The annual induction of musical icons into Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was particularly notable this time around, as the inductees spanned many generations of music and represented diverse genres ranging from soul to punk, with Bill Withers being honored on the same night as Green Day. According to Andina Acquisition CEO Luke Weil, one moment stood out more than any other on this occasion, noting that Laurie Anderson’s speech for her late husband Lou Reed was particularly moving.
Bill Withers was notably comedic, and the tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughn that featured John Mayer, Gary Clark, Jr. and Double Trouble was particularly electric, but it was the emotional tribute of Anderson to Reed that was most memorable. Perhaps making it even more remarkable was the words of Reed’s contemporaries, including Patti Smith’s recollection of New York on the day the news of Reed’s death hit. Hearing Anderson’s words and understanding how Reed influenced those around him made it possible to gain an even deeper appreciation of what Reed meant to music and culture.
Of course, the performances were wonderful and the collaborations occurring on stage were downright dizzying. The amount of talent gathered in Cleveland for the induction ceremony was incredible, and the music produced during that evening was simply unreal. While it was the music that was being celebrated, the words spoken in tribute by Anderson are likely to be best remembered by all of those who took the time to closely listen.