I haven’t seen the highlights special from the 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that HBO will premiere on Saturday, but I’ll donate $20 to the hall if one of my favorite moments from the ceremony held in April in Cleveland didn’t end up on the cutting room floor.
That came courtesy of Ringo Starr, inducted individually this year as the final member of the Beatles’ inner circle to be enshrined in the hall separately, following the solo inductions of John Lennon (1994), Paul McCartney (1999), George Harrison (2004), as well as Beatles producer George Martin (1999) and manager Brian Epstein (2014).
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Rock Hall ceremony organizers saved the living Beatles for last — Paul McCartney inducted his chum — putting it after midnight when Starr finally got his moment in the spotlight following the extended segments welcoming the other 2015 inductees: Lou Reed, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, Green Day, Bill Withers and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band.
As Starr began to share memories of growing up in Liverpool, England, and following his passion for rock music, McCartney leaned in and pointed at his watch as if urging Starr to wrap things up.
The world’s most famous rock drummer was having none of it. “After what I’ve sat through tonight?” he said. “I’ve got some stories to tell!” And tell them he did.
It was a particularly emotional induction ceremony given the posthumous elections of Reed, Vaughan, Butterfield and the “5” Royales doo-wop group, none of whom lived to accept their awards.
Perhaps the most emotionally charged portion of the nearly six-hour ceremony was the eloquent and heartfelt back-to-back speeches delivered by Patti Smith and Laurie Anderson on behalf of Reed, who also was being inducted a second time, for his solo career, after already gaining Rock Hall status as a member of Velvet Underground.
Anderson, Reed’s partner for the last 20-some years of his life, said that despite his well-deserved reputation as an anti-establishment figure, “Lou would have loved this.”
The "2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony" special premieres Saturday at 8 p.m. on HBO. Here's a clip of Starr's performance of his first post-Beatles solo hit, "It Don't Come Easy" with all-star backing in Cleveland.
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