A few weeks ago, two female powerhouses finally received their solo due and a scrappy group of California punk-rockers-turned- MTV-darlings were recognized for their influence at the 2021 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction.
Saturday is the day for fans to indulgethe experience when the three-hour broadcast airs at 8 p.m. ET on HBO and HBO Max, as well as SiriusXM’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Radio (channel 310).
Tina Turner, Carole King and The Go-Go’s – along with hip-hop kingpin Jay-Z, rock stewards the Foo Fighters and multi-faceted cult hero Todd Rundgren – were all granted entry into the institution at the Oct. 30 ceremony at the hall’s home base of Cleveland.
As has become expected at the annual event – which returned to an in-person gathering this year after a COVID-necessitated virtual fete in 2020 – performances and surprise celebrity guests trigger as much interest as the artists being recognized.
These are just a few of the memorable moments.
Photos:Here’s a look at 2021’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Class
Inducted byTaylor Swift
Quotable moment: “Her songs speak to the time and honest feelings of everyone,” Swift said, adding a cute joke about cats holding onto dreams of landing on an album cover (a la King’s “Tapestry”).
Performance Highlight: Swift opened the show with King’s “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” fashioned into an airy new arrangement. Jennifer Hudson began her “(You Make Me Feel) Like a Natural Woman” seated at a piano, but soon her unfettered vocalizing launched her center stage. King,who honored Aretha Franklin and thanked ex-husband Gerry Goffin in her speech, offered a sweet “You’ve Got a Friend,” joined by her longtime musical companions known as The Section – guitarist Danny Kortchmar, bassist Leland Skylar and drummer Russ Kunkel.
Inducted by Angela Bassett
Quotable moment: With trademark intensity and drama, Bassett, who portrayed Turner in the 1993 biopic, “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” proclaimed, “What brings us here tonight is Tina’s journey to independence.” Appearing via video, Turner looked lovely during her brief acceptance speech. “If they’re still giving me awards at 81, I must have done something right,” she said and then added with a giant smile, “Yeah, this is mine.” (Tuner was previously inducted with Ike Turner in 1991.)
Performance Highlight: Christina Aguilera, donning a Turner T-shirt, proved the perfect vocalist to emulate Turner’s power on “River Deep, Mountain High.”
Inducted by Drew Barrymore
Quotable moment: Perhaps the most effusive inductor ever, Barrymore shared how “Beauty and the Beat” was the first record she ever bought (“It blew the doors of my life off!”) and showed a photo of herself at 9 meeting Go-Go’s singer Belinda Carlisle.
Performance Highlight: Each member – Carlisle, drummer Gina Schock bassist Kathy Valentine and guitarists Jane Wiedlin and Charlotte Caffey – took a turn at the mic. And just try not to smile watching Carlisle glide around the stage during “Vacation,” “Our Lips are Sealed” and “We Got the Beat.”
All the way from A to Z:Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band members who have received this honor
Inducted by: Dave Chappelle
Quotable moment: “I would like everyone in rock ‘n’ roll to know, he’s ours. He’s hip-hop,” Chappelle said in a speech that combined his usual intellectualism with humor as he focused on Jay-Z’s importance to the Black community.
Performance Highlight: There was no live performance, but a video of luminaries from the worlds of music, sports and film reciting Jay-Z song lyrics captivated, including peers such as Common, Usher and Rihanna, pop voices Ed Sheeran and Chris Martin of Coldplay, wife Beyonce and, hilariously, a deadpan David Letterman.
Inducted byPaul McCartney
Quotable moment: The always chipper Beatle drew oddly accurate parallels to his life and that of Foo frontman Dave Grohl – ending with their desire to go solo and play all of the instruments on their first projects. “Do you think this guy is stalking me?” McCartney wondered.
Performance Highlight: It was a typical showing from The Foos – flying hair and sweat and unadulterated guitar rock. “The Best of You,” “My Hero” (its chorus sung by the crowd) and an airtight “Everlong” sizzled. The band returned after its speech for a show-closing jam with McCartney on “Get Back.”
Inducted byPatti Smith
Quotable moment: Appearing via video, Smith praised the “Peter Pan prodigy” as “our alchemist” before a video clips package spotlighted the creativity prevalent throughout Rundgren’s career. Rundgren’s response? Nothing. He didn’t attend.
Don’t miss: LL Cool J’s recognition as a Musical Excellence Award winner included a spirited introduction by Dr. Dre and a luminary-filled performance. LL was joined by Eminem for “Rock the Bells” and Jennifer Lopez, abs bared, for their 2002 hit ballad, “All I Have.”
The 36th annual gathering also celebrated the accomplishments of Kraftwerk, Charley Patton and Gil Scott-Heron under their Early Influence Award banner, as well as Billy Preston and Randy Rhoads as other recipients of the Musical Excellence Awards. Clarence Avant, a well-known music executive was selected for the Ahmet Egegun Award. This award is given to an individual in the non-performing music industry who has had a positive impact on the musical development.