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- Posted on Mar 12th 2007 7:40PM by Spinner
Tonight's the night when music legends (and music journalists) descend on New York's Waldorf-Astoria to tell one another just how awesome they truly are. Your neighborhood Spinner bloggers will bring you the blow-by-blow as it happens, and if you don't believe us, you can tune in to the live Rock Hall ceremony and see the action for yourself.
It's all happening right now, so stay tuned to this space for the latest from the Rock Hall.
7:55PM: The Rev. Al Sharpton is in the house, along with Michael J. Fox, John McEnroe, Patty Smyth, Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon and Annie Leibovitz backstage taking photos of the proceedings.
8:01PM: Spotted in the press room for photo ops -- Amy Poehler, Seth Myers, Maya Rudolph, Andy Samberg and Fred Armisen from the cast of 'Saturday Night Live,' and everyone's favorite pork-fat-loving TV chef, Emeril Lagasse.
8:11PM: Rev. Sharpton speaking backstage about the late James Brown: "[He] would've been happy to see the first hip-hop artist inducted." Sharpton will pay tribute to Brown, who was finally buried this weekend, at the ceremony.
8:16PM: Sharpton continues, "I listen to James Brown, the Motown sound, gospel. I liked country. I loved Van Halen. I go to Bon Jovi concerts. And that's when I'm not campaigning. I just like music that makes me move." When asked if he thought Michael Jackson would make a comeback, Sharpton joked, "I said I wasn't going to talk politics tonight."
8:27PM: Word backstage is that Sammy Hagar and Paul Shaffer will perform Van Halen songs at the ceremony, and Keith Richards may join Patti Smith for her performance.
8:37PM: A tribute to musicians who've passed away since the last ceremony, including James Brown, Syd Barrett, Desmond Dekker, June Pointer, Freddy Fender, Sandy West, Brad Delp and Ahmet Ertegun.
8:42PM: Tribute to late Atlantic Records co-founder Ahmet Ertegun, featuring Mick Jagger, Jimmy Page, Pete Townshend and more. Stephen Stills shares his memories of Ertegun.
8:52PM: Aretha Franklin takes the stage in a tribute to Ertegun and Clive Davis, whom she addresses from the stage.
9:07PM: The ultimate rock 'n' roll badass, Keith Richards, smokes a cigarette and does his best pirate "Yarr!" as he inducts the Ronettes into the Rock Hall. A giggly Ronnie Spector says, "All my life, all I ever wanted to do was play rock 'n' roll."
9:13PM: Stephen Stills says backstage, "I'm going to sing with the big gang at the end... that's all they'll trust me with." When asked about his plans for the spring, Stills said, "I'm starting a solo tour in April, and I have something coming out. I finished a session with someone else, rented the studio and said, 'Roll the tape!'"
9:17PM: The Furious Five are backstage. Melle Mel flexes his muscles as he responds to a question about his wrestling career, saying, "I've always been in good condition. I'm gonna put on some more weight, maybe about another half a dude. It's all about entertainment."
9:25PM: Sharing his thoughts on the current state of hip-hop, Mel says, "It's too young for me, too gangsta for me. I go into schools and I be reading to kids. You teach kids about guns, but you can't teach kids to read. Hip-hop needs to grow up."
9:28PM: When asked if they still get along after all these years, Scorpio of the Furious Five laughs and says, "To be honest, I don't like these dudes."
9:30PM: A reporter backstage tells Keith Richards, "You look great!" Our beloved Mr. Richards responds, "It's a miracle!"
9:32PM: Richards talks about Ahmet Ertegun's passing, saying, "He's a man who loved music, and that's very rare these days. A whole generational spirit is gone. I'm just sorry I asked him to rub my head after my fall, because days later he fell. It's not good luck to rub my head."
9:33PM: The Keith Richards gems just keep on coming. How could anyone not frickin' love this guy? On his role in the upcoming 'Pirates of the Caribbean,' Richards says, "I had a great time with Johnny [Depp]. We had a great four days of swashbuckling. You'll find out in May, I'm not allowed to give anything away."
9:34PM: Keith Richards says to the press room, "One more question before I croak." Now that's rock 'n' roll.
9:44PM: Grandmaster Flash is backstage. When asked about the significance of his induction into the Rock Hall, he says, "There was a time when journalists felt this culture called hip-hop was like a passing ship in the night, a flash of brilliance. It's significant because it's the final place for corporate respect." He pauses, thoughtfully, then continues, "They finally embraced this wonderful culture we call hip-hop."
9:55PM: An emotional Patti Smith is onstage to accept her induction. Her op-ed in today's New York Times offers fantastic insight into how she views her Rock Hall induction. Don't miss it. Smith's son Jackson will perform onstage with her at the Waldorf. Smith talks about her late husband, Fred "Sonic" Smith, saying he always told her she would be inducted into the Rock Hall one day.
10:03PM: Patti Smith performs 'Gimme Shelter' with Keith Richards on guitar, thanking the Stones for giving the world "one of the best anti-war songs."
10:13PM: Smith speaks from the stage about her mom (who answered her fan mail for 25 years) sharing a memory about how her mom asked her sing 'Rock 'n' Roll N*****' when she got into the Rock Hall. And that's exactly what Patti is doing right now, bless her.
10:21PM: Patti Smith is backstage with Zach de la Rocha and her Rock Hall statuette. Met with wild cheers as she enters the press room, she declares, "Cut the shit. I'm not a movie star." Explaining her song 'Rock 'n' Roll N******,' she says, "The significance of that song was to take a word that had been used in a derogatory fashion and redefine it, to make it a word of honor."
10:26PM: Smith on 10,000 Maniacs' version of 'Because the Night': "[Natalie Merchant] has a nice voice, but I like our version better." Amen to that, Patti.
10:30PM: The Rev. Al Sharpton speaks about the late, undeniably great, James Brown. A video retrospective reminds us that, even in death, James Brown is still the baddest mother in the business.
10:40PM: It's Van Halen time, y'all. Scott Weiland starts off the induction, and Slash picks up the thread, calling Van Halen "golden gods of women." Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony are the sole members who accept the award for Van Halen. Eddie Van Halen, of course, entered rehab last week, and Hagar and Anthony both offer warm wishes for his speedy recovery. Before the pair throws a tandem diamond in the air, Hagar says, "I'm humbled." He's a good dude, that Sammy Hagar.
10:51PM: Velvet Revolver fills in for Van Halen with 'Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love.' Scott Weiland does a pretty damn good Diamond Dave impression. And if there were any doubts Slash could carry an Eddie Van Halen riff, they can now be put to rest.
10:54PM: Aretha Franklin is in the press room! The press cheers. How could they not?
10:57PM: When asked about the origins of the "Sock it to me" line from 'Respect,' Franklin replies, "My sister and I just thought it was good and funky, but later it became a phrase for civil rights groups." She tells reporters she's currently reading Barack Obama book.
10:59PM: Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony take over for Velvet Revolver (with help from Paul Shaffer) for 'Why Can't This Be Love.'
11:01PM: Aretha on Jennifer Hudson, who is in the running to portray Franklin in a biographical play: "I think she's on a Cinderella ride. I know what she's on and I know she's having a good time."
11:07PM: Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony make their way backstage. Hagar is showing off a tattoo on his left arm. Did he get Rock Hall ink?!
11:10PM: Anthony tells reporters, "With this band, you never know what's going to happen. I'm a never-say-never kind of guy. I'm here and I'm ready to play. Sammy and I are here giving the fans what they want."
11:12PM: Hagar continues to be the most humble man ever inducted into the Rock Hall, saying, "If there's anything Van Halen should do for the fans, it's a reunion with Dave."
11:14PM: As the Van Halen dudes depart the press room, they exchange hugs and pose for photos with Velvet Revolver. Scott Weiland says, "You got Keith Richards. You got Eddie Van Halen. Guys like that are cockroaches. You can't kill them."
11:15PM: The Jigga Man himself, Jay-Z, hits the stage to induct Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. He appears to be reading his induction speech from a Blackberry. Multitasking, Rock Hall-style.
11:16PM: We're literally watching history being made. Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five are the first hip-hop artists to be inducted into the Rock Hall.
11:27PM: Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five are onstage. "We're about to take y'all back to 1979 so you can actually hear how the Bronx sounded." We're taking a break from liveblogging to shake our collective asses to the beat.
11:43PM: A classic Rock Hall performance from U2 and Bruce Springsteen. Where is Bono tonight? It's a tradition for him to get onstage and say the F-word a few times.
11:46PM: It's R.E.M.'s turn. Eddie Vedder steps up to the plate to induct them. He shares a story about how Michael Stipe and Peter Buck met at a record store, discussing Patti Smith records. Vedder cracks on Stipe's notoriously indecipherable vocals as R.E.M. laughs backstage. Vedder claimed his speech wouldn't be as long as his Ramones speech, but he lied!
12:01AM: He's still talking!
12:02AM: R.E.M. is onstage to accept their induction. Stipey looks snazzy in a white suit. Mike Mills speaks first, saying he feels "humbled" and "awed" by the night. Stipe thanks all of his fellow inductees, and then asks for his friends in the audience to stand as he sends out a string of thank-yous, including one to "our girlfriends and boyfriend." Stipe ends with a quote from his grandmother: "Do you know what R.E.M. means to me? It means 'remember every moment.'"
12:16AM: 'Gardening at Night' sounds fantastic. During 'Begin the Begin,' Peter Buck's amp broke. He kicked it, muttering, "Of course it doesn't fucking work." Scott McCaughey comes to the rescue from offstage, bringing him a new one before 'Gardening' begins.
12:20AM: Mike Mills gives a shout to R.E.M. manager Bertis Downs before they start 'Man on the Moon' with Eddie Vedder sharing vocal duties.
12:26AM: YES! Patti Smith joins R.E.M. for the Stooges' 'I Wanna Be Your Dog.'
12:28AM: R.E.M. is getting more punk rock by the minute. Peter Buck launches his busted amp off the front of the stage into the crowd.
12:29AM: As the commotion settles, Patti admonishes the audience to "drink lots of water."
12:30AM: Everyone is back onstage for the traditional jam session, tackling Patti Smith's 'People Have the Power.' You never in a million years thought you'd hear the Ronettes sing this song. Keith Richards mixes in a riff from 'It's Only Rock and Roll.'
12:38AM: The omnipresent Paul Shaffer bids adieu to the 2007 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
12:52AM: R.E.M. are backstage in the press room. Says Stipe, "We're working on our new record. We're going into the studio in May. I'm writing new songs as we speak." They confirm there will be a tour to support the new album, but they don't know when or where just yet. Mills wryly comments on the band's induction, saying, "We were absolutely certain that this would happen."
12:58AM: Michael Stipe tells reporters that he wants to see Television inducted into the Rock Hall next year, and that "[R.E.M.] wouldn't be here without Patti Smith."
That's a wrap on our Rock Hall liveblogging. Thanks for joining us, and tell us what you thought about this year's show in the comments!