For nearly a quarter century, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has honored music's most influential figures at prestigious black-tie events where performers and audience alike let down their hair. Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Live captures all the excitement of those ceremonies, from the wise and witty speeches, to the most incredible combinations of talent ever assembled on a single stage.
Bruce Springsteen and Mick Jagger perform at the 1988 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
Mick Jagger and Bruce Springsteen are singing together. Sharing a mic, they stand so close together they can probably feel each other s breath.
Ringo Starr is on drums, and Billy Joel is on piano; both had already sung a verse of the song, the early Beatles hit I Saw Her Standing There.
The army of guitarists includes George Harrison, Bob Dylan, John Fogerty, Jeff Beck, Les Paul and Dave Edmunds.
Various Beach Boys, Drifters, Supremes and E Street Band members help fill the crowded stage, adding backing vocals and layers of instrumentation. Legendary concert promoter Bill Graham serves as the stage manager, trying to keep order as best he can.
About 700 people mostly musicians and music-industry executives witnessed the scene, in person, when it happened in 1988 at the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York. But it, and many other remarkable jams, can been seen on a new DVD boxed set, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Live.
Eddie Vedder fills in admirably for the late Jim Morrison when the surviving Doors perform, in 1993. Springsteen and Robbie Robertson help Fogerty re-create the swampy tension of the Creedence Clearwater Revival sound, in the same year. Dave Grohl and his Foo Fighters partner Taylor Hawkins join members of Queen for a frantic Tie Your Mother Down in 2001.
Prince adds a scintillating guitar solo to a cover of Harrison s While My Guitar Gently Weeps (also featuring Tom Petty and Steve Winwood) in 2004, when Harrison was inducted posthumously as a solo artist.
And then there are the induction speeches. Bono on Springsteen ("If John Steinbeck could sing, if Van Morrison could ride a Harley-Davidson .?.?."). Springsteen on U2 ("The last band of whom I would be able to name all of its members"). Young on Hendrix, Petty on Buffalo Springfield, Kid Rock on Lynyrd Skynyrd, Eric Clapton on the Band, James Taylor on Crosby, Stills and Nash ... all reflect, with disarming sincerity, on how the music and the musicians inspired them.
There are some great moments in the acceptance speeches as well. Ray Charles jokes around with Quincy Jones.
"It seems to me that rock n roll should never be respectable," says Clapton, being inducted as a member of Cream in 1993 (he was already in the hall as a member of the Yardbirds, and would later be inducted as a solo artist as well). Yet he was persuaded to come and, as a result, got to perform with his Cream bandmates Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker for the first time in 25 years.
Jagger expresses similar misgivings upon being inducted with the Rolling Stones in 1989.
"It s slightly ironic," he says, "that tonight you see us on our best behavior. But we re being rewarded for 25 years of bad behavior." --Jay Lustig/The Star-Ledger