It’s time again for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s annual induction dinner and concert, taking place Friday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
This year’s performer inductees are N.W.A, Cheap Trick, Chicago, Deep Purple and Steve Miller, while producer-songwriter-record executive Bert Berns is this year’s Ahmet Ertegun Award recipient for a nonperformer.
As much as being enshrined in the hall alongside several hundred other musicians who’ve made it since inductions began in 1986, the annual ceremony is also a chance for members of the pop music community to gather, salute a handful of their peers and serve up often one-of-a-kind performances.
For Compton rap group N.W.A, its election “means a lot of things,” rapper-turned-actor-director Ice Cube told Rolling Stone recently. “It means that the group’s mark is kind of solidified. It’s all legitimized in a way.”
It may have taken the runaway success of last year’s biopic “Straight Outta Compton” to persuade some of the hall’s 700-plus voting members to cast their ballots for N.W.A, which had been eligible for induction for several years under the rule that 25 years must have passed from the release of an act’s first recording. But Cube expressed no qualms about going in this year.
As to the ongoing debate among some fans who ask whether rap belongs in an institution called the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cube said, “Rap is a piece of rock ’n’ roll, but there’s also a piece of soul, a piece of R&B, a piece of blues — all of that music that comes before it.
“I think rap captures the spirit of rock ’n’ roll just like rappers and guys who do rock ’n’ roll capture the same spirit, but they might go in different directions with it,” he said. “But it’s the same spirit.”
Here’s a clip from the 1999 induction ceremony that ushered Bruce Springsteen into the hall, in which he and the E Street Band perform “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out.”
That performance is included on a series of vinyl releases highlighting induction performances by Tom Petty, Al Green, Jeff Beck, Metallica, Chuck Berry, Green Day and others. The release is arriving in conjunction with Friday’s ceremony and Record Store Day on April 16.
“Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Volume 1” will be released April 29, a day ahead of HBO’s premiere of a special consisting of highlights from Friday’s ceremony. Additional volumes will be released later this year.