“What a disorienting, strange year we find ourselves in.”
That’s how Trent Reznor opened up his acceptance speech as Nine Inch Nails were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The quote aptly describes the times we’re living in and how an event as celebratory as the Rock Hall induction ceremony plays out in 2020.
Gone were the all-star performances paying tribute to this year’s class and the once-in-a-lifetime reunions that celebrated their induction. Despite the removal of the traditional elements, the Rock Hall induction ceremony honored the class of 2020 with a fantastic virtual event.
From guest speakers, tributes, and speeches from the inductees themselves, here are the best moments from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s induction ceremony.
Trent Reznor recognizes past and present Nine Inch Nails members
Some Rock Hall inductions have had uncomfortable moments where past members of a band were omitted due to tensions in the group. That wasn’t the case with Nine Inch Nails’ induction as Trent Reznor acknowledged everyone, past and present, that helped Nine Inch Nails get to where they are today. Nine Inch Nails were introduced by Iggy Pop with cameos from Miley Cyrus, St. Vincent, and others.
T’yanna and C.J. Wallace keep it in the family with Notorious B.I.G. tribute
T’yanna and C.J. Wallace paid tribute to their father, the Notorious B.I.G., during their speech as Biggie was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The Wallace's gave a shout out to their grandmother, who helped both kids get to know the type of person their father was. T’yanna also thanked the fans for helping her connect with her father. “Even though I didn’t get to know him as well as I wanted, through his fans and our family, I was able to see with my own eyes that his music transcended his hip hop industry.”
Charlize Theron admits she cried when she first saw Depeche Mode in concert
Prior to Depeche Mode’s induction speech, a video hosted by actress Charlize Theron played as she recounted the emotional experience seeing the band in concert for the first time. “I was moved to tears - I came home, I told my daughters about it, and I was also really f*****g pissed because I don’t normally go to rock concerts to bawl my eyes out,” she said. She then joked, “they should’ve been there 20 years ago if it was up to me.”
Cissy and Pat Houston accept Whitney Houston’s induction into the Rock Hall
The late Whitney Houston was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as her mother Cissy and her sister-in-law Pat Houston accepted the induction. Cissy gave an emotional speech saying, “she wanted to be something, not anything.” At the end of her speech, Cissy said, “What can I say? If I talk too long, I’ll cry, and I don’t wanna cry!”
Slash, Kirk Hammett, and Tom Morello pay tribute to the late Eddie Van Halen
Three iconic guitarists paid tribute to the late Eddie Van Halen during the Rock Hall’s induction ceremony. “I don’t think there’s anybody that’s picked up the guitar since 1978 that hasn’t been touched in some way by Eddie Van Halen’s influence. I’m going to miss his playing and I’m going to miss him as a friend,” Slash said during his tribute. Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett said “not since Jimi Hendrix had there been a guitar player that had so much impact,” while Tom Morello described Van Halen as “the Mozart of our generation.” While video footage of their tribute isn’t available yet, check out the video above featuring Slash and Velvet Revolver’s speech at the 2007 Rock Hall induction and a performance of Van Halen’s “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love.”