All were honoured during a five-hour ceremony in Brooklyn’s Barclays Centre on Friday. Radiohead, Def Leppard, Roxy Music and The Zombies are also among the seven singers and bands getting recognised this year for having contributed “over 25 years of musical excellence”.
Nicks, who was previously inducted into the hall of fame along with the rest of Fleetwood Mac, became the first woman to receive the distinction twice. She and Jackson called for other women to join them in music immortality, as they were honoured at the same time as five all-male British bands.
Jackson issued her challenge just before leaving the stage, instructing: “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in 2020, induct more women.”
The singer, who followed her brothers Michael and the Jackson 5 as inductees, recounted how she originally wanted to go to college and become a lawyer, but said her late father Joe had other ideas for her.
“As the youngest in my family, I was determined to make it on my own,” she said. “I was determined to stand on my own two feet. But never in a million years did I expect to follow in their footsteps.”
She encouraged Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, producers of her breakthrough Control album and most of her vast catalogue, to stand for recognition, as well as Questlove. She thanked Dick Clark of American Bandstand and Don Cornelius of Soul Train, along with her choreographers including Paula Abdul.
Friday’s event was being filmed to air on 27 April on HBO, the same network that has shown the documentary Leaving Neverland, in which two men allege that Michael Jackson abused them when they were boys. The Jackson estate has condemned the documentary and denied the accusations. Janet Jackson never mentioned her brother Michael specifically in her remarks but thanked her siblings, and he was shown on screen with the rest of the family.
Janet Jackson was inducted by an enthusiastic Janelle Monae, whose black hat and black leather recalled some of her hero’s past stage looks. She said Jackson had been her phone’s screen saver for years as a reminder to be focused and fearless in how she approached art.
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Nicks was the night’s first induction. She is already part of the hall as a member of Fleetwood Mac, but only the first woman to join 22 men — including all four Beatles members — to have been honoured twice by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for the different stages of their career.
Nicks offered women a blueprint for success, telling them her trepidation in first recording a solo album while a member of Fleetwood Mac and encouraging others to match her feat.
“I know there is somebody out there who will be able to do it,” she said, promising to talk often of how she built her solo career. “What I am doing is opening up the door for other women.”
During her four-song set, she brought onstage a cape she bought in 1983 to prove to her “very frugal” late mother that it was still in good shape, and worth its $3,000 price tag. Don Henley joined her to sing “Leather and Lace”, while Harry Styles filled in for the late Tom Petty on “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around”.
Throughout the five-hour ceremony, Bryan Ferry of Roxy Music thanked multiple bass players and album cover designers, the Cure’s Robert Smith proudly wore his mascara and red lipstick a month shy of his 60th birthday and two of Radiohead’s five members showed up for trophies.
Amid Def Leppard’s induction, Rick Allen was moved to tears by the audience’s standing ovation when singer Joe Elliott recalled the drummer’s perseverance following a 1985 accident that cost him an arm.
David Byrne inducted Radiohead, noting he was flattered the band named itself after one of his songs. He said their album Kid A was the one that really hooked him, and he was impressed Radiohead could be experimental in both their music and how they conduct business.
“They’re creative and smart in both areas, which was kind of a rare combination for artists, not just now but anytime,” he said.
With only drummer Philip Selway and guitarist Ed O’Brien on hand, Radiohead didn’t perform; there was a question of whether any of them would show up given the group’s past ambivalence about the hall. But both men spoke highly of the honour.
“This is such a beautifully surreal evening for us,” said O’Brien. “It’s a big [expletive] deal and it feels like it. ... I wish the others could be here because they would be feeling it.”
The Cure’s Smith has been a constant in a band of shifting personnel, and he stood onstage for induction Friday with 11 past and current members. Despite their goth look, The Cure have a legacy of pop hits and performed three of them – “I Will Always Love You,” “Just Like Heaven” and “Boys Don’t Cry” – at Barclays.
Visibly nervous, Smith called his induction a “very nice surprise” and shyly acknowledged the crowd’s cheers.
“It’s been a fantastic thing, it really has,” he said. “We love you, too.”
His inductor, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, recalled ridiculing the rock hall in past years because he couldn’t believe The Cure wasn’t in. When he got the call that the band was in, he said “I was never so happy eating my words as I was that day.”
Roxy Music, led by the stylish Ferry, performed a five-song set that included hits “Love is the Drug,” “More Than This” and “Avalon.” (Brian Eno didn’t show for the event).
Simon LeBon and John Taylor of Duran Duran inducted them, with Taylor saying that hearing Roxy Music in concert at age 14 showed him what he wanted to do with his life.
“Without Roxy Music, there really would be no Duran Duran,” he said.
The soft-spoken Ferry thanked everyone from a succession of bass players to album cover designers. “We’d like to thank everyone for this unexpected honour,” he said.
The Zombies, from rock ‘n’ roll’s original British invasion, were the veterans of the night. They made it despite being passed over in the past, but were gracious in their thanks of the rock hall. They performed hits “Time of the Season,” “Tell Her No” and “She’s Not There.”
Zombies lead singer Rod Argent noted that the group had been eligible for the hall for 30 years but the honour had eluded them, telling the crowd: “To have finally passed the winning post this time — fantastic!”
Additional reporting by agencies
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