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The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's Most Uncomfortable Moments

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Congratulations, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This year you did it again with your impeccably bad timing.

In the ghastly tradition of ignoring legendary artists long after their initial 25-year eligibility came around, only to have them die within a year of their induction (see: Dusty Springfield, Donna Summer, Chris Squire of Yes, Ron Asheton of the Stooges, and Mike Smith of the Dave Clark Five), the Hall finally deemed The Moody Blues worthy after refusing them entry for 28 years. Which is, coincidentally, the same number of years The Moody Blues topped most fans' lists of the Hall's most glaring omissions.

Despite what you might think of albums bookended with poems and packaged to resemble God's private record collection, the Moody Blues contributed something significant to the rock landscape and didn't deserve to wait behind some vocal groups who didn't wrote any of their material and others who didn't even sing on all their records. Now, add to the list of posthumous inductees Ray Thomas, the Moody Blues’ flutist whose death from prostrate cancer on January 4 robbed him of the chance to stand alongside Moodys past and present at the podium. For the surviving members and their fans, the band's induction night will likely be more bitter than bittersweet.

Even without interventions from the Grim Reaper, The Hall has always given us plenty of discomforting moments and inductions where former band members came together only to demonstrate how much disunity was actually taking going on behind the scenes. Here's a look back at 10 of them.

The Beatles (1988)

Beatles suing Beatles is nothing new, but Paul McCartney's no-show at the Hall of Fame because a lawsuit had once again made him the most unpopular Beatle since earning the "Breaker-Upper of the Beatles" title in 1970. That's not to mention enraging fellow Maharishi Mahesh Yogi disciple Mike Love (see below). George Harrison seemed as uncomfortable “supposedly representing the Beatles, it's what's left, I'm afraid." Here’s where we really needed Ringo, at his joking zenith just months before rehab, unable to read his prepared speech without taking off his shades and interrupting George's speech to ask why the Paul Schaefer band didn't play "Octopus' Garden" when they came onstage.

The Beach Boys (1988)

Even though Brian Wilson's robotic acceptance speech made sentiments like "I only wish my brother Dennis were here tonight; we miss him" sound as impersonal as a kid forced to read a social studies textbook in front of the class, no one doubts that Brian's mission statement — "I wanted to write joyful music that made other people feel good" — was sincere.

But making other people feel good seemed to be the last thing Mike Love was looking to do. First, Love took Macca and Diana Ross to task for not being there because of “internecine battles” with their bandmates. Then he started challenging every inductee to a battle of the bands. "The Beach Boys did about 180 performances last year; I'd like to see the Mop Tops match that. I'd like to see Mick Jagger jump onstage and do 'I Get Around' versus 'Jumping Jack Flash' any day now." Later in his speech, he said that Jagger has "always been chickenshit to get onstage with the Beach Boys."

Apparently, Love's seating arrangement next to Muhammad Ali put him in a sparring mood as he challenged the Boss to jam and Billy Joel to demonstrate if he could stick tickle ivories. With all this tough love on display, you wished Dennis Wilson was still alive to flick off Love's baseball hat and expose his bald pate, as he did in concerts throughout 1978 before Mike Love filed a restraining order. Ironically, all those people did wind up onstage for the finale all-star jam. There is no evidence of them playing “I Get Around,” but we can see a clip of Mike Love joining "chickenshit" Jagger on “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction."

Phil Spector (1989)

Maybe because he was not inducted as a performer (or because he’s now a convicted murderer), any Hall of Fame footage of the Wall of Sound's creator has been scrubbed from the internet. Although he wasn't a performer, his acceptance speech consisted of rambling incoherently and falling off the stage. Which certainly qualifies as entertaining. Even without the wigs.

Creedence Clearwater Revival (1993)

The first year The Hall came up with the bright idea that inducted bands with the original lineup should participate in an all-star jam was the year they inducted Creedence, a band with so much bad blood it bordered on coagulation. Doug Clifford, Stu Cook, and the late Tom Fogerty's son all thanked Fantasy Records, the label that sued John Fogerty for plagiarizing himself in a landmark court case. Clifford even mentioned Saul Zaentz, owner of Fantasy Records and the target of Fogerty's uncomplimentary "Zanz Kant Dance" in his thanks, pretty much ensuring John was gonna be playing "Fortunate Son" with The Boss instead of his former bandmates.

The Lovin' Spoonful (2000)

The band who became known for playing "Good Time Music" were all hugs and affection at the podium — a nice change of pace at the usually rancorous Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The unpleasantness began when The Lovin’ Spoonful played their set. John Sebastian's voice was incapable of carrying one note successfully to the other, and we later found out he had throat problems since surgery in the early '90s. Sebastian still managed to tour for years after that, with audiences trying not to think of Sebastian's larynx when he croaks "the back of my neck getting dirty and gritty."

Blondie (2006)

It's always awkward when past members of the band are not invited to play at their own induction ceremony, but former Blondie guitarist Frank Infante lived up to his last name by faux-begging Debbie Harry with an "awwww, pretty please" to let him and former bassist Nigel Harrison take their rightful places onstage. Harry came off more like Dirty Harry, shooting down the suggestion of a full Blondie reunion when she took the mic to let Infante and Harrison know their services were no longer required. "Can't you see my band is up there," she said, rattling off the names of her three new hires. "Are they being inducted?" Infante blurts back. Then it's up to Nigel Harrison to reiterate that it sucks not being allowed to play, adding, "It's nice to see everyone out of the courtroom." The induction ends with a smattering of bewildered cricket applause.

The Ramones (2002)

It wasn't seeing the Ramones minus Joey for the first time that was psychically wounding. Nor was it the fact that Dee Dee had to congratulate himself because no one else name-checked him. It was Johnny Ramone ending his thanks with "God bless George W. Bush" that reminded you that the meanest Ramone was basically your right-wing uncle in a Moe Howard wig.

The Sex Pistols (2006)

When Johnny Rotten and the boys refused their induction, it was left to Hall gatekeeper Jann Wenner (the guy all you Monkees fans send your petitions to each year) to read a fax from Johnny Lydon explaining all that was really Rotten about the proceedings. "Next to the Sex Pistols, rock and roll and that Hall of Fame are a piss stain. Urine is wine. We're not coming. You're not paying attention. Outside there's a shitstorm that's a real sex pistol." All that was missing to make it a bona fide punk rock moment was Steve Jones calling Jann "a dirty ol' fucker."

The Ronettes (2007)

Long before the Wall of Sound had windows with bars on them, Phil Spector was spending his twilight years writing letters to the Hall of Fame, petitioning that his ex-wife, her sister, and her cousin did not deserve entry into the Hall because only Ronnie Spector sang on the records and the others' contributions weren't enough to merit placement next to past inductees. It must've worked, since they weren't inducted until March 12, 2007, seven days before Phil's trial for the murder of actress Lana Carlson was set to begin. To drive home the point of how Phil wasn't even mentioned that evening, Ronnie made sure to say, "Thanks to Stu Phillips, our first producer." (Insert throat clearing sound.) They could've thrown further shade on Killer Phil and commented on the case at the same time by performing the flop 1961 Colpix single that Stu Phillips produced. Title? Why, "He Did It," of course.

The Stooges (2010)

The injustice of Madonna getting into the Hall of Fame before fellow Michiganders Iggy and the Stooges was not lost on the Material Girl, who requested the Stooges perform in her place for her 2008 induction ceremony. Sadly, by the time they were officially recognized by the Hall two years later, they were down to three Stooges: Iggy, Scott Asheton, and James Williamson. Iggy made his speech, a mixture of bemusement at how few true Stooges fans could afford $1,200 tickets and genuine, choked-up tears. Thankfully, the Igmeister had the good sense to change the mood by taking off his shirt during Williamson's prepared text.

Steve Miller (2016)

No one was laughing when The Joker unloaded his grievances about the whole induction process. And the proceedings had little to do with speaking of the “pompatus of love,” whatever that means. ”[The organizers] need to respect the artists they say they’re honoring, which they don't," he said. His biggest gripe? Getting two free tickets and then getting charged $10,000 for every ticket after that. "What about my band? What about their wives? They make it so unpleasant." Miller appeared on Howard Stern's Sirius radio show a few weeks after his induction, pledging to have the Hall's music education charities audited. He was more succinct on satellite radio about how he felt about the whole ordeal: "Fuck the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame."

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