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New York Times Covers Rock and Roll Hall of Fame < Fleetwood Mac < Main Page

New York Times Covers Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

By Jon Pareles

California dreams and New Orleans rhythm held the stage at the 13th annual induction ceremonies for the Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame, which took place on Monday night at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The event, with performances by the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Santana and others, was video-taped for broadcast next Monday night on the cable channel VH1.

Of the eight new additions to the Hall of Fame, four were bands that defined the sound of California in the 1960's and 1970's: The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Santana and the Mamas and the Papas.

"It represents a time of great success and a time of great excess," said Jann S. Wenner, the published of Rolling Stone magazine and the vice chairman of the Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame Foundation.

There was also a New Orleans contingent, including the pioneering rocker Lloyd Price, the songwriter and producer Allen Toussaint and, as an early influence, the jazz composer Jelly Roll Morton. The other new member is Gene Vincent, the rockabilly singer from Virginia who died in 1971.

The Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is in Cleveland; Mr. Wenner said it has drawn 1.8 million visitors since it opened in September 1995.

He also announced that the museum is rebuilding its hall of fame section, changing it from a hushed display to a multimedia extravaganza with huge video screens and jukeboxes with the complete works of hall of fame members.

But the music business, which supports the induction ceremonies, is concentrated in New York City and Los Angeles. All but two of the annual induction ceremonies have been held in New York. This year, 100 tickets were offered to the general public, although at music-business prices: $1,250 and $2,000 per person for cocktails, dinner and the ceremony.

Rockers become eligible for the Hall of Fame 25 years after their first recording is released and this year's new members span rock from the 1950's to the 1970's. In its early years, the hall inducted 1950's rockers, many of whom had been relegated to the oldies circuit or returned to obscurity.

But in more recent years, it has honored performers from the 1960's and 1970's who are still major commercial presences, like the Eagles and Fleetwood Mac.

"There's always the mix if all the different paths people have found, from people who have been immensely successful to people who were largely forgotten," said John Landau, who managed Bruce Springsteen and Shania Twain and is a vice president on the hall's board of directors. "Even though we're able to recognize people as soon as they're eligible, we also went back and were able to get Lloyd Price and Gene Vincent. Hopefully, we can continue to include others from the early period.

Mr. Werner called California bands like the Eagles and Fleetwood Mac, which have gone through multiple rearrangements and breakups, "the greatest harmony groups and the greatest disharmony groups."

There was some of each on display at the ceremony. The Eagles made a show of solidarity, performing with two members, Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner, who had left the group in the 1970's. After the Eagles disbanded in 1980, members had said they would get back together again "when hell freezes over," but the group reunited in 1994. Glenn Frey, one of the Eagles' main songwriters and singers, dismissed the notion of acrimony in the group. "We got along fine; we just disagreed a lot," he said. "Tell me one worthwhile relationship that has not had peaks and valleys."

Fleetwood Mac's 30-year history has been considerably more tangled; its only constants have been the rhythm section of Mick Fleetwood on drums and John McVie on bass. It started as a blues band in England but made its best-selling albums in the mid-1970's in Los Angeles, with two songwriters and singers who came from Northern California to join the band, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks.

Accepting his trophy, Mick Fleetwood said the band's story was one of "lunacy, heartache, happiness, unhappiness and, thank God, a sense of healing."

Last year the band's best-selling lineup reunited for a tour and album that returned it to the Top 10. "In many ways this last year was the best time I ever had in Fleetwood Mac," said Mr. Buckingham, who left the group in 1987. "Everybody's lost their baggage." In an interview, he added that the group's acoustic performance at the Hall of Fame ceremony would be one of its last as it makes the awards-show circuit. The reunited group will not return to touring.

Some of the band's former guitarists, including Danny Kirwan and Jeremy Spencer, were named to the Hall of Fame, but did not attend the ceremony. And Peter Green, the guitarist who founded Fleetwood Mac, accepted his trophy with the group but not perform with it.

A song by Mr. Green, "Black Magic Woman," was one of Santana's early hits. Taking advantage of the connection, Mr. Green played guitar with a reunion of most of the late-1960's Santana band. He and the guitarist, Carlos Santana traded solos and grins as the song turned into a spiraling mambo.

Michael Shrive, Santana's drummer in the late 1960's, reminisced about joining the group when he was 17 years old and he accepted his trophy. "This was like a street gang, and their weapon was music," he said.

The three surviving members of the Mamas and the Papas reunited to sing "California Dreamin'.'" Paying tribute to Mama Cass Elliot, who died in 1974, Michelle Phillips said, "I have personal knowledge that Cass is sitting on top of that beautiful full moon tonight, looking down on these proceedings and wearing a size 6 Thierry Mugler dress."

For Lloyd Price, the New Orleans rocker who was a teen-ager when he recorded "Lawdy, Miss Clawdy," joining the Hall of Fame is overdue recognition of the music he started recording in the early 1950's.

"I feel like it's a little late, but I'm in great company," Mr. Price said in an interview. "Any time is the right time." Mr. Price had a national hit in 1952 with "Lawdy, Miss Clawdy," and said in an interview that he recalled drawing both black and white fans to his shows: "It revolutionized what this country was about in terms of race."

When Mr. Price was drafted in 1953, he said, a member of his draft board told him, "Washington wants you in the service. They don't like what you're doing, integrating the music." After he returned from the Korean War, he had another string of hits, including "Personality" and "Stagger Lee." More recently, he has run a music-publishing business and a company that built affordable housing in the Bronx, and he is about to release an album on his own label, K-Jac.

At the ceremony, Mr. Price was supported by a star-studded band. It included two superb barrelhouse piano players. Mr. Toussaint and Johnnie Johnson, Chuck Berry's pianist. John Fogerty, who had presented the award for Gene Vincent, played guitar solos and belted some verses of "Stagger Lee."

The Hall of Fame's annual ceremonies have changed from a free-wheeling showcase for rock's founding eccentrics to a somewhat more conventional awards show.

VH1 started televising the event last year; its donation to the hall of fame covers most of the costs. "We wanted to take this insider event and bring it to the public," said John Sykes, the president of VH1.

"There are some incredible moments at these events," Mr. Sykes added. "When bands get together after all these years, you still have a lot of tension, you still have the emotions between these artists and that are alive from events that happened 30 years ago. Those are the moments to watch."


Date: 1998-01-14         Number of views: 1019

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