Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Highlights

Last night’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony was just another reminder of how bizarre it is to canonize rebels with a black-tie gala at the Waldorf Astoria. Still, the night wasn’t without its charms, chiefly courtesy of the Stooges, who had been nominated and rejected by the Hall seven times, and whose profanity-laced performance probably made some industry bigwigs rethink their decision to let them in this time around. Below, some things we learned on this most hallowed night of establishment rock.

• Between Billie Joe Armstrong, who introduced the Stooges, and Iggy Pop, Fuse TV’s censors more than earned their salaries. “All right, fuck it up!” Iggy said as they launched into “Search and Destroy.”

• Iggy Pop don’t need no TelePrompTer. For his speech (you can watch it below), he relied on index cards on which he’d written three to four words each in giant Sharpie, like “We Won!” as in “Roll over, Woodstock. We won,” and “Music Is Life.” He kept showing them to the audience, for no apparent reason.

• Iggy is also a sentimentalist. “We three here are the surviving Stooges,” he said. “Ron [Asheton] and Dave [Alexander] would have gotten a big kick out of this, and Ron was PISSED off that it didn’t happen while he was alive. I don’t know how he feels about it now. He’s probably sitting up there in heaven having martinis and ashing on Dave’s head.” Later he choked up a bit while saying, “This particular group of friends has had the fortune of having a lovely, lovely second act. So thanks.”

• Iggy will take off his shirt at the most inappropriate moments, like when drummer Scott Asheton was paying tribute to his brother.

• Still, he looks frickin’ amazing for 62. Backstage, when Vulture asked him for workout and diet tips, he said the key to his “hot body” is playing with his dog. “My dog keeps me hot.” And suddenly “I Wanna Be Your Dog” is illuminated.

• If you want to scare rich people, have the Stooges perform at your party. During “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” shirtless Iggy jumped offstage and squirmed in front of the first row of gala tables. NO ONE stood up to dance. Even as Iggy exhorted them, “Show me you’re not too rich to be cool!” And “Let’s get some jewelry up here! Let’s get the Upper East Side up here! Let’s get the Dakota up here.” Eddie Vedder, however, did rush the stage. Billie Joe Armstrong was already up there, playing backup guitar.

• Trey Anastasio of Phish is not just a huge fan of Genesis, whom he introduced, but also Lady Gaga. He sang “Paparazzi” to himself while exiting the press room.

• As far as we could tell, Bruce Springsteen was the only person present who required a phalanx of burly security guards. We attempted to speak to the Boss early in the evening and they chased us back to our seat so fast we were afraid to get up for at least two hours.

• This is why we love Stevie van Zandt, who inducted the Hollies: Calling the Rock Hall ceremony “our best night,” he described both the Grammys and the American Music Awards as “nice people, bullshit.” This night, he said, is “just a little bullshit. On the bullshit scale, we’re pretty good.

• Jimmy Cliff’s voice is insanely good for 61!

• ABBA is never getting back together. As vocalist Anni-Frid Prinzessin Reuss said, “We haven’t performed together in 28 years. We broke up in ‘82. Reuniting … I think it’s too late for that.” Also, if you have a problem with ABBA being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, then you’d probably really have a problem with Faith Hill singing “The Winner Takes It All” at the ceremony. Even Rolling Stone’s David Fricke, our favorite person of the night to spy on, could only muster a toe-tap.

• Airlines suck. Songwriter Jeff Barry (“Da Doo Ron Ron” and “Be My Baby”) missed his induction because of plane delays. Then again, maybe the moral is, if you have to be in New York for one of the top nights of your life, maybe don’t fly on the same day.

• Rob Thomas says he “probably” smoked his first joint at a Genesis show.

• When asked what the new Matchbox Twenty album is going to sound like, Rob Thomas said, “Like a Matchbox Twenty album, only better.”

• When asked if they had ever had a rivalry with ABBA back in the seventies when both groups were churning out hits, Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees said, “We were more competitive with each other.”

• When asked which one of their songs they most want to be remembered for, Robin Gibb said “How Deep is Your Love.” Barry said “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart.”

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Highlights