Since 1986, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has inducted musicians including Tom Petty, Aerosmith, Chuck Berry, Metallica, Rolling Stones and many, many more. The inductions have always been accompanied by performances of the inductees and special guests.
The ceremony has aired for years on VH1, Time Life and The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame have released a nine-disc DVD box of the best of these ceremonies and performances. The full set will cost you $120 and can be purchased at Time Life's website, while an “economic friendly” three-disc set will run you $40.
There are some great performances contained on these discs, which run anywhere from 75 to 90 minutes. They include 125 performances, including Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Bruce Springsteen, James Brown, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Patti Smith, Bonnie Raitt, and dozens and dozens more. The first ceremonies were recorded using a few cameras, and not as professional looking or sounding as those recorded more recently, so it’s interesting to see how things have changed in the almost 25 years since the ceremonies began.
Some highlights include “I Saw Her Standing There” performed by George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, John Fogerty, Jeff Beck, Bruce Springsteen and more following the Beatles induction ceremony. “Come Together” with Bruce Springsteen and Axl Rose, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” with Bruce Springsteen and U2, “Sweet Emotion” with Aerosmith and Kid Rock, “The Train Kept-A-Rollin,” with Beck, Jimmy Page, Ron Wood, Joe Perry, Flea and Metallica.
There are some very cool guitar solos from Eric Clapton, B.B. King, Joe Perry, Carlos Santana, Beck and more, including a great tribute to George Harrison from Prince.
Finally, disc nine features portions of the 1995 live concert for the Hall of Fame in Cleveland, including performances by The Kinks, Dan Fogerty, Al Green and more.
One of the great things about these ceremonies is that you get duets/team-ups of artists you wouldn’t necessarily expect to see, some are good, some less so, but it’s cool to see these performances and watch them over and over again.
There are several bonus features on each disc, which include backstage conversations of the artists talking about guitars, watching inductions from the wings of the stage instead of being on stage or in the audience, complete versions of selected speeches, and much more.
The only down side is that the discs aren’t chronological, you could be watching a performance from 1989 and the next performance jumps to 2005. It would have been nice to have the performances in order. Also a minor nit-pick is that sometimes songs from the same artist/group are spread out over several discs; these multi-song sets should have been kept together.
Also not all performers are on these discs, it could be because of royalties, hubris or a number of other reasons but what we do get should make the music lover in your house happy with hours and hours of performances and induction speeches.