After skipping a full-on ceremony in 2020 due to the pandemic, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Gala returned in full force to Cleveland, OH on Saturday night, ushering in three long-deserving female acts in the same night: Carole King, Tina Turner and the Go-Go‘s.
—Taylor Swift opened the ceremony by performing King’s “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” a number-one hit for The Shirelles before King herself recorded it for her iconic album Tapestry. “I cannot remember a time when I didn’t know Carole King’s music,” Taylor told the crowd during her induction speech, adding that her parents raised her to believe King was “the greatest songwriter of all time.”
King, who’d already been inducted as a songwriter in 1990, thanked Taylor for “carrying the torch,” and called her “my professional granddaughter.” She also acknowledged that even though she’s been told “that today’s female singers and songwriters stand on my shoulders,” we shouldn’t forget that “they also stand on the shoulders of the first woman to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. May she rest in power, Miss Aretha Franklin!”
Jennifer Hudson then took the stage to perform “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” followed by King herself leading the crowd in a singalong of “You’ve Got a Friend.”
—Angela Bassett, star of the Tina Turner biopic What’s Love Got to Do With It, inducted Turner for the second time — she had already been inducted in 1991 as one half of Ike & Tina Turner. As Bassett noted, “What brings us here tonight is Tina’s journey to independence. For Tina, hope triumphed over hate…ambition eclipsed adversity.”
Turner herself didn’t attend; she sent a pre-recorded thank you instead. Instead, country star Mickey Guyton took the stage in Tina’s iconic ’80s uniform of denim jacket and black leather dress to sing “What’s Love Got to Do With It.” Then, country star Keith Urban and Oscar-winning R&B star H.E.R. sang “It’s Only Love.” Urban stepped in last-minute for Bryan Adams, Tina’s original duet partner on the song, who’d tested positive for COVID.
Christina Aguilera brought it all home with a stunning rendition of the Ike & Tina Turner classic, “River Deep, Mountain High.”
—Drew Barrymore inducted the Go-Go’s, and recreated the cover of their album Beauty and the Beat by wrapping herself in a bath towel and applying face cream. “Beauty and the Beat blew the doors of my life off,” she told the crowd, adding, “They made me believe in things that weren’t possible.”
Accepting their honor, bass player Kathy Valentine said now that the Go-Go’s had been inducted, they’d be “advocating for the inclusion of more women,” adding, “Here is the thing: There would not be less of us if more of us were visible.” The band then rocked the crowd with “Vacation,” “Our Lips Are Sealed” and “We Got the Beat.”
–Other honorees included JAY-Z, inducted by Dave Chappelle and Foo Fighters, inducted by Paul McCartney.
The ceremony will air on HBO on November 20.
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