Rock And Roll Hall Gets Bigger

For all of the hoopla surrounding Van Halen’s "will they or won’t they" at the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony March 12th in New York City, the night went to Patti Smith and hip-hop.

Eddie Van Halen has entered rehab for alcohol abuse, and singer David Lee Roth protested the Hall of Fame over a dispute about what songs he would sing that evening. That left only Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony to accept Van Halen’s induction.

Patti Smith had been passed over in previous years and once swore she’d never make it in. An emotional Smith recalled arguing with her husband, MC5’s Fred "Sonic" Smith, who said, shortly before he died that she would get in before him even though he was more deserving.

He said that she would feel guilty because he would not make it and asked her to "please accept it like a lady and not to say any curse words."

That was followed, eventually, by Smith singing her 1977 song "Rock ‘n’ Roll N*****," which she dedicated to her mother.

Hip-hop showed its influence. Jay-Z introduced Grandmaster Flash & The Furious five by reading his speech off of his Blackberry. There were turntables at the event, and lots of scratching.

"There were some that called it a fad," Flash said. "They called it a flash of brilliance, excuse my pun. … They all finally accepted and embraced this wonderful culture we call hip-hop."

Also inducted were the relatively young R.E.M. and the long-overdue Ronettes.