From my days as a very young lass and having a Cat Stevens poster on my bedroom wall that had been placed there by my mother – music has been in my blood. I grew up listening to it, playing it, reading about it and now – I’m writing about it. I still don’t know why my mother felt compelled to put a poster of the bearded (and shirtless) Cat Stevens on my wall, I suspect she put it there so she could look upon it fondly while she was putting me to bed (she had a crush on him, can’t blame her – he was pretty hot back in the day)! Whatever the reason, there it hung – until I got old enough to protest – and tell her I’d really rather have a nice poster of kittens on my wall instead. Later in 2014, Cat Stevens would be inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame.
To this day, I still haven’t ever hung any posters of human beings of my walls. With the exception being a Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King poster which is on my basement wall. It’s hanging in a “rumpus room,” so…that’s OK! Overblown photos of humans hanging in a bedroom kind of creep me out for some reason. They’re so garish, I mean who is really THAT important? And they do kind of stare at you, don’t they?
Well, in the eyes of voters who pick the inductees for the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame, some entertainers ARE pretty important! And back to the topic of posters, I have an old Depeche Mode poster folded neatly sitting in my piano bench that I’ve had for more than a couple of decades (the lack of pin holes on it tells me that it’s never been on my walls):
I had a chance to visit the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. in 2002 for my fifth wedding anniversary. I really enjoyed seeing the memorabilia, reading the placards, seeing Jimi Hendrix’s old report cards (or was it Jim Morrison – I don’t remember), and Freddie Mercury’s well-worn tiny leather pants (if those pants could talk). Seeing some of John Lennon’s old artwork was cool too – but what moved me the most was seeing the handwritten lyrics exhibit. As someone who has worked as a professional writer, it was especially meaningful to me to see where the songs “began.” In the case of Talking Heads, the creative process began on graph paper. Rather fitting for former design students at Rhode Island School of Design, right? I’ll never forget seeing handwritten lyrics for their 1985 single “And She Was” on graph paper. That same year (2002), Talking Heads would be inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame.
Depeche Mode was inducted “virtually” by actress and fangirl Charlize Theron. She described their music as being the “soundtrack for my adolescence” in her very moving induction speech – which made me want to seek her out, become her new best friend and talk to her all day long about how Depeche Mode has been the soundtrack to MY adolescence and my life, too! I’d show her my collection of B-sides and remixes, show her my Depeche Mode poster, show her my tank top I bought when I saw them on their 1994 “Devotional” tour – maybe try playing “Strangelove” on the piano, ask her which was her favorite instrumental track of theirs…But, I digress and don’t wish to be brought up on charges of stalking!
Another unexpected Depeche Mode fan who sang their praises during the induction ceremony was none other than Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top. Their brand of mostly bearded heavy guitar-driven rock music about hot girls amid a hot classic car backdrop couldn’t be farther away polarly than the mostly synth-driven music of Depeche Mode, yet there Billy Gibbons was – explaining what their music meant to him:
Martin Gore is a gifted writer, a gifted composer, he said let’s not make always a happy song, let’s talk realistically about the human condition… They’ve done a wonderful job seeing things that we may not have seen before and listening to things that we had yet to hear.Billy Gibbons, ZZ Top
ZZ Top was inducted in 2004.
Another odd – yet not quite unexpected – moment during the “virtual” induction ceremony was seeing a shirtless Iggy Pop inducting nine inch nails into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame. There he was – a former neighbor of my dad’s (yes, really – this is a true story) – standing outside in his yard – explaining how nine inch nails was far more than an industrial band:
Listening to Nine Inch Nails’ music — which is so often called “industrial” — I actually hear a lot of funk. Just listen to ‘Closer,’ and the foundation could be Stevie Wonder or George Clinton, but on top of that is a focused and relentless process of emotional destruction which paints a portrait of pain, pressure, and dissatisfaction.Iggy Pop, 2020 Rock ‘ Roll Hall of fame induction of nine inch nails
Iggy Pop was inducted along with his band the Stooges in 2010.
Well, now that I’ve talked about the two bands I cared most about watching being inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame (Depeche Mode and nine inch nails) – how about we look at a list all of the other performers who have been inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame?:
Chuck Berry, James Brown, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Fats Domino, The Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Elvis Presley
The Coasters, Eddie Cochran, Bo Diddley, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Bill Haley, B.B. King, Clyde McPhatter, Ricky Nelson, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, Smokey Robinson, Big Joe Turner, Muddy Waters, Jackie Wilson.
The Beach Boys, The Beatles, The Drifters, Bob Dylan, The Supremes
Dion, Otis Redding, The Rolling Stones, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder
Hank Ballard, Bobby Darin, The Four Seasons, The Four Tops, The Kinks, The Platters, Simon and Garfunkel, The Who
LaVern Baker, The Byrds, John Lee Hooker, The Impressions, Wilson Pickett, Jimmy Reed, Ike and Tina Turner
Bobby “Blue” Band, Booker T. and the M.G.s, Johnny Cash, The Isley Brothers, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Sam and Dave, The Yardbirds
Ruth Brown, Cream, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Doors, Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, Etta James, Van Morrison, Sly and the Family Stone
The Animals, The Band, Duane Eddy, The Grateful Dead, Elton John, John Lennon, Bob Marley, Rod Stewart
The Allman Brothers Band, Al Green, Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin, Martha and the Vandellas, Neil Young, Frank Zappa
David Bowie, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Jefferson Airplane, Little Willie John, Pink Floyd, The Shirelles, The Velvet Underground
Bee Gees, Buffalo Springfield, Crosby Stills and Nash, The Jackson Five, Joni Mitchell, Parliament Funkadelic, The (Young) Rascals
Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, The Mamas and the Papas, Lloyd Price, Santana, Gene Vincent
Billy Joel, Curtis Mayfield, Paul McCartney, Del Shannon, Dusty Springfield, Bruce Springsteen, The Staple Singers
Eric Clapton, Earth Wind and Fire, The Lovin’ Spoonful, The Moonglows, Bonnie Raitt, James Taylor
Aerosmith, Solomon Burke, The Flamingos, Michael Jackson, Queen, Paul Simon, Steely Dan, Ritchie Valens
Isaac Hayes, Brenda Lee, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Gene Pitney, Ramones, Talking Heads
AC/DC, The Clash, Elvis Costello and the Attractions, The Police, The Righteous Brothers
Jackson Browne, The Dells, George Harrison, Prince, Bob Seger, Traffic, ZZ Top
Buddy Guy, The O’Jays, The Pretenders, Percy Sledge, U2
Black Sabbath, Blondie, Miles Davis, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Sex Pistols
Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, REM, The Ronettes, Patti Smith, Van Halen
The Dave Clark Five, Leonard Cohen, Madonna, Jon Mellencamp, The Ventures
Jeff Beck, Little Anthony and the Imperials, Metallica, Run DMC, Bobby Womack
Abba, Genesis, Jimmy Cliff, The Hollies, The Stooges
Alice Cooper, Neil Diamond, Dr. John, Darlene Love, Tom Waits
Beastie Boys, The Blue Caps, The Comets, The Crickets, Donovan, The Famous Flames, Guns ‘n Roses, The Midnighters, The Miracles, Laura Nyro, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Small Faces/Faces
Heart, Albert King, Randy Newman, Public Enemy, Rush, Donna Summer
Peter Gabriel, Hall and Oates, Kiss, Nirvana, Linda Ronstadt, Cat Stevens
The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Lou Reed, Green Day, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Double Trouble, Bill Withers
Cheap Trick, Chicago, Deep Purple, NWA, Steve Miller
ELO, Joan Baez, Journey, Pearl Jam, Tupac Shakur, Yes
Bon Jovi, The Cars, Dire Straits, The Moody Blues, Nina Simone
The Cure, Def Leppard, Janet Jackson, Stevie Nicks, Radiohead, Roxy Music, The Zombies
Depeche Mode, The Doobie Brothers, Whitney Houston, nine inch nails, The Notorious B.I.G, T Rex