News Column

Make room at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame [New Haven Register (CT)]

May 12, 2013

YellowBrix

By Dan Rice

FYI Television Inc.

Once again, it's time for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland to add to its exhibits, with the new class of inductees to elicit cheers from legions of fans while sparking hot debates over which of the nominees were voted in and those who were denied entrance. First airing Saturday at 9 p.m. on HBO, the "2013 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony" may prompt discussions of why Rush was chosen over fellow nominees Deep Purple or Procol Harum, or what the late "Queen of Disco" Donna Summer or hip-hop group Public Enemy have to do with rock 'n' roll anyway, or why the latter was more worthy than peers N.W.A., who were also nominated.

According to the rules of eligibility, an individual artist or band must have released its first single or album at least 25 years prior to the year of nomination, or no later than 1987 for the class of 2013. Those artists must be nominated by a committee and then voted on by 600 "rock experts," with this year being the first that the public could comprise a "fans' ballot" to be tallied along with the rest. After all were counted, Rush, Summer and Public Enemy were selected along with fellow performers Heart, Randy Newman and Albert King, while the non-performer Ahmet Ertegun Award for Lifetime Achievement was given to both composer-producer Quincy Jones and record producer and filmmaker Lou Adler. The wide diversity of the inductees may upset some music purists, but for those behind the Hall of Fame, they all rock.

"The definition of 'rock 'n' roll' means different things to different people, but as broad as the classifications may be, they all share a common love of the music," insists Joel Peresman, president and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation. "This year we again proudly put forth a fantastic array of groups and artists that span the entire genre that is rock 'n' roll."

More than just an induction ceremony, the annual event, held this year at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE, is highlighted by performance tributes and dream onstage collaborations. Known for such hits as "Crazy for You," "Barracuda" and "Magic Man," Heart, led by sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson, will perform alongside Pearl Jam's Mike McCready and Jerry Cantrell of Alice in Chains. Jackson Browne, John Fogerty and Tom Petty share the stage with Newman, the composer of "Short People," "I Love L.A." and countless Disney songs. Christina Aguilera and Jennifer Hudson perform for the late Summer, whose memorable disco hits include "Hot Stuff," "Bad Girls" and "Love to Love You Baby." And John Mayer and Gary Clark Jr. perform for the late crossover blues guitarist King, while Usher sings in honor of Jones, who earned a record 79 Grammy nominations helming such epic productions as Michael Jackson's "Thriller" and the charity anthem "We Are the World." Fittingly, Carole King performs for her former producer Adler, who is presented with his award by comedy duo Cheech & Chong, their first film, "Up in Smoke," being another one of his productions. Among the other guest appearances are Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins of the Foo Fighters inducting Rush, and Spike Lee and Harry Belafonte paying tribute to Chuck D, Flavor Flav, Professor Griff and Terminator X of Public Enemy, only the fourth hip-hop act to be inducted to the Hall of Fame.

And what does all this mean to the inductees? "We've been saying for a long time that this wasn't a big deal," relates Neil Peart, the drummer of Rush, which has been repeatedly left off the list of nominees since they first became eligible in 1998. "It turns out, it kind of is."

As for the issue of other musical genres being represented in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Chuck D sums it up best: "Let us all not forget, we all come from the damn blues."

In Focus: Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler and Tony Iommi of the rock group Black Sabbath make a rare televisionappearance when they debut a new song, "End of the Beginning," from their upcoming album "13" on the season finale of "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," airing Wednesday at 10 p.m. on CBS.

The seminal Heavy Metal rockers share a scene with D.B. Russell (Ted Danson) when he and Conrad Ecklie (Marc Vann) attend a Black Sabbath show. The original lineup of the group (minus drummer Bill Ward) haven't recorded a studio album together since 1978's "Never Say Die!" and have returned to their original label Vertigo for the highly anticipated "13." "When we first heard that Black Sabbath was interested in premiering a song on 'CSI' from their first studio album in 35 years, we were all really excited - so many of us are longtime fans," says executive producer Don McGill."And seeing as the album is titled '13' and this is the finale of 'CSI's' Season 13, it seemed like the perfect match. We couldn't be more thrilled."

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