Dolly Parton, '80s Bands Reign Over Rock Ceremony

Hesitant inductee embraces her inner rocker
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 6, 2022 10:20 AM CST
'80s Hits, Dolly Parton Rule Rock Hall of Fame Ceremony
Inductees Neil Giraldo, left, and Pat Benatar perform.   (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Lionel Richie soared. Pat Benatar roared. Duran Duran stumbled but stayed sophisticated. Eminem was Eminem. The four acts found very different ways to celebrate on Saturday night, during a celebration filled with 1980s hits, but all can now forever say they're Rock & Roll Hall of Famers. So are Carly Simon, Eurythmics, Harry Belafonte, Judas Priest, and Dolly Parton, who was enthusiastic after first saying she didn't belong in the club. "I'm a rock star now!" Parton shouted as she accepted the honor, the AP reports. The Class of 2022, inducted at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles during a mostly slick and often triumphant show, includes:

  • Duran Duran: The night's first act began with the 1981 breakthrough hit "Girls on Film." The shrieking crowd was there for it, but the music wasn't. The band was all but inaudible other than singer Simon Le Bon, whose vocals were essentially acapella. "The wonderful spontaneous world of rock 'n' roll!” the 64-year-old Le Bon shouted as the band stopped for a do-over. The full-volume set included “Hungry Like the Wolf” and “Ordinary World," snapping back into what Robert Downey Jr. called in his induction speech Duran Duran's "cool, sophisticated fun." Guitarist Andy Taylor, who is fighting cancer, was unable to attend.
  • Lionel Richie: "His songs are the soundtrack of my life, your life, everyone's life," Lenny Kravitz said in inducting Richie. The singer opened with a spare rendition of "Hello" that seemed to make him nearly break down. Next was his 1977 hit with the Commodores, "Easy." The vibe went from smooth to triumphant when Dave Grohl made a surprise appearance to play a guitar solo and swap vocals with Richie. That led into a singalong, celebratory rendition of 1983's "All Night Long" that brought the night's biggest reaction. In his speech, Richie lashed out at those during his career who accused him of straying from his Black roots. "Rock & Roll is not a color," he said. "It is a feeling. It is a vibe."
  • Eurythmics: "Well I was born an original sinner, I was born from original sin," Annie Lennox sang in a soulful, danceable rendition of 1986's "Missionary Man," bringing the audience clapping and to its feet. That was followed by a rousing "Sweet Dreams." Her musical partner, Dave Stewart, called Lennox "one of the greatest performers, singers and songwriters of all time" moments later. "Thank you, Dave, for this great adventure," a tearful Lennox said.
  • Eminem: The rapper again was the outlier. He was the only hip-hop artist among the inductees, the only one whose heyday came after the 1980s, and he brought an edge to the evening that was mostly missing. Eminem also took the guest star game to another level. After opening with 1999's "My Name Is," he brought on Steven Tyler to sing the chorus of "Dream On" for 2003's "Sing for the Moment," which samples the Aerosmith classic. Then Ed Sheeran came out to sing his part on the 2017 Eminem jam "River" as rain fell on the stage. "I'm probably not supposed to actually be here tonight," Eminem said. He's only the 10th hip-hop artist among well over 300 members. Eminiem was inducted by his producer and mentor Dr. Dre.
  • Pat Benatar: "Pat always reached into the deepest part of herself and came roaring out of the speakers," Sheryl Crowe said in inducting Benatar. Inducted with her longtime musical partner and husband, Neil Giraldo, Benatar took the stage with him and displayed that power. "We are young!" the 69-year-old sang, her long, gray hair flowing as she soared through 1983's "Love is a Battlefield."

  • Carly Simon: A first-time nominee this year more than 25 years after becoming eligible, Simon, whose two sisters died last month, was absent. Olivia Rodrigo, by far the youngest performer of the night, sang Simon's signature "You're So Vain."
  • Jimmy Iovine: An engineer, producer, executive, and entrepreneur, Iovine was inducted by Bruce Springsteen. "Jimmy knows great songs and he knows who can sing them," Springsteen said. "He has one of the greatest guts for talent is one of the greatest sponges for learning I’ve ever met." A key to his success is that he never stopped being a fan of the music, Springsteen said, per Yahoo Entertainment.
  • Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis: Janet Jackson appeared in a black suit with a massive pile of hair atop her head, remaking the cover of her breakthrough album Control, as she inducted the writer-producers who made that and many other records with her.
  • Allen Grubman: The music industry lawyer was inducted by John Mellencamp, who urged the audience to speak out against bigotry, per "Allen is Jewish," Mellencamp said. "And I bring that up for one reason. My life has been enriched by my relationship with countless Jewish people."
  • Dolly Parton: The mostly country star confronted the awkwardness around her selection, coming onstage in black leather with an electric guitar and breaking into a song she wrote for the occasion. "I've been rockin' rockin' rockin' rockin' since the day I was born," she sang, "and I'll be rockin' to the day I'm gone." She closed the night leading a jam of fellow inductees on her country classic "Jolene." Le Bon, Benatar, and Judas Priest singer Rob Halford took a verse. "We got a star-studded stage up here," Parton said. "I feel like a hillbilly in the city."
(More Rock and Roll Hall of Fame stories.)

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