Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Ceremony Crosses All Genres Of Music

Feature Photo: Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Cermony Crosses Many Genres Of Music

Feature Photos: Shutterstock

The 37th Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony took place on Saturday, November 5, 2022 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California. The event saw several rock legends honored with induction as part of the class of 2022, along with one hip-hop legend: Marshall Bruce Mathers III, more commonly known as Eminem. The guidelines as to what specifically constitutes “rock & roll” – particularly as it pertains to the hall itself – has been a significant issue of contention over the years, with criticism having been leveled at the institution for a number of reasons over the years.

The inclusion of artists considered to be outside the confines of what would generally be classified as the rock genre has drawn particular criticism over time, with iconic KISS singer and bassist Gene Simmons has been a frequent and vocal critic of the selection process, asserting that there should be a separate institution established for the honoring of hip-hop artists specifically. Indeed, in the nearly 40-year history of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, only 10 hip-hop artists have seen induction into the hall, each garnering their own degree of controversy.

The tenth rapper on this sparse list saw inclusion over the weekend, as Eminem joined the likes of Judas Priest, Pat Benatar, and Carly Simon for induction as part of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2022. Introduced by mentor and super-producer Dr. Dre, by whom his gifts were deemed “undeniable,” Eminem himself appeared to acknowledge the musical disconnect between the genre in which he has operated over the past 20+ years and that of what most would consider “rock & roll.” “I realize what an honor it is right now for me to be up here tonight,” the rapper opened his pre-written remarks. “I’m probably not supposed to be here tonight for a couple of reasons, one [being] that I’m a rapper.”

The discernable undercurrent of rock & roll in Eminen’s music – be it through the sampling of work from rock staples such as Black Sabbath (“Going Through Changes,”) Queen (‘Till I Collapse,” “Beautiful,”) and Joe Walsh (“So Far…,”) or collaborations with rock royalty such as “Sing for the Moment,” which samples the Aerosmith classic “Dream On” and even features a guitar solo contribution from Joe Perry himself – the work of Slim Shady has always exhibited a healthy appreciation of the rock genre which served to set it apart from much of the music released by his contemporaries.

Speaking of “Sing for the moment,” Eminen’s  performance of the song during Saturday’s ceremony saw the Academy Award winning rapper finally nab the Steven Tyler feature missing from the original version from 2002’s The Eminem Show. The legendary Aerosmith vocalist, adorned in an array of scarves, joined the Detroit native onstage for the tune, further broadening his involvement with the hip-hop genre following the band’s acclaimed 1986 collaboration with Run DMC on a remixed “Walk This Way.”

Along with the Tyler collaboration, the evening would also see Mathers bring other hits from various points throughout his career to the stage. This included Recovery lead single “Not Afraid,” originally released in 2010, as well as a rendition of 2000’s “Stan,” from The Marshall Mathers LP. The song, which originally featured sampled vocals from the Dido track “Thank You,” has been performed in various configurations throughout the years, including a highly publicized rendition at the 2001 Grammy Awards which featured Sir Elton John playing piano and singing the chorus sections.

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2022 induction rendition featured none other than Ed Sheeran stepping in to contribute guitar and vocals to the tune. This would not be the first instance of the rapper and singer/songwriter crossing paths collaboratively, as the two have joined forces for three collaborations thus far over the past half-decade. These include “River,” from 2017’s Revival, “Remember The Name,” also featuring 50 Cent, from Ed Sheeran’s collaborative 2019 record No.6 Collaborations Project and, most recently, “Those Kinda Nights,” from Eminem’s 2020 album Music to Be Murdered By.

While acknowledging the anomaly of his being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the “Lose Yourself” rapper also took time during his acceptance speech to regard the hip-hop artists who influenced him and made it possible for him to pursue his passion for music. Among those namechecked during the speech, along with all nine hip-hop artists previously inducted into the hall, were artists such as De La Soul, Ice-T, Rakim, Redman, and Wu Tang Clan – these names comprised only a fraction the extensive list, which itself contained a staggering 109 entries.

“Those were my rockstars,” the 15-time Grammy Award winner declared from the stage. “Those are just a few of the names I hope will be considered in the future for induction, because without them a lot of us wouldn’t be here.” Mathers wouldn’t be the only inductee on this night for which the hall would diverge from the standard rock formula to acknowledge, however. New wave titans Duran Duran saw induction – by a very noticeably bald Robert Downey Jr., no less – as well, along with 80s synth-pop act Eurythmics, and calypso icon Harry Belafonte.

But aside from Mathers himself, the name that perhaps drew the most attention during the ceremony was that of none other than legendary country music singer/songwriter, philanthropist, and national treasure, Dolly Parton. Initially declining her nomination upon its announcement by the hall, Parton would receive the necessary votes for induction, and would ultimately appear at the ceremony itself. The singer displayed her rock & roll chops with a performance of a new song “Rockin’,” penned specifically for the occasion.

Parton emerged for the number, uncharacteristically donning an electric guitar and leather get-up. “I figure if I’m going to be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, I have to earn it,” she proclaimed. “I’m a rock star now!” The country icon turned rocker would also be joined on stage by many of her fellow inductees – including a particularly enthusiastic Rob Halford – for a star-studded rendition of her classic number, “Jolene.” The 37 Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will air on HBO Saturday, November 19, 2022 at 8:00 PM ET. “Those were my rockstars”

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Cermony Crosses Many Genres Of Music

Feature Photo: Allen.G / Shutterstock.com

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Ceremony Crosses Many Genres Of Music article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022

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