As they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame alongside five all-male British bands, Stevie Nicks and Janet Jackson called for more women to join them in music immortality.
The bands inducted at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Friday night were the Cure, Def Leppard, Radiohead, Roxy Music and the Zombies. Neither Jackson or Nicks were around at the end of the evening when another Briton, Ian Hunter, led an all-star jam to All the Young Dudes. The Bangles’ Susanna Hoffs was the only woman onstage.
Jackson issued her challenge earlier.
“Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” she said, “in 2020, induct more women.”
Nicks was already a member of the hall with Fleetwood Mac but became the first woman to join 22 men, including all four Beatles, in being honoured twice. From the stage, she told of her trepidation in first recording a solo album.
“I know there is somebody out there who will be able to do it,” she said. “What I am doing is opening up the door for other women.”
In a four-song set, Don Henley joined Nicks to sing Leather and Lace while Harry Styles filled in for the late Tom Petty on Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.
Jackson followed her brothers Michael and the Jackson 5 as inductees. She said she wanted to go to college and become a lawyer but her late father Joe had other ideas.
“As the youngest in my family, I was determined to make it on my own,” she said. “I was determined to stand on my own two feet. But never in a million years did I expect to follow in their footsteps.”
She encouraged Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, producers of her breakthrough Control album and most of her vast catalogue, to stand for recognition, as well as Questlove, who inducted her. She also thanked Dick Clark of American Bandstand and Don Cornelius of Soul Train, and choreographers including Paula Abdul.
The event was filmed to air on HBO on 27 April. HBO angered the Jackson family this winter for showing the documentary Leaving Neverland, about two men who alleged Michael Jackson abused them when they were boys. Jackson did not mention Michael but thanked her brothers, and he was shown on-screen with the rest of the family.
Jackson was inducted by Janelle Monáe. She said Jackson had been her reminder to be focused and fearless.
David Byrne inducted Radiohead, noting he was flattered the band named itself after one of his songs. He said their album Kid A was the one that hooked him, and he was impressed Radiohead could be experimental in their music and their business.
“They’re creative and smart in both areas, which was kind of a rare combination for artists, not just now but any time,” he said.
With only drummer Philip Selway and guitarist Ed O’Brien present, Radiohead did not perform.
“This is such a beautifully surreal evening for us,” said O’Brien. “It’s a big fucking deal and it feels like it … I wish the others could be here because they would be feeling it.”
Cure singer Robert Smith has been a constant in a band of shifting personnel, and he stood onstage with 11 past and current members. The band performed I Will Always Love You, Just Like Heaven and Boys Don’t Cry. Smith called his induction a “very nice surprise” and shyly acknowledged the crowd’s cheers.
Roxy Music performed five songs, including Love is the Drug, More Than This and Avalon. Brian Eno did not show. Simon LeBon and John Taylor inducted the band.
“Without Roxy Music, there really would be no Duran Duran,” said Taylor.
The Zombies, from rock‘n’roll’s original British invasion in the 1960s, performed hits Time of the Season, Tell Her No and She’s Not There.
Def Leppard performed Photograph and Pour Some Sugar on Me in a set that brought the ceremony to an end. During the band’s induction, Rick Allen was moved to tears by a standing ovation when singer Joe Elliott recalled the drummer’s perseverance following a 1985 accident that cost him an arm.
The band also survived the death in 1991 of guitarist Steve Clark. Elliott said there always seemed to be a sense of tragedy around the corner, but “we wouldn’t let it in”.
“If alcoholism, car crashes and cancer couldn’t kill us, the 90s had no fucking chance,” said Elliott.