The Rock Hall Induction Ceremony for 2009 took place in Cleveland, OH on April 4th, 2009 at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. For most of us, seeing the event live in person is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I feel privileged that I had the chance to experience the event for the first time. It will be something I and many other people will not soon forget. Here are some of the things that took place today:
Before the ceremony even took place, there was much to do surrounding the event. Some of the Inductees appeared in Cleveland today, and several events were planned in celebration of the big day.
The first thing that happened that drew a big crowd was the appearance of Darryl “DMC” McDaniels from RUN-DMC at the Hard Rock Café here in Cleveland. The performance helped raise money for The Felix Organization.
The next thing that happened was the free day at the Rock Hall. If you had never been to the Rock Hall, this would have been the day to go. And since several recently added exhibits are currently on display, the chance to catch up with what’s going on at the museum made the free day well worth taking advantage of. With all of the activity surrounding the Induction Ceremony, you could almost feel the magic in the air.
Cleveland’s own Bobby Womack was involved in the special day as the Rock Hall Inductee for the 2009 class came to the Rock Hall. He was there, hours before he was inducted, to sign autographs for his fans.
Another thing that happened was the free day of music at the Rock Hall. Taking part in the celebration were several bands that were chosen to help entertain the large crowd that came to check out what all of the excitement was about. The bands that took part in the live music were: Cleveland’s own Pale Hollow, which was the winner of the YouTube “Rock Your Way To Cleveland” video contest; Decade, the winning band in the Plain Dealer “Cleveland Rocks ‘09” contest; and Consumer Republic, the 2008 Fortune Battle of the Bands winner.
Cleveland’s own Pale Hollow made their way to that stage by winning the “Rock Your Way To Cleveland” contest that was sponsored by YouTube. Of the three bands that played on the stage, they were the only band to play all original music. The performance given by Pale Hollow was definitely worthy of playing at the Rock Hall.
Cleveland’s own Decade made their way to to the the stage on April 4th by winning the Plain Dealer’s “Cleveland Rocks ‘09” contest. Although they were the least impressive to me, they still put in a good performance with their version of cover songs.
Consumer Republic, a band from Switzerland, made their way to the Rock Hall stage by winning the 2008 Fotune Battle of the Corporate Bands. With that win, the band, which was formed by five coworkers at Proctor & Gamble in Switzerland, all but brought the house down with their set of cover songs. But unlike Decade, the band’s set was exciting and fresh. The hour that the band was on the stage seemed to be over way too fast.
The line for the free day at the Rock Hall stretched down the street for the entire day from the time the Rock Hall opened until the Rock Hall was cleared out to make room for the people who paid for the chance to watch the Rock Hall Induction Ceremony live via satellite feed.
Even if you were not lucky enough to be able to see the Rock Hall Induction Ceremony as it took place in Cleveland this year, there was still plenty of things that you could take in during the day to make you feel like you had taken part in something special.
The 24th Annual Rock Hall Induction Ceremony took place the night of April 4th, 2009. For only the second time since the Induction Ceremony has taken place, the event took place in Cleveland. The 2009 Rock Hall Inductions were held at Cleveland’s Music Hall, the place that once welcomed The Beatles to Cleveland for the first time. The venue has also seen many other musical artists take to the stage throughout its history, which made it the perfect place to hold this year’s event.
On April 4th, the institution inducted five new performers, one early influence, and three sidemen. Altogether, the Rock Hall is once again a better place for the new talent that now has become a part of the members that make up the Hall of Fame. This year’s selections for presenters was well thought out, as the presenters seem to compliment the band or individual that was being inducted by that presenter or presenters.
The first artist to be inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame for the 2009 Induction Class was Little Anthony and the Imperials. With the simple statement of “It’s about time,” Smokey Robinson made the induction of the group. The band and Smokey have known each other for many years, and that friendship was very apparent as the presenter and inductees stood on stage and hugged each other in a congratulatory embrace. When the group took to the stage for their performance, they sang a medley of some of their best-known songs like “Tears On My Pillow,” and as well as others.
Rosanne Cash was the last person to be selected as the presenter of the honor of being inducted into the Rock Hall. Rosanne was there to induct Wanda Jackson into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame. In her description of Wanda Jackson, Rosanne said, “You are now up there with your buddies,” referring to people like Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins, who were there at the start of Rock And Roll the same way that Wanda was.
This induction follows Wanda’s previous induction into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. After Wanda had accepted her induction into the Hall of Fame, she took to the stage and did some of her biggest hits, which included “Let’s Have a Party,” and “Mean, Mean Man”.
Leader of the band for the night, Paul Shaffer, was the person chosen to induct the last person in the “Sidemen” category for the 2009 Induction Ceremony. Spooner has worked with many musicians throughout his career, including Bob Dylan, Joe Cocker, along with others. He was also responsible for writing such hits as “When A Man Loves A Woman,” and “Cry Like A Baby”. For these accomplishments and more, Spooner was inducted.
One of the most personal moments for the city of Cleveland was when one of the city’s own, Bobby Womack, was actually inducted into the Rock Hall. Ron Wood from the Rolling Stones had the honor of inducting one of his friends, as the Rolling Stones recorded a song written by Womack: “It’s All Over Now”. In describing Womack, Wood said, “His voice is gonna kill you tonight, like its always killed me”.
When his name was announced, the crowd burst into a loud applause that lasted for many long seconds. One of the best parts of the induction of Womack came when he had his chance to perform live on stage: Along with playing his song “Across 110th Street,” Womack performed his song of “It’s All Over Now” and Ron Wood came out on stage to play the solo in that song. This made for a very magical moment in the ceremony.
Eminem made the next induction of RUN-DMC. “Two turntables and a microphone” was a recurring theme in the musician’s description of the Inductees. And to wrap up how he felt about the group being inducted, Eminem said: “There’s three of them and if you grew up on Hip-Hop like I did, they ARE the Beatles.”
When Run Simmons and Darryl McDaniels went onstage to accept their place in the Rock Hall, their mood was both happy and somber, as they and Mrs. Mizell remembered their lost friend, bandmate and loved one, Jason “Jam-Master Jay” Mizell.
Another memorable part of the group’s speech was Darryl McDaniels addressed the issue of adoption with a very personal statement: “The best thing you can do is give love to a kid; because one day, that kid may grow up to be in the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame.” This helps to understand why McDaniels started the day off by holding the fundraiser for the Felix Foundation earlier in the day at the Hard Rock Café.
The next part of the Induction Ceremony is the part that many would agree came way too late: Two of the people that helped to get Elvis Presley’s musical career off the ground, Bill Black and DJ Fontana, were finally inducted into the Rock Hall. The two presenters for this induction were Max Weinberg and Garry Tallent from Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. During his speech, DJ Fontana singled Weinberg out as one of the people who was more than instrumental for getting the Bill Black and himself into the Rock Hall. When accepting his place in the Rock Hall, Fontana took the time to personally thank Max Weinberg. In describing Max’s efforts to get himself and Bill Black into the Rock Hall, Fontana had this to say: “I think he finally done it.” About his late father Bill’s inclusion into the Rock Hall, Louis Black had this to say: “I’m 61 years old, and I’m glad I lived long enough to see this day.”
The next induction of the night was that of Jeff Beck by Jimmy Page. Page had this to say about Beck: “He’s done so much for Rock And Roll and he always will”. The most impressive part of the induction of Jeff Beck happened after Beck accepted his place in history as one of the newest members of the Rock Hall: Jeff Beck was joined on stage by Jimmy Page and the two musicians proceeded to do a great instrumental version of “The Immigrant Song” by Led Zeppelin. Beck followed that performance up with his own version of the theme song to “Peter Gunn”.
The show would stop for a few moments to pay tribute to the many musicians that had been lost over the year since the last Rock Hall Inductions. The some of the musicians included in the long list were: Jerry Reed, Billy Powell, Eartha Kitt, Mitch Mitchell, Levi Stubbs, and many others.
The last induction of the night was by far the loudest. The last induction belonged to none other than Heavy Metal legends Metallica. Even before their presenter, Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, walked out onto the stage to make his presentation, the near capacity crowd was calling for the band. And when the band made their way onto the stage, the crowd exploded into the loudest applause of the night. And when James Hetfield asked, “Can I get a ‘Hell, Yeah’?” the resounding response led him to comment: “Whoa, that was louder than I was expecting!”
But that applause was still no match for when the band made their way over to the music area and strapped on their instruments. The band launched into “Master of Puppets,” and then, “Enter Sandman,” which led to an even louder response by the people in the sold out crowd at Music Hall.
And then came the most special part of the evening: The part of the show when many of the performers and inductees became one, musically speaking. Many of the performers and inductees stepped on stage and joined in on two jam sessions that included one jam session with many of the Inductees such as “Little” Anthony Gourdine, Wanda Jackson, and others as they joined together in a version of “Jail House Rock”.
After a change of people on stage, other musicians took to the stage for another special musical performance. This time, upwards of ten guitarists strapped on their axes and proceeded to do a very loud and powerful version of Motorhead’s “Train Kept A-Rolling”. Before they even started playing, Jimmy Page dubbed the performance “Rhythm Guitarist Heaven”. The song was a great way to finish off not only a great night for the newest members of the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame, but also a great day for the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame, itself.
The Rock And Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony has been happening for 24 years, and this was only the second time that it took place in Cleveland. It was also the first time that the public was able to buy tickets to the event and actually take part in the ceremony. Both of those statistics are bound to increase as the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be taking place in Cleveland every three years from here on out. To see the Rock Hall Induction Ceremony live and in person was a thrill and something I will not soon forget. And for the city of Cleveland, it was nice to have the event back in the city that actually has the museum.
To find out what is currently on display at the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, go to www.rockhall.com.
All images © Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum