“We’re both, I supposed, kind of shocked, because we’d been nominated before,” Stewart tells Billboard, referring to his and Annie Lennox‘s first appearance on the Rock Hall ballot, in 2018. “We did some promotion for that, and we didn’t get in. So this time we were nominated, but we didn’t do that much apart from every now and then people saying, ‘Hey’ you’re nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame…’ So we didn’t know that we were doing to get in.”
Nevertheless, Stewart says he and Lennox are “thrilled” with the honor, with Eurythmics joining six others in the Performing category — Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo, Duran Duran, Eminem, Dolly Parton, Lionel Richie and Carly Simon — for the induction, which will be held Nov. 5 at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles. Eurythmics also finished fourth in the Rock Hall fan poll, with 442,271 votes.
“It was an interesting moment,” Stewart adds, “because as soon as we were told by email by somebody, we emailed each other and then we talked to each other, and we have a very dry English and Scottish — Annie’s Scottish — dry humor, you know? It’s part of being English or Scottish to play everything down. It’s not sort of cool to leap around and go, ‘Wow!’ But underneath all that, we’re both really excited and honored, actually.” Lennox’s initial message to him, Stewart recalls, was something along the lines of, “‘We really deserve it. We worked really hard for those two T-shirts,’ or something like that.”
Stewart anticipates that both he and Lennox will attend the ceremony in November, perhaps performing acoustically as they did for Sting’s 30th We’ll Be Together benefit concert in New York for his Rainforest Foundation Fund in December of 2019 and for European concerts during the mid-2000s. “There’s something special that happens when we play together on stage,” Stewart notes. “Because we’ve written the songs together and we know each other so well, I kind of know her nuances and her emotions that she’s delivering through the song on stage, and I can sort of dynamically create the tension or the releases, just as the two of us with acoustic guitar and voice.”
Stewart and Lennon formed Eurythmics during 1980 after working together in the bands The Catch and The Tourists. As Eurythmics they released nine studio albums — the last, Peace, came out in 1999 — selling an estimated 75 million records worldwide, with hits such as “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This),” “Here Comes the Rain Again,” “Would I Lie to You?” and “Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves” with Aretha Franklin. The duo won one Grammy Award and one Brit Award and was inducted into the U.K. Music Hall of fame in 2005.
In addition to the Rock Hall, Eurythmics is also being inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in June; it was named in 2020 but the ceremony was not held that year or in 2021 due to the pandemic. “It’s a bit of a year, yeah,” says Stewart, who’s recently been helping Daryl Hall with his next solo album and has an album of his own, Ebony McQueen, coming out May 20 on his own Bay Street Records, accompanied by a film and stage musical.
“I went and looked at our song catalog and I thought, ‘Oh yeah, God, all these songs…!’ There’s a lot of them, and then I started to realize, ‘Hey, this particular one is an amazing song. It’s one of my favorite songs, but it never gets mentioned.’ I think most artists are like that; they have songs that are their favorites, and they’re not the ‘hits.’ But it’s quite nice to look and see that body of work we created and be proud of it and feel honored that it’s being recognized by these halls of fame, you know? Obviously we worked our asses off, and it feels good that’s appreciated.”