The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Class of 2019 was inducted at an all-star, lengthy ceremony held at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on Friday night. The evening kicked off with the induction of Stevie Nicks, making her the first female artist to enter the Hall twice (the first induction with Fleetwood Mac, of course). Harry Styles inducted Nicks and later duetted with her, filling in for the late Tom Petty on “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” during her set of hits.
Radiohead‘s status for the ceremony was unknown until the last minute. The British band had been publicly ambivalent about the honor and singer Thom Yorke had already announced he wouldn’t be there. Instead, the rhythm section of the group, bassist Ed O’Brien and drummer Phil Selway, appeared to make an acceptance speech. Radiohead was inducted by David Byrne, as the band took their name from the 1986 Talking Heads song “Radio Head.”
Glam rock greats Roxy Music were inducted by Simon Le Bon and John Taylor next. Like Radiohead, the entire Roxy Music lineup did not appear, most notably keyboardist/producer Brian Eno. Singer Bryan Ferry delivered a brief speech thanking all the members of the group. The members of the band who were present did play a six-song set as part of the ceremony, their first performance since 2011.
Influence goth-rockers The Cure had waited years to make it into the Hall and were inducted by Nine Inch Nails‘ Trent Reznor. Much like Radiohead, Reznor has been very vocal about his feelings on the Hall of Fame and closed his speech with, “I remember distinctly saying to myself, among other things, how can I even take this awards ceremony seriously if they’ll open their doors to X, Y and Z and not acknowledge the Cure? Not so long ago I get a phone call I wasn’t expecting, and, well, here we are. Let’s just say I’ve never been as happy to eat my words as I was tonight.”
The lineup of The Cure has fluctuated over the years and many of them were onstage with frontman Robert Smith, but only the current lineup performed when the band played a five-song set, mixing deep cuts with three of their biggest hits (“Lovesong,” “Just Like Heaven” and “Boys Don’t Cry).
Janet Jackson also waited years for her Rock Hall induction and was introduced by Janelle Monáe, who gave a passionate speech about the importance of Jackson’s music to generations. Monáe described her as “a bold visionary, a rule-breaker, a risk taker and a boundless visual artist.” Jackson gave a speech about her lengthy career, from child performer to Hall of Famer, but did not perform at the event. She did wrap up her speech with a message to the Hall, saying in 2020, “Induct more women.”
Classic rockers The Zombies had been waiting for almost three decades to make it into the Hall and all the surviving members expressed how happy they were to finally be honored, before playing a set including “This Will Be Our Year,” appropriately enough.
The ceremony wrapped up with Def Leppard, inducted by Queen‘s Brian May. Singer Joe Elliot spoke about the band’s triumphs and their troubled history, including the accident that cost drummer Rick Allen his arm and the death of guitarist Steve Allen. The band closed things out with a set of their iconic hits, before a variety of other artists joined them onstage, including Mott the Hoople‘s Ian Hunter, for a cover of that group’s classic “All the Young Dudes.”
A truncated version of the Hall of Fame ceremony will air on HBO Saturday, April 27.