The 2022 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony brought a handful of legends to Los Angeles on Saturday night (Nov. 5) to commemorate and celebrate one another. And as John Sykes, chairman of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, revealed, L.A. will now join Cleveland and New York as a regular home for the annual honors.
The 2022 class included Dolly Parton, Eminem, Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo, Duran Duran, Eurythmics, Lionel Richie and Carly Simon. Judas Priest and Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis also joined the Rock Hall with the “award for musical excellence.”
Yet they were far from the only stars in the room: attendees included Dave Grohl, Mary J. Blige, Gwen Stefani, Ed Sheeran and Bruce Springsteen (whose longtime manager, Jon Landau, is stepping down as chairman of the Rock Hall, which he co-founded).
Also being honored: Elizabeth Cotten, who rose to prominence for playing the guitar both upside down and left handed; Sylvia Robinson, singer, producer and co-founder of Sugar Hill Records; singer and activist Harry Belafonte; legendary producer and executive Jimmy Iovine; and famed entertainment attorney Allen Grubman.
Though long — clocking in at five-and-a-half hours — the unrushed evening allowed for a surplus of special moments, from superstar jams to the recounting of beautiful memories from music’s greatest talents.
Ahead of the 2022 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony airing Nov. 19 on HBO, here are the highlights.
Dolly Parton Live Debuted New Music
“If I’m gonna be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I’m gonna have to earn it!” exclaimed Dolly Parton. Prior to performing, she spoke about how she had initially declined the honor, saying at the time she didn’t feel worthy enough. “Back when they tried to put me in, I didn’t think I had done enough, but I get it’s a little bit more than that now,” she said in her speech.
Yet, the country icon still felt she had something to prove, and as such live-debuted a new song off her upcoming rock album (“How many of you rockers are gonna help me out?” she asked the room, surveying the audience). Rocking a black latex jumpsuit with large colored jewels and a matching guitar — on which she shredded through a solo — Parton performed the new track with Zac Brown on guitar and backing vocals. “I still got rock and roll down in my country soul,” she sang.
Her set included P!nk and Brandi Carlile duetting on “Coat of Many Colors,” Sheryl Crow and Zac Brown Band singing “9 to 5” and a grand finale featuring every inductee (minus Eminem, naturally) for a whopping rendition of “Jolene.”
Parton put it best: “We’ve got a star studded stage up here, don’t we?”
Eminem Ripped Through a Hits-Filled Medley
During Dr. Dre’s induction speech for his longtime friend and collaborator Eminem, the super producer recalled their first session. The rising rapper came to Dre’s home studio, listened to an unfinished track and immediately got on the mic to say: “Hi, my name is…” thus creating a soon-to-be mega hit.
Eminem fittingly opened his set with the track, before even more appropriately showing off his hyper-speed skills with “Rap God.” And it just kept getting better. Steven Tyler made a surprise appearance for “Dream On,” which Em samples on “Sing for the Moment,” only to be replaced by another guest star, Ed Sheeran. The pop icon, with his acoustic guitar in hand, helped deliver an impassioned “Stan.” The medley then moved into “Forever” before closing out with “Not Afraid.”
For a rapper whose piercing eyes and vicious verses could kill, his speech — for which he put on his glasses — was less of an attack and more of a thank you note, especially to Dr. Dre. Or, as Em called him, “the man who saved my life.”
Duran Duran Shared Some Heavy News
While Duran Duran was arguably met with the evening’s loudest cheers, not every moment the band spent on stage was a celebratory one. Following an induction from Robert Downey Jr., in which he revealed the band played a short set at his 50th birthday party (seven years ago) and shared the secret to longevity — “consistent quality over time, plus headbands” — frontman Simon Le Bon sang a powerful though accidental a cappella opening to “Girls On Film.” Despite the band’s sound not working, he remained in good spirits, joking, “We just had to prove to you that we weren’t lip syncing.”
The band then played “Hungry Like the Wolf” and “Ordinary World,” complete with an orchestra, before delivering a moving — and unexpectedly sad — speech. Simon began by reading a letter from former member Andy Taylor, in which he explained his absence and revealed he has stage four prostate cancer.
“I’m truly sorry and massively disappointed I couldn’t make it. Let there be no doubt I was stoked about the whole thing, even bought a new guitar with the essential whammy!” the letter read. “I often doubted the day would come. I’m sure as hell glad I’m around to see the day.”
Lionel Richie Had a Belt-Off With Dave Grohl
The story Lenny Kravitz told while inducting Lionel Richie of how, 25 years ago, his grandfather interrupted their first jam session was hard to top. But halfway through Richie’s beautifully arched set — which opened with “Hello” and closed with a fun-filled dance along to “All Night Long (All Night)” — he delivered a show-stopping moment.
During “Easy,” Dave Grohl made a surprise appearance — wearing a velvet blazer perhaps inspired by the one Richie himself was wearing — to offer support as lead guitarist. It wasn’t his shredding that stole the show, but rather the growling belt-off that ensued between the two after Richie held the mic to Grohl. And though without context it may have seemed like a heated debate over who is lower maintenance, the conviction on both ends is what sold the spontaneity of it.
“We are celebrating one of the funniest jokes in my life,” said Richie, “because all of the songs I wrote and recorded, so many people told me, ‘These are the songs that will destroy your career.’”
Olivia Rodrigo and Sara Bareilles Embodied Carly Simon
Sara Bareilles pulled double duty, both inducting and performing on behalf of Carly Simon, who was unable to attend the ceremony. Bareilles beautifully belted the Grammy-nominated “Nobody Does It Better” before welcoming another performer to the stage: Olivia Rodrigo.
Rodrigo performed the classic Billboard Hot 100 No. 1, “You’re So Vain” (alongside Simon’s longtime guitarist James Ryan), which was called “the biggest hit that has kept everyone guessing for 50 years” in Simon’s celebratory montage. And yet, Rodrigo sang with a convincing clarity, like she knew exactly who was at fault. In the same video package, Taylor Swift praised “Vain” for being “the best way anyone has addressed a breakup.”
As Simon wrote in a letter, read by Bareilles: “I am humbled, shocked, proud, overachieved, underqualified and singularity grateful.”
Judas Priest Brought the Pyro
The only (light) pyro of the evening came courtesy of none other than metal rockers Judas Priest. As Alice Cooper said in his induction speech, “I don’t want to hear rock is dead, because it isn’t,” he teed up the band nicely to demonstrate why it’s very alive and well. “Judas Priest,” he continued,” are truly the definitive metal band. Heavy metal didn’t have a look until Judas Priest.”
During lively performances of “Breaking the Law” and “Living After Midnight,” sparks served as an electrified backdrop to the band’s iconic twin guitar sound. “People underestimate just how popular heavy metal is,” Glenn Tipton said. To which Richie Faulkner admitted, “You rebel against the establishment until you realize you are the establishment… and here we are, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame… I’m honored and proud to be a part of it.”
Rob Halford delivered a similarly touching take on metal and this moment, though opened with more of a zinger: “I’m the gay guy in the band,” he said with a laugh. “The heavy metal community is all inclusive, everybody’s welcome… We’re all about the power and the emotion and the dedication and the love.”
Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo Proved Love Can Be Long Lasting
Sheryl Crow inducted the duo of Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo by holding up the couple’s 1980 Rolling Stone cover. “They were hot!” she exclaimed, noting she was 18 years old when that issue came out. A clear longtime and avid fan, Crow insisted, “They should have been inducted many years ago… Finally, they get what they long deserve.”
To celebrate, the pair performed a roaring set that included “All Fired Up,” “Love Is a Battlefield” and “Heartbreaker.” But when delivering their speech, that ferocity that vibrates through Benatar’s hits was soon replaced with tenderness. As Giraldo spoke of their beautiful, expanding family (they just welcomed an 11-day-old grandson) and called his longtime love “Patricia,” she looked on with wide-eyes as if they had only just met.
Eurythmics Shimmered in Matching Sparkling Suits
After The Edge opened his speech by praising the women of Iran, he loosely quoted Oscar Wilde, saying “the duty of the artist is to make beautiful things.” And no better act, he felt, embodied that sentiment than Eurythmics.
The two seemed intent on proving as much with a set that included a vibrant and rallying performance of “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).” And when the two insisted, “Keep your head up!” it was clear this song arguably resonates now more than ever — the sign of any true classic.
When it came time for Annie Lennox to speak after the set, she was met with a thunderous standing ovation, to which she said in awe: “Oh wow.” The rest of her speech packed more punch, as she spoke about how, by nature, “We musicians are peaceful people… we spread love around the world, not hate and division. We bring people together.”
Terry Lewis Shared More Than He Ever Has Before
To honor the great Terry Lewis and Jimmy Jam, longtime friend and collaborator Janet Jackson rocked the same look of her 1986 Control cover art — fitting, considering how she said that album was the first time anybody had asked her what she wanted to talk about. With Terry and Jimmy, she said, “it felt like we were kids playing in a sandbox,” plus they listened. “Those stories [I shared] became the foundation of the Control album, and that album sounds fresh to this day,” she said.
Perhaps inspired by her speech — in which she also detailed the pair’s impressive resume, having worked with Aretha Franklin, Mariah Carey, George Michael, Usher, “my brother Michael” and so many more — Terry took the mic next. He spoke at length of his gratitude, especially for his mom, who used to yell at him and Jimmy to “turn that s–t” down whenever they would make music in the basement. “So thank you, mom, for tolerating all of that noise.”
Jimmy’s reply was simple: “That’s the most I’ve ever heard Terry talk in my whole life.”
Jimmy Iovine Passed On a Key Lesson
As Bruce Springsteen joked in his induction speech for Jimmy Iovine, referencing their first few encounters when Iovine was working in a studio, “[Jimmy] came with the furniture.” As it turned out, being embedded into the studio proved unbelievably beneficial when, one day, Springsteen’s manager came in asking Iovine if he could produce. “Jon [Landau] looked at me and said, ‘Can you do this?’ I’d like to thank myself for having the balls to say, ‘YES.’”
Turns out, he could do it — thanks to those who had taught him a thing or two. And now, the idea of passing it on informs Iovine’s everyday life. “Technically I retired five years ago… not,” he jokes. “Thank the people who mentored you and try to be a mentor for somebody else whenever you can, because the truth is, no one gets to a moment like this alone.”