March 14, 2006
Sex Pistols spurn Hall of Fame, rebel rockers honored
By Claudia Parsons and Chris Michaud
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Rebel rockers Sex Pistols, Black
Sabbath and Lynyrd Skynyrd were finally ushered into the Rock
and Roll Hall of Fame on Monday after years of rejection but
the Sex Pistols didn't bother to show up.
The 2006 class of inductees also included jazz legend Miles
Davis and New Wave group Blondie, who made little secret of the
antagonism between current and past members of the band at a
ceremony marked by controversy, awkwardness and no-shows.
The ballroom of New York's Waldorf Astoria was packed with
aging, long-haired rockers decked out in suits and gowns.
Waiters in white ducked through swing doors adorned with
graffiti to match a stage set designed to bring an air of seedy
rock to the luxury of the chandeliered ballroom.
Musicians become eligible for consideration 25 years after
their first recording and for several of those honored on
Monday, the induction came too late for them to enjoy it.
Davis died of a stroke in 1991, Sex Pistols bassist Sid
Vicious died of a drug overdose in 1979 and several members of
Lynyrd Skynyrd died in a 1977 plane crash.
Living up to their reputation for thumbing their nose at
the establishment, the Sex Pistols snubbed the ceremony.
Still remembered for outraging British society with such
nihilistic anthems as "Anarchy in the U.K.," the punk rockers
faxed a letter to organizers saying: "We're not your monkey."
"Next to the Sex Pistols, Rock and Roll and that hall of
fame is a piss stain," said the letter which was read out by
Hall of Fame vice president Jann Wenner.
British heavy metal pioneers Black Sabbath and Southern
band Lynyrd Skynyrd were also rejected previously by the 700 or
so "rock experts" who vote on a shortlist, but both turned up.
The original crew of Blondie were inducted into the Hall of
Fame but it was the band's current lineup led by a red-haired
Deborah Harry who performed three of their hits, including
"Call Me." There was an awkward moment when the original band
members said they wanted to join in but and were turned down.
Guitarist Chris Stein said backstage law suits over
royalties had soured relations.
Black Sabbath, formed by four friends from Birmingham,
England, almost 40 years ago, chose not to perform but singer
Ozzy Osbourne, who was kicked out of the band in the late
1970s, said that was not because of any antagonism.
"If we'd have played everyone would have been fucking dead
at the end, the volume we play at," said Osbourne, the
self-proclaimed "prince of darkness" who recently had a popular
revival on the television reality series about his family, "The
Osbourne said that he was happy to be given the honor,
despite anything he may have said to the contrary on the seven
previous occasions when the band was rejected. "I thought at
the end of the day they're never going to do it," he said.
Fellow heavy metal stars Metallica introduced the band,
noting the honor came "a decade or so late," before performing
the Black Sabbath songs "Iron Man" and "Hole in the Sky."
Like Black Sabbath, Florida band Lynyrd Skynyrd was one of
the biggest and hardest-living bands of the 1970s. They played
their best known hit "Sweet Home Alabama."
Several of Miles Davis's children accepted the honor on his
behalf. "Father changed the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,"
Davis's daughter Cheryl said backstage, recalling his jazz
roots and his impact on other musicians.
Trumpeter Herb Alpert and business partner Jerry Moss, the
founders of A&M Records, were inducted as nonperformers.
Former Police frontman Sting introduced the pair,
describing how they started the A&M record label back in 1962
with an initial investment of $100 each and built it into one
of the most successful independent record labels.