“There’s an enormous amount of people we should thank, but I’m not going to, because I don’t remember them.” So said Roger Glover of Deep Purple as the English rock giants accepted their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the Brooklyn Centre in New York last night (Friday). Steve Miller and members of Cheap Trick, Chicago and N.W.A. were also on hand to receive their honour, as they were inducted alongside the late songwriter Bert Berns.
N.W.A. were introduced by modern-day rap star Kendrick Lamar, who hailed them as “black superheroes” before erstwhile member Ice Cube responded to the controversy about the induction of the rap figureheads. “Rock and roll is a spirit,” he said. “[It’s] not conforming to the people who came before you, but creating your own path in music and in life. That is rock and roll to us.”
Lars Ulrich of Metallica gave an impassioned testimonial to Purple, whose modern-day line-up was present, including co-founder Ian Paice and longtime members Ian Gillan and Roger Glover. Ulrich called the band “a beautiful contradiction, like you just walked in on five musicians at the top of their game jamming one classic after another with raw intensity.”
Chicago’s line-up for the night included co-founder Danny Seraphine, absent from the band for more than a quarter of a century, but not original singer Peter Cetera. They played a selection of early hits including ‘Saturday in the Park,’ ’25 or 6 to 4′ and ‘Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?’
Cheap Trick, who released their 17th studio album Bang Zoom Crazy… Hello?
on 1 April via Big Machine, closed the ceremony with a triple-header of ‘I Want You To Want Me,’ ‘Dream Police’ and ‘Surrender.’ Earlier, Robin Zander had commented: “Who knew that ‘I Want You To Want Me’ would become such a defining phrase for a rock band from Rockford, Illinois? Seems like such a stupid phrase, but it works.”
Steve Miller, who performed ‘Fly Like An Eagle,’ ‘Rock ‘N Me” and ‘The Joker,’ was presented by Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney of the Black Keys. In his acceptance speech, Miller said: “I need to thank my parents, Sonny and Bert, for bringing me into the world. I’d like to thank my godfather, Les Paul, for teaching me my first chord when I was five. And I need to thank T-Bone Walker for teaching me to play guitar behind my head while doing the splits when I was nine.”