking roots. They have moved away from the polished pop rock sound that produced their biggest hit singles and have returned to basics. As such, they have created an album where the songs flow into each other and form a cohesive whole.

The two constants in the band have always been vocalist Ann Wilson and guitarist Nancy Wilson. The core backing band for the album was their regular drummer Ben Smith, guitarist Ben Mink, and bassist Rick Markmann. Mink served as the producer for the second album in a row and did a much better job than on 2010s Red Velvet Car as he kept the band focused and the music tight. He also co-wrote all 10 tracks with the Wilson sisters. Ann Wilson has always possessed one of the most powerful and clearest voices in rock music and it shows little wear after four decades of fronting one of music’s premier bands.

The music uses a hard rock foundation as it moves outward in a number of directions. They have always admired Led Zeppelin and here they channel their sound with “Corduroy Road.” “Rock Deep (America)” is an old-fashioned rock romp. “Walkin’ Good” unites the voices of Nancy Wilson and Sarah McLachlan. The title track presents the passion that the Wilson sisters have brought to their work for decades.

Perhaps the most affecting track is the patriotic “Dear Old America,” which is built on the post-war memories of their father. The use of strings gives it a very poignant feel.

Fanatic’s biggest surprise is the band’s return to their past. If you are one of the best band’s in rock music and want to model an album after someone, why not choose yourself. It is a worthy addition to their legacy.

The fact that Ann Wilson sounds exactly the same as she did 30, 35 years ago is one of the most amazing things ever.

Back to basics: Heart return to their hard rocking roots

From the polished pop rock sound that produced their biggest hit singles