Ahmet Ertegun Award recipients Lou Adler and Quincy Jones stand with inductees Ann Wilson and Nancy Wilson of Heart and Flea during the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2013 Inductees announcement at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
What occurred Tuesday morning (Dec. 11) at the Nokia Theater is probably a rerun of every other announcement for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees. The hour prior to the announcement of the names of musicians, bands and executives is festive and positive, with conversations about the long overdue move to Los Angeles and recent music filling an anteroom toward the rear of the theater.
Close to an hour after the nominees are announced and Quincy Jones, Lou Adler and Ann and Nancy Wilson have spoken, the iPhones come out and folks associated with the Hall of Fame start reading the headlines. For every story that celebrates Rush and Heart, another is wondering why Donna Summer and Public Enemy are considered rock 'n' roll. Then comes the usual list of "who got snubbed," listing those on the ballot - N.W.A and the Meters - and those not - Kiss, Kraftwerk and, quite oddly, the Moody Blues.
The defense of the selections started with Summer, with proponents saying her vocal style defined her era as much as the doo-wop groups of theirs. Additionally, Summer's style has been a significant influence on numerous pop singers of today.
While the names in this year's class include rap, prog-rock and a blues guitarist, one of the voting members who wished to remain anonymous explained part of the process that leads to such a mixed collection. A nominating committee of almost three dozen, "passionate and knowledgeable" people connected to the music industry gather and present facts and then debate whose name belongs a ballot. Presentations have been known to get a performer from "who's that" to induction in recent years.
Debates that split genres or groups from the same area and era are expected to have an effect in the coming years, according to one voting member. The Replacements or Husker Du and The Cure, the Smiths, Depeche Mode or Joy Division are among the continuing battles within the Hall of Fame's ranks.
All of that will be set aside until April 18 when Public Enemy, Heart, Albert King, Randy Newman, Public Enemy, Rush, Summer, Lou Adler and Quincy Jones are inducted at ceremonies at the Nokia Theater. Adler, Jones and Heart's Ann and Nancy Wilson were on hand at the press conference where Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers announced the class of 2013.
Tim Leiweke, President and CEO of Anschutz Entertainment Group speaks at the press
conference for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2013 Inductees announcement
(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
AEG president and CEO Timothy Leiweke, whose domain includes the L.A. Live venues such as the Nokia Theater, Club Nokia and the Grammy Museum plus Staples Center across the street, said the induction ceremony's return to Los Angeles was ten years in the making.
"Our music (journey) is complete," Leiweke said, referring to the Grammys, AMAs and MTV VMAs being held in the AEG venues. "This was the final crown jewel."
As much as Leiweke would love to make the Hall of Fame induction ceremony as regular as Lakers and Clippers games, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation president and CEO Joel Peresman sees L.A. becoming part of a permanent rotation.
After years of ceremonies in New York with the occasional trip to Cleveland where the hall is located, Peresman wants to create a revolving schedule of the three cities and, every once in awhile, hold the ceremony in London. "There are so many executives and so many artists who live here," he said.
The last time a Hall of Fame induction was held in L.A. was 1991.
Setting up in the Nokia Theater creates an opportunity for the hall to sell about 4,000 tickets to the event, he said, as well as created educational programs in conjunction with the Grammy Museum during the week leading up to the event.
The event was a perfect platform for Jones to explain his career and what he considered the first rock 'n' rollers - Louis Jordan and, one of his earliest employers Lionel Hampton. Jones talked about arranging Big Maybelle's "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On," introducing Lesley Gore to the then-unknown Beatles and Rolling Stones and seeing Sim on and Garfunkel at the Apollo when they were billed as Tom and Jerry. He closed by saying he always followed advice given to him by a jazz saxophonist.
"Ben Webster says 'youngblood, step into my office and let me pull on your coat.' [Everywhere you go] eat the food, listen to the music and know 30 or 40 words of the language. I'm on my 29th language."