Paulie’s Perspective: Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall Of Fame 2020


Depeche Mode   (Inducted by: Charlize Theron)

Doobie Brothers  (Inducted by: Brad Paisley / Nancy Wilson)

Whitney Houston  (Inducted by: Alicia Keys)

Nine Inch Nails  (Inducted by: Iggy Pop)

The Notorious B.I.G.  (Inducted by: Sean “Diddy” Combs / Lin Manuel Miranda)

T. Rex  (Inducted by: Ringo Starr / Billy Gibbons)

Ahmet Ertegün Award: 

Jon Landau / Inducted by: Bruce Springsteen

Irving Azoff / Inducted by: Don Henly / Joe Walsh / Jackson Browne

A nice video tribute to Eddie Van Halen was shown which was touching. It wasn’t about his family or his band or anything. The piece focused on his music and and his playing – which really is what changed the world.  It was hosted by Slash and Tommy Morello and they did the Guitar God proud. I mean, you simply can not dispute the greatness and the extremely heavy influence Eddie Van Halen had on music and on guitar playing. 

What is so terribly sad is the In Memoriam part of the show – you just have no idea how many tremendous musicians died this year. I don’t know if it was because of Trump grabbing headlines every single day over the stupidest things – or if these people were just easily forgotten. Kenny Rogers, Little Richard, Leon Redbone, Art Neville, Dr. John, Charlie Daniels, Neil Peart, Frankie Banali, Eddie Money, Mac Davis, Ric Ocasek – these are no small names, these are icons, and I completely forget about most of them. Ugh 2020 is such a terrible year. 

This year  The Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame had their ceremony – with no live performances and in no rock arenas or any other kind of public space. 

Dave Grohl kicks it off with a speech saying how this year would be different, and that this year’s ceremony will not include a massive jam or any other kind of performance. Which is nice, because it’s not live – they made his self serving rambling as least boring and offensive as possible. We know Dave loves to be a part of this thing and if the Foo Fighters could be the house band, you know they would just salivate at the chance. 

Since you know most of the performers, let me just tell you about the ones you don’t know about. 

Jon Landau is an inductee, but not a performer. He was a writer for Crawdaddy magazine and also for Rolling Stone. He is the critic who published the famous quote – “I’ve seen rock and roll’s future and it’s name is Bruce Springsteen.”  Jon followed Bruce around from small club to small club, and fell in love with the guy and his E Street Band. Jon had been looking to get involved in producing music and saw Bruce as his golden chariot. Bruce said yes and the rest was history. Jon became his manager and co-producer from that day forward, and their first project together was Born To Run. The two are still inseparable, in fact, if you watch Bruce’s documentary, A Letter to You, on Apple TV, Jon Landau actually makes a brief appearance in the studio and everyone there hails him like a king. So it is very safe their relationship is going strong. Bruce himself took the time to tell the story and it is a good one, a positive one, and a heartwarming one. In fact those 5 minutes or so is more heartfelt and touching then Bruce’s entire Letter To You documentary. 

Irving Azoff is not a performer but a huge huge fan of music and the business. So much so that he allowed, if not started, change in the industry itself. Irving comes from the midwest – went to Los Angeles after college and began working for Geffen-Roberts Management. In 1972 he was assigned to help out with The Eagles. Well he helped out, he hung around, he became their friend, he told them truth about everything,  and they are still friends to this day, almost 40 years later. 

Irving was more then a manager of an artist, he was a fan, and that showed in all the ways he cared for his clients. Most notable in music publishing. He wanted artists to get their fair shake – and he always told them the truth of the matter and the truth of the position they were in. Irving started to dabble in movies like Urban Cowboy and Fast Times At Ridgemont High, but it was his service in music that is most appreciated. Fighting for the artist, helping them in their relationship with the big bad record company. Irving was and still is trusted by many big names to help them not get cheated or taken advantage of. His story is one of the good ones in the biz. 

The list of inductees goes on and on and you all know the performers are – Trent Reznor and NIN, the goth industrial revolutionary band. No man or band has made that genre more popular or more accessible then Trent has. It proves once again, like Bob Marley – when you are great at your genre, it breaks down all barriers. In other words – when you’re good, you’re good. 

Depeche Mode, B.I.G., T. Rex, Whitney Houston, I think they all belong here and I’m glad they were all inducted.  The ceremony this year was not a party, but more like a tender Zoom moment. I think it should be done like this every year – and then show the live performances and the big jam at the end. 

No musician wants to stand up there and give a 5 minute speech to a live crowd – let them do their speech on video, like they did this year – so it’s not frightening or awkward, and then they can just perform live to the arena like they do normally. I think they would be a lot more comfortable doing that. 

I really do love this new format – plenty of old pictures, old videos, behind the scenes footage, and a simple narrator guiding us all through it all. It goes faster, it’s not awkward, and no one is fumbling over the words or burying their head into 10 pages of handwritten notes. 

If you get a chance to see it, I would highly suggest viewing this year’s format and show- it is great to see great artists, especially relaxed in their homes, talking about the old days and all the battles they went through. It was personal, intimate, smooth, and went by in a flash. I believe the entire program is only 2 hours and 5 minutes. A huge improvement over the 3 or 4 hour fiasco’s we are usually subjected to. 

Check it out, these artists are legendary and it’s great to see and hear them again. And catch me here every Thursday on Thanks for reading.