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Rock Hall CEO Greg Harris on the 2022 class: ‘This could be one for the ages’

May 11, 2022
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Rock Hall CEO Greg Harris on the 2022 class: ‘This could be one for the ages’ (All photos from the Associated Press)

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland has announced its 2022 class, representing what the organization’s president and CEO says is one of the most diverse groups of inductees they’ve ever seen.

The Hall’s Class of 2022 is represented by 11 artists and producers and three non-performing industry professionals who will each be ushered into the hall during ceremonies scheduled for this fall in Los Angeles.

Seven artists will see induction in the performer category, including 80’s hit-makers Pat Benatar (with husband Neil Giraldo), Duran Duran, Eurythmics and Lionel Richie. Singer and songwriter Carly Simon will be inducted, along with country, pop, and bluegrass artist Dolly Parton, despite her request to have her name withdrawn for consideration. 15-time Grammy winning rapper and producer Eminem will see induction during his first year of eligibility.

Artists become eligible for nomination to the rock hall 25 years after the release of their first record. In addition to Eminem, Duran Duran, Dolly Parton, Lionel Richie and Carly Simon were all each nominated for the first time this year.

Artists being inducted in the category of musical excellence include metal band Judas Priest and music producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, best known for their work with 2019 inductee Janet Jackson.

Blues and folk artist Elizabeth Cotton will be posthumously inducted into the Hall with an early influence award, along with singer and songwriter Harry Belafonte.

Entertainment lawyer Allen Grubman, known for working groundbreaking deals for Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, and Lady Gaga, among many others, will be inducted with the Ahmet Ertegun Award, along with recording engineer and co-founder of Interscope Records, Jimmy Iovine, and the late singer, producer and label executive Sylvia Robinson.

Votes are cast by a body of more than 1,000 artists, including inductees, industry members and music historians. Factors taken into account include an artist’s influence, the length and depth of their career and their innovation in style and technique.

During an interview with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame president and CEO Greg Harris, he told The Maine Edge that he’s glad to see that Dolly Parton was selected for induction by the voting body in spite of her early misgivings that she didn’t deserve the honor.

“One of the reasons we love Dolly so much is for her humility,” Harris said. “Her early statement was a true sign of that when she basically said ‘I’m not worthy, give it to someone else.’ She is worthy and the voters thought so too.”

I asked Harris if he could explain why third-time nominees Judas Priest will be inducted in the category of musical excellence while most of the other performing artists in this year’s class will be inducted in the performer category.

“To be clear, they are all equal and they are all in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” Harris said diplomatically. “There’s a committee that looks at artists and they decided this was the right path for Judas Priest. Some artists that have been nominated several times end up getting inducted this way, like Kraftwerk, LL Cool J and Nile Rodgers.”

The 37th annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony is scheduled to take place on November 5 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

Some previous ceremonies have been marked by some pretty epic one-time only on-stage collaborations during the ceremony concert. Harris cited a few of his personal favorites from years past.

“The first one that comes to mind is when Prince came out to join Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne from Electric Light Orchestra, and Steve Winwood, in a tribute to George Harrison on an amazing version of ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps,’” Harris said. “When we inducted Bill Withers, Stevie Wonder played and John Legend sang. Last year, we had Foo Fighters backing Paul McCartney on ‘Get Back,’ which was off the charts.”

Harris referred to those exclusive Rock Hall moments as “an embarrassment of riches” and added “I think we’re going to see a lot of it with this year’s class. Almost everyone is still actively performing so this could be one for the ages.”

Speaking of “Get Back,” Harris also enthused about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s newest exhibit, billed as an immersive counterpoint to Peter Jackson’s “The Beatles: Get Back” docu-series.

“We worked directly with director Peter Jackson, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and the estates of John Lennon and George Harrison to put this together and it brings the ‘Get Back’ docu-series to life,” Harris said of the exhibit “The Beatles: Get Back to Let It Be.”

“You go into the studio with The Beatles and you go up to the Apple rooftop for that iconic performance that became their final live show. We have the guitar that John Lennon was playing at that very moment. We have Ringo’s drum kit and the red raincoat he wore. We’ve had Beatles fans from all over the world here in Cleveland to see this exhibit. It will be here all summer long, so we hope to see all of the Beatles fans from Maine here checking it out.”

Last modified on Wednesday, 11 May 2022 06:48

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