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  • Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony 2014
Kim Gordon, Joan Jett, St. Vincent, Lorde

So the 2014 Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony happened at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, and this year, it’s relevant to your interests! As you might have heard, Nirvana were inducted by R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe (“They were singular and loud and melodic and deeply original,” he said of the band), and after much consternation and subtle hints delivered via social media, a Frankenstein version of the band did indeed perform, with Dave Grohl behind the drum kit, Krist Novoselic on bass, Pat Smear on guitar, and Joan Jett standing in for the late Kurt Cobain, playing “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Jett was followed by Kim Gordon for “Aneurysm.” Then, St. Vincent’s Annie Clark on “Lithium.” And finally, Lorde joined the band for a rendition of “All Apologies.”

Grohl and Novoselic gave speeches upon accepting their awards. Wendy O’Connor (joined onstage by Cobain’s sisters Kimberly Cobain and Breanne O’Connor) spoke too, calling her son an angel. Courtney Love buried the hatchet with her husband’s bandmates, embracing them for a hug. She said Frances Bean Cobain wanted to attend, but became sick at the last minute.

It wasn’t just Nirvana though! Also, on the night’s docket was Peter Gabriel’s induction by Chris Martin, who read funny quotes about Phil Collins from “the book of Genesis.” “He’s a curator and an inspirer and he helped John Cusack get his girlfriend back in Say Anything,” the Coldplay frontman added. Gabriel (already an inductee with Genesis) performed “Digging In The Dirt,” “Washing Of The Water” (with Martin, who said it was his favorite Gabriel song), and “In Your Eyes” with Youssou N’Dour. After an intro by Tom Morello, KISS’ Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley, and Peter Criss took the stage (sans makeup) to accept their award, and said nice words about one another, but did not perform. Art Garfunkel inducted Yusuf Islam (bka Cat Sevens), who told the crowd “I never thought I’d be on the same stage as KISS” and performed some of his hits including “Wild World.” Glenn Frey inducted Linda Ronstadt, who did not attend (her Parkinson’s disease makes travel difficult) so Carrie Underwood, Stevie Nicks, Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt, and Sheryl Crow sang in her honor. Bruce Springsteen toasted the E Street Band, whose members took up a lot of time with their speeches, setting the event well behind schedule. They performed “E-Street Shuffle,” “The River,” and “Kitty’s Back.” Questlove inducted Hall & Oates, who performed “She’s Gone” (after an aborted first attempt due to difficulties with their monitors), “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do),” and “You Make My Dreams Come True.” Said Questo in his speech, “Oates cowrote most of [their best] songs. Not to mention going onto a second career producing Howard Stern. Baba Booey.”

Check out a gallery from the big night above, and some videos and notable tweets below.

UPDATE: Nirvana and friends made their way over to Greenpoint to play a secret show at Saint Vitus:

Comments (59)
  1. Kim is such a great choice. This could have gone wrong in so many ways but this looks about as good as could be expected.

  2. Fuckin’ Pat Smear. Love that guy.

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  4. Chad Channing left out!!!!!!! Bleach is a awesome album and so is Insecticide which he plays on over half the tracks. Those two albums are by far my favorite Nirvana albums. Such a shame. Dave was pivotal in the band but Chad played on plenty of great Nirvana releases as well.

  5. Lorde being onstage with these legends is a f*cking joke. Even though Krist is friendly with her I think someone from the Hall must have suggested it. Joan was a decent pick and Kim was perfect. St. Vincent doesn’t really do it for me but I don’t hate her. I agree that Chad Channing should have been inducted and able to perform as well.

    • I think it would have been cool if for one song, Chad took over on drums and Dave sang.

      • I def see how Lorde would be a controversial choice for a lot of Nirvana fans. After all, she is a pop artist through and through.

        But I think Lorde’s career, her aesthetic, in terms of the slight nods to Goth, the dark, low sound, the satirical lyrics (esp. on songs like “Glory and Gore”), hell, the “heroine” reference in the album title… none of that would have been remotely acceptable from a pop artist pre-Nirvana. I think it goes to show how much they changed the game that even an ascendant Top 40 starlet is allowed to inhabit much darker sonic & lyrical space without being controversial to much of anyone.

        • Yea I think Lorde is ‘too new’ to be up there, career wise. Not that she hasn’t proven herself as a musician or anything, just I feel like there is more appropriate choices. Quite honestly, I’m surprised they didn’t go all ‘Kurt Hologram.”

          • the fact that she’s a new, young artist that and has yet to prove herself, etc., makes the choice to feature her all the more touching and brilliant.

    • Speaking in terms of breakout success, Lorde has only been around for about 7 or 8 months at best, so I can see where inviting her to take part of an event that is a celebration of a very important band’s entire career and legacy seems undeserved. I think they chose her because right now, she is having her “it” moment, it connects with a younger audience and there’s a possibly that she can continue to grow artistically with acclaim in the long-term. However, trends come and go. If this were five years ago, Lady Gaga probably would have been up there instead of Lorde, and these days, there’s probably more talk about how Lady Gaga turned out to be an over-hyped pop dud rather than the future face of it.

      • That said, I want to believe what actually happened is that they accidentally sent the invite to “L – Lorde” instead of “L – Loder, Kurt,” and they didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings through the mix-up.

      • Yeah, it feels handed to her and undeserved because she has a few huge singles. Whether she has felt the trickle-down influence of Nirvana from the past 20+ years, i think they could have done much better and I think Chad on drums and Dave singing for a song would have been cool + more respectful to Kurt and his legacy. Also, having someone who was at least alive during Nirvana’s heyday would have made more sense (I myself was barely so, but I feel like putting up a 16 year old with them is just silly).

        Also her whole twitchy live thing is annoying and over done, the complete opposite of Kurt’s ethos.

        • I’m with you about the twitchy thing. There are some musicians who move uniquely in a way where it is just their natural body language (see: The Future Islands’ guy’s dancing,) and maybe Lorde’s little seizure act started off that way, but I think it’s moved into being something she now does very consciously and deliberately.

    • It’s really not that big of a deal. But how I see it, it just further shows Nirvana’s vast influence on pop culture, that one of the breakout artists of the past year, someone who wasn’t even born while Nirvana was a thing, was influence by their work. You can dislike the method, but what it symbolizes is far more important.

    • The idea that someone has to fit such a narrow set of career heights in order to perform (not inducted, mind you) at this venue is very silly, especially considering that a number of music critics have pointed to Lorde as capturing the teen spirit of 2013 much like Nirvana did in 1991. Having a fresh face is not an insult, it’s a compliment to the fact that we can’t listen to new artists today without hearing Nirvana’s influence. Having her play with Kim Gordon (a kindered-spirit Nirvana contemporary), Joan Jet (a clear punk influence) and Annie Clark (the enigmatic guitar genius of today) not only fits into a great past, present, and future of what Nirvana means to music, but it also speaks volumes about how Kurt Cobain changed rock by embracing more of a feminine angle.
      So no, it’s not a “f*cking joke.”

  6. Kurt’s absence is obvious. Not Nirvana and maybe a little too consistently butch femme–even for Cobain. I also don’t think Cobain would’ve been particularly into playing such a bloated “rock star” type event. Cobain was a confused and confusing guy to many, but his lyrics and public statements are quite clear. He had a lot of musician friends from “back in the day” who might’ve been better tapped for this performance, rather than Lorde and St. Vincent. Kim Gordon was a good choice. Would like to see her performance. I hope Dave Grohl and Krist Novaselic had fun. Also hope Courtney Love felt proud for Kurt. All members of the band should’ve been inducted though–excluding Chad Channing and Jason Everman is kinda lame.

  7. I think, and this is just a guess, that these four were chosen in part to represent how people of all generations were affected by and interested in Nirvana’s music. Obviously Joan Jett’s from an era a little before grunge, Sonic Youth were at their best around the late-80′s/early ’90′s so that could be Gen X, St. Vincent is a millennial, and Lorde could show that teens today still are invested in the band’s catalog. That’s what I gathered from this, anyways.

    • I have nothing bad to say about this. I think you are absolutely right. It all came together great from the looks of it. But let’s be real, Kim just killed it. That song, god I do love that song.

  8. Two songs from The Wild, the Innocent, & The E-Street Shuffle? Hell yeah!

  9. So no Morning Has Broken/Rape Me medley then? :(

  10. I take it Kim got Nirvana in the divorce?

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  12. Tom Wiseau should absolutely make a biopic where he plays Gene Simmons. Oh hi Ace Frehley.

  13. Kim Gordan a great pick. I can’t wait to see her kill Aneurysm on good clean audio/visual. Joan Jett also awesome. I’d call myself casual admirers of Lorde and Annie Clark, but I’m gonna be a little hard on them. How are they carrying on Nirvana’s tradition? Outsider music – I get it. But I see Annie jumping on stage with Nirvana and Pearl Jam (last year) but I don’t see that snarly energy and bite in her or Lorde’s music. I think both Lorde and Annie are very good artists, I just wish they’d carry on the tradition a little more. Yeah I know about Krokidil but that is just ONE song. I’m glad they got chosen to perform here and I’m also glad they tip their hat to Nirvana, PJ and the like, but I just wished they built that energy into their own unique visions. I’m not hoping for them to put on flannel and stage dive cause that’d be goofy, but these are pretty unique artists who can incorporate alot of different things into their albums. The current music scene desparately needs it, and these 2 are competitent enough to do it.

    • While it’s not immediately apparent in her studio albums, anyone who has experienced St. Vincent performing live acknowledges the snarly energy and bite. Both in Annie Clark the human and in the St. Vincent performance. She’s a fireball on stage.

      • I guess I’m waiting for that to come in her records. She says she was sort of birthed by Nevermind and Ten and the like, but her music is all cerebral and ethereal. I guess her darkeness might some from the “grunge” influences, but modern music needs something more cutting. I think she’s more than capable of doing it……

        • JaggerT is absolutely dead on there, seeing Annie live is an experience and probably one of the best choreographed performances I’ve ever seen. Plus she shreds on the guitar.

        • Yeah, the production always seems to de-fang much of her guitar work. But if you listen to the notes and scales she plays (or better yet, witness it live) she writes and plays some pretty badass songs. In her interviews she has said that she’s interested in her guitar sounding like anything but a guitar. In her records it comes off this way, and it sounds a lot less offensive. I prefer her live mixes much more.

        • Let’s be careful not to expect snarl and bite to sound the same way from Annie Clark and Lorde today as they did from Nirvana over twenty years ago. Nirvana’s music was great, but I wouldn’t wish Kurt Cobain’s attitude and life choices/experiences on anyone.

  14. Totally forgot Peter Gabriel was being inducted. Congrats to him! He deserves it.

    As for the Nirvana performance, I agree with Michael O’Neill above in that the people they picked is a good representation of the kind of generational impact Nirvana has had. Can’t wait to see the full performances.

  15. And there needs to be some Cat Stevens coverage on this here Stereogum. Stat!

  16. They should have played either “Negative Creep” or “School” with Channing on drums and Dave singing.

  17. “Annie Clark.. from The Vincents?”

    I died.

  18. I thought the performances were great and paid tribute to Kurt/Nirvana well… even with also being sceptical of Lourde being there her voice seemed to fit well (but I hate her twitchy thing too). Whether is was their choice or pushed on them for some current hype by corporate people, I guess we may or may not find out… but I hope not, as that would go against the very nature of the band I think. I would have loved to see Chad on drums and Grohl up front as well… it would have been a cool way to incorporate all original members. I also wish they would have brought out Weird AL and done “Smells Like Nirvana”… that would have matched their since of humor nicely! Plus Krist and AL could have been accordion buddies on All Apologies.

  19. I love that she wore THAT Dress. It may not be the exact one but it’s close enough that it matters

  20. Maybe it’s just me, but I find phone videos of loud rock shows to be eminently unwatchable.

    • Ugh, couldn’t agree with you more. I really wanted to watch that first video of Stipe inducting them, but it was literally giving me motion sickness as I’m trying to sit here and eat lunch while watching it. Is it really that hard to hold the damn phone steady? And if I heard the person filming say “yep, yep” one more time in the background, I was gonna lose it, so I just stopped watching it all together.

      HBO will be airing the whole ceremony on May 31st though so I’ll definitely be tuning into that!

  21. I honestly don’t think that Lorde did a bad job in anyway. I understand the initial disapproval of having such a new “talent” honor what is quite arguably the most important band of the 90′s but the variety in the performances makes me think they made a decent choice picking her. Now, would I have picked her? Definitely not. Too bad Mascis didn’t perform at the ceremony that would have been rad

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    • Lorde’s had more than one hit song. I counted. She gets played on the same alt rock stations as Nirvana, unlike the others you lumped her in with. But by all means, lets have Nirvana fronted by the lady from Shiny Toy Guns. That’s clearly the only proper way to honor Kurt.

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        • You sound like you’d be a really fun person to be around, Sarah.

        • nahh… it’s not about genres; it’s just about the spirit. krist and dave signed off on lorde, and think about it: they’re cool, smart guys, and they knew kurt. they paid tribute to their friend in a super tasteful way, which is rare for these types of events. they showed how nirvana’s influence spans generations and transcends genres. those songs are universal.

        • I’m a little late to this party but felt the need to comment..

          Man oh man… I’m really not a Lorde fan either but geez, caaaalm down. I get what you’re saying, but I also understand the principle on why they did what they did – it makes sense when you really think about it – and honestly, it is worth getting yourself this riled up over it? They still had Kim Gordon and Joan Jett perform as well, so you can at least be satisfied with that.

          And I’m old enough to have “been around when Nirvana came out” so don’t make that assumption. I’m just saying to step off the soap box – it happened, there’s nothing you can change about it, move on.

  23. The actual picks make Stereogum’s poll about who would play the part seem so tame and conservative, and that is exactly as it should be.

  24. Dave smashing away at a drum set is my religion.

  25. I lost respect for her when she started hanging out with the Kardashians.

  26. I’m glad you guys put your own tweet in this article it really added credibility and was a real example of cultural relevance… not self serving and the lamest shit ever at all.. you guys are going in a great direction great work

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