1. Smokey Robinson could've spent as much time writing the Imperials' induction speech as he spent writing his introductions for this year's American Idol contestants.
2. First of all, we fucks with Wanda Jackson, the original 50-foot woman . . .
. . . and we also fucks with Rosanne Cash, who might be the most graceful rock and roll storyteller still writing -- speaking strictly about her writing about music and musicians. Here was Rosanne on Wanda:
"Even her name sounds like a declaration and a promise." And here's Rosanne, exercising her songwriter's gift of paraphrasing (and if you didn't think she was paraphrasing before Wanda spoke, you figured it out somewhere during Wanda's acceptance speech), on what Wanda wanted people to know about her: "Number one: I can rock. Number two, I was a lady, and reputations are important. And number three, god and rock and roll are not exclusive."
That said, it would've been better if Rosanne Cash had introduced Metallica, who shoulda been so lucky. (Fuse interviewer: "Flea, how long have you had this Metallica t-shirt?" Flea: "Long time. A very long, long time . . . I think about one day.") If Rosanne Cash had introduced Metallica, she might have told the story about how her dad, Johnny Cash, had gone to see them in the 1980s -- in fact, he saw them with Clif Burton. Rosanne's half-brother John Carter, still a few years off from following the old man into the country-singer business, was a metalhead, and Johnny was taking him to metal shows. John Carter "got to playin' things like Iron Maiden, Metallica, Motorhead, Twisted Sister -- all of 'em," Johnny Cash told an interviewer in 1997. At first, he added, "I couldn't relate to a lot of it too much, but I could feel the excitement he was feeling in the music . . . So to try to understand what my boy was into, I decided to go and see Metallica and Iron Maiden, and later Ozzy Osbourne, who I knew already . . . And Metallica, you know, before that guy [Burton] got killed, they were fabulous! Just knocked me out."
3. Eminem should've introduced Spooner Oldham, since he might've been the only white guy in the building who's had as big an impact on black music. Instead Spooner got . . . Paul Schaffer and the world's least dangerous rock n roll hall of fame induction ceremony band. Best part about Spooner's speech: HE WAS WEARING AN ACTUAL SPOON ON HIS LAPEL. Match that and stay fashionable, Britt Daniels.
4. Most ingenuous statement of the night to Ron Wood: "I'm not gonna go rambling on up here," at the end of a 7-minute rambling. Bobby Womack at the podium wins award for reminding people that there are experiences more rewarding than getting handed rock awards . . . like for instance having been in Sam Cooke's band and living to see "A Change Is Gonna Come" come true. Only thing that coulda been better? Bringing Mike Patton's Peeping Tom to back Womack for "Across 110th Street":
5. Rock N Roll Hall of Fame could've been renamed the "Rock N Roll Museum" and dressed to look like the "King of Rock" video -- which, as Eminem pointed out, predated the actual Hall of Fame by one year . . . and, if you check the walls, evidently inducted the Sex Pistols more than 20 years before the real one did. Pour one out for Larry Bud Mellman.
I'm Eminem's age, and although I somehow didn't go on to become a megaplatinum, game-changing white rapper, I had pretty much the same experience he described in inducting them: hearing Raising Hell in fifth grade (very first album I ever purchased) was life-changing. Now that my entire middle school's on Facebook, it's only a matter of time before someone starts tagging photos of me wearing shell-toes, Kangols, and knockoff Cazals. Eminem: "If you grew up on rap, they are the Beatles." This is true.
3.5. This has nothing to do with making the ceremony better, but OMG, when did Joe Perry turn into Cruella de Vil?
4.5. Ray Burton, Clif's dad. Clif's influence, his knowledge of music theory, turned James onto writing guitar harmonies. "Melancholy"
4.7: They showed just a flash of it, but man, they don't make promo billboards like they did in Bobby Womack's day: