Hall of Fame’s Class of ’09
On April 4 in Cleveland, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame will induct a diverse group, from metal titans to rap pioneers. A guide to this year’s class
Rising out of the Eighties Los Angeles metal scene, Metallica perfected thrash metal with their early albums and went on to become the biggest metal band in the world with 1991’s Black Album, which has sold more than 14 million copies.
They’re in the midst of a world tour to support last year’s Rick Rubin-produced Death Magnetic, which debuted at Number One. “We’re having one of the best years we’ve had for as long as we can remember,” says drummer Lars Ulrich. “And, internally, it feels better than ever.”
“I’m fucking psyched that anybody still gives a shit about this band,” Ulrich adds. “I’m not going to give a whole spiel about ‘come back in 20 years’ or something. I’ll take the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame right now, thank you very much. The only scary thing is that it confirms that we’re actually in our 40s.”
The New York trio were hip-hop’s first true superstars. Their 1986 album Raising Hell – featuring ‘Walk This Way’ and ‘My Adidas’ – was a crossover smash and proved the genre was no fad.
After the murder of Jam Master Jay in 2002, the group broke up. Darryl “DMC” McDaniels and Joseph “Run” Simmons both released solo albums in recent years.
“Never in a billion years would I think that this would happen to a Catholic-school kid from Queens,” DMC says. “We were just rapping and having fun.”
One of rock’s greatest guitar virtuosos, Beck replaced Eric Clapton in the Yardbirds in 1965. He went on to form the Jeff Beck Group with Rod Stewart and Ron Wood, and in the Seventies he found success with a series of jazz-fusion albums.
On tour in Australia; Beck will play two dates in Japan with Clapton in February.
“With the Yardbirds’ induction [in 1992], I feel like I got in as part of a box set,” says Beck. “But nothing can hold a candle to being recognised on your own. It’s an ego trip!”
Little Anthony and the Imperials
Still teenagers when they scored their first hit, 1958’s ‘Tears on My Pillow,’ the Brooklyn R&B vocalists continued to hit the charts with Sixties singles like ‘Goin’ Out of My Head’ and ‘Hurt So Bad.’
The group still tours year-round and recently released an album featuring new songs and rerecorded versions of its classics.
“It’s been long overdue,” says founder Clarence Collins. “But better late than never. I don’t want to get it when I’m dead.”
A protégé of Sam Cooke, Womack cut his teeth playing guitar on hits by Aretha Franklin and Sly Stone. He also wrote the Rolling Stones’ first hit single, 1964’s ‘It’s All Over Now,’ before finding solo success.
Womack is reissuing his early-1980s comeback records as The Poet I & II in February.
“When I first got the news, I wanted to call Sam Cooke,” says Womack. “Seventy per cent of the people I used to work with aren’t around, so it’s a thrill to go where some of my buddies are.”