Dartmouth Soundoff: Hall of Fame

By Margarette Nelson, The Dartmouth Staff | 4/16/14 4:00am

Last Thursday night at the Brooklyn Barclay’s Center, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame held its 29th induction ceremony honoring Kiss, The E Street Band, Peter Gabriel, Hall and Oates, Cat Stevens, Linda Ronstadt, and Nirvana. In the words of The New Yorker’s Sarah Larson, the evening “united a crowd that doesn’t hang out together much.”

Here’s what you need to know.

1. Hall of Fame founder and Rolling Stone editor, Jann Wenner, was booed once again as he took the stage at the commencement of the ceremony. Last year it was fans of Rush, this year it was those of Kiss — both groups were upset about their artist being excluded from the Hall of Fame for so long, despite these bands’ legacies.

2. The ceremony coincided with the 20th anniversary of Nirvana lead singer Kurt Cobain’s death — which I featured a couple weeks ago—making the indictments all the more poignant. Consequently, Nirvana grabbed much of the media attention. Even Courtney Love had a soft moment that shocked the crowd when she hugged Dave Grohl on stage after years of public hate.

3. In Cobain’s absence, Nirvana invited Joan Jett, Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon, Lorde and St. Vincent to join the group on stage. Even though Lorde was born after Cobain’s death, the inclusion of St. Vincent surprised me most; maybe Annie Clark is art rock’s new “it girl.” If you can’t wait for May 31 when the ceremony will air on HBO, Paste has posted some audience-quality footage of the performances.

4. Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello — who inducted Kiss — probably took himself and Kiss too seriously this time around. Even Larson took a stab at him: “Inducted in its first year of eligibility, Nirvana hadn’t been subject to controversy about its artistic relevance; even by Tom Morello’s standards, there’s no doubt that Nirvana belongs in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”

5. Kiss didn’t perform. They didn’t even wear the makeup. “We’re being inducted for the things we were kept out for,” Kiss’s Paul Stanley said at the podium. “The People don’t want to be spoon-fed. The People buy tickets and albums. The people who nominate do not.”Since when did Kiss become so understated and eloquent at giving the finger?

6. Apparently, Coldplay frontman Chris Martin’s speech about Peter Gabriel was hilarious. “My mother always said to turn to the Bible, so I’d like to read to you from the Book of Genesis,” said Martin. He then proceeded to tell how the angel “Gabriel” bequeathed his role as Genesis’ lead singer to “Phil the Collins.”

“‘Ye shall be the singer of Genesis now,’” Martin faux-recited. “And the Phil that was called Collins was awestruck in the presence of the angel and replied, ‘How can this be, oh angel? I am but a humble drummer. I can’t dance. I can’t talk. The only thing about me is the way I walk.’” I haven’t seen the video. Maybe it’s funnier to watch.

7. Because of her deteriorating health, Rondstat was unable to travel to New York for the ceremony. Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt, Stevie Nicks, Sheryl Crow and Carrie Underwood instead performed a tribute set. I’m just trying to picture this happening in a room full of Kiss and Nirvana fans.

8. Despite all the attention on Nirvana and a passive aggressive Kiss segment, The E Street Band’s induction took the longest of the ceremony, which lasted over five hours. There were speeches by current members, former members and family. Not to mention Bruce Springsteen’s introduction and what the LA Times dubbed a “generous performance segment.”

Margarette Nelson, The Dartmouth Staff