The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony isn’t usually the most important event in a given year, but it is at least a justification to get some famous people together, have them talk about famous musical acts, and then watch those famous musical acts perform and/or choose not to perform out of some completely justifiable belief that the whole thing is dumb and pointless. This year’s event was supposed to happen in May, but in March it was delayed to November because of the coronavirus pandemic—with the organizers presumably assuming that there’s no way things would be actively getting worse after nearly eight months. The induction ceremony was finally held yesterday, which also happened to be the day the U.S. presidential election was called, almost as if the universe was trying to send the Rock Hall a message about this year’s ceremony. Is the universe a big Nine Inch Nails fans and worried that getting into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame would be like selling out? Yeah, maybe.
Anyway, the pandemic is still going on, obviously, which meant there couldn’t be a big ceremony with speeches and performances, so instead the producers put together a series of pre-taped tributes to all of this year’s inductees—who, in case you forgot since they were announced in January, included Whitney Houston, the Doobie Brothers, T. Rex, Depeche Mode, the Notorious B.I.G., and the aforementioned Nine Inch Nails. Then, possibly because the Rock Hall producers did somehow guess that there would be something more monumentally important happening in the world last night, they uploaded a bunch of clips to YouTube for us to watch today when we need a break from making jokes about Four Seasons Total Landscaping.
Here’s Rolan Bolan, son of Marc Bolan, accepting T. Rex’s induction on his parents’ behalf and noting the fact that he never got to knew his father until he started listening to T. Rex and recognizing the impact that the band’s music had on the world:
Here’s Cissy and Pat Houston, accepting Whitney Houston’s induction, and you can read the speech that Alicia Keys made in her honor over at Pitchfork.
Iggy Pop, St. Vincent, Miley Cyrus, and more inducted Nine Inch Nails (you can read what they said at Pitchfork), and you can see Trent Reznor’s acceptance speech below.
Here’s Tyanna and C.J. Wallace accepting the induction of their father, the Notorious B.I.G., who was honored in speeches (which you can read about here) by JAY-Z, Nas, and Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Here are the Doobie Brothers accepting with a video that is a little less emotional than the others, if only because this is a pretty traditional and expected Rock Hall induction. Of course the Doobie Brothers are in there. They did “Black Water.”
Finally, here’s Depeche Mode cracking jokes and seemingly marveling at the fact that they’re all on a video call together. Their speech was preceded by tributes from noted superfan Charlize Theron, Christ Martin of Coldplay, Lauren Mayberry from Chvrches, Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top, and Win Butler from Arcade Fire.