Several influential and iconic acts were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on Oct. 30 as part of the class of 2021.
Held at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, the evening marked a return to in-person inductions following 2020’s virtual event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The annual induction ceremony has delivered plenty of memorable moments over the years, and the 2021 edition was no different. From legends performing together to cross-generational celebrations and even an onstage wardrobe change, here are five moments to look for when the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction airs on Nov. 20 on HBO.
Foo Fighters Jam With Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney was a natural choice to induct Foo Fighters, something the former Beatle alluded to during his speech. Like head Foo Fighter Dave Grohl, McCartney faced a career crossroads after his early iconic group disbanded. “So the question is, what do you do now?” McCartney said. “We both were presented with that question. In my case, I decided to make an album where I played all of the instruments myself. So, I did that. Dave’s group broke up – what’s he do? He makes an album where he plays all the instruments himself. Do you think this guy is stalking me?” Foo Fighters quickly grew into a full-fledged band, becoming one of the defining acts of the last 30 years. Following their acceptance, the Foos joined McCartney for a jam session, rocking through the classic Beatles track “Get Back.”
Drew Barrymore Inducts the Go-Gos (In a Towel)
Drew Barrymore didn’t phone it in while inducting one of her favorite acts, the Go-Go’s, into the Rock & Roll Hall of fame. The actress went all out with her speech, at one point donning a towel and face cream, just as the band did on their classic Beauty and the Beat album cover. “The Go-Go’s had been in my personal hall of fame since I was 6 years old,” Barrymore confessed, her earnest excitement for the band infectious with every word. She added that “the Go-Go’s was such a perfect name for that band. So full of kinetic energy. It fits their music and their spirit.”
Taylor Swift Celebrates Carole King
Prolific songwriters from separate generations came together on the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame stage, as Taylor Swift inducted Carole King. Swift admitted she’d known King’s music all her life as she was “raised by two of her biggest fans.” She continued: “The purity to the music that she creates exists between two worlds – one of mystery and magical inspiration, and another of decades of hard-earned and heard-learned craftsmanship. Just because it looks so effortless doesn’t mean it has been.” The admiration was mutual, as King referred to Swift as her “professional granddaughter” during her acceptance speech.
Stars Join Forces to Honor Tina Turner
The Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll wasn’t there in person to accept her induction, but that didn’t stop an all-star lineup of musicians from rightfully celebrating Tina Turner’s enshrinement. Keith Urban and H.E.R. shared the spotlight on “It’s Only Love,” the 1984 duet between Turner and Bryan Adams. Country singer Mickey Guyton was next, delivering a sultry rendition of “What’s Love Got to Do With It.” Christina Aguilera then closed the tribute with an emphatic version of “River Deep – Mountain High.”
LL Cool J Shows He Belongs
Each Rock & Roll Hall of Fame class raises the same arguments — namely, whether artists from other genres should qualify for enshrinement. At this point, it’s pretty clear the Rock Hall is an all-inclusive entity, as evidenced by the many rap legends who have joined its ranks. Jay-Z and LL Cool J became the latest hip-hop acts to earn induction, but while the former opted not to perform, the latter brought the house down with a powerful two-song set. Eminem joined for a rendition of “Rock the Bells,” while Jennifer Lopez guested on “All I Have.” On a night of stars, LL’s searing performances stood among the best.
Watch UCR’s 2021 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Roundtable
Most Awkward Rock Hall of Fame Moments
Rambling speeches, fights between ex-bandmates and bad performances have marked many induction ceremonies over the years.