California Dreamin'
Rolling Stone - 1998

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Eagles, Fleetwood Mac and others inducted into R & R Hall of Fame

The theme in the ballroom of New York's Waldorf-Astoria Monday night could well have been California dreaming, as eight acts were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Of those, four -- Santana, the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, and the Mamas and the Papas were from the Golden State and at least two, Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles, seem to define the ups, downs and excesses of that state during the '70s. Also inducted were rockabilly star Gene Vincent and early rocker Lloyd Price, as well as producer Allen Toussaint, as a non-performer, and jazzman Jelly Roll Morton as an early influence.

\\The evening began with the bestowal of awards honoring Atlantic Records for its 50th anniversary and EMI records for its hundredth year. Then, Santana took the stage with original Fleetwood Mac guitarist Peter Green to play a bluesy, psychedelic version of "Black Magic Woman." Introduced by Arista President Clive Davis, Blues Traveler frontman John Popper inducted the band with a freestyle speech, saying he was "determined to wing it because that's what improvisation was all about." He referred to his opportunity years ago to jam with Carlos Santana as a sort of "graduation."

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Don Henley still can't kill the beast.

\\After Nona Hendryx performed "Son of a Preacher Man " to honor non-inductee Dusty Springfield, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks took the stage to play restrained versions of "Landslide" and "Big Love." Sheryl Crow spoke about the first time she saw the band, after which Mick Fleetwood accepted the award for the band in typically high style. Describing the band's career as "lunacy, heartache, happiness and unhappiness" -- not to mention a successful reunion -- he helped lead its most successful line-up through "Say That You Love Me." Founding guitarist Green did not join in.

\\After stepping up to the microphone and belting out the first verse of Gene Vincent's "Be-Bop-A-Lula," John Fogerty said, "What I'm trying to tell you is that it doesn't get much better than that." Later, he spoke of how "Gene Vincent had an image that was perfect for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: loud, self-assured and greasy." The late Vincent's award was accepted by his daughter, Melody Craddock.

\\Inducting New Orleans producer and songwriter Allen Toussaint, Robbie Robertson told of how he convinced Toussaint to arrange the horns for the live Band performance that become the album "Rock of Ages." Asked later if he minded coming in as a non-performer instead of a musician, Toussaint said, "If I were to come in as dogcatcher, it would be fine with me. This is incredible." Next, Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun honored jazz pioneer Jelly Roll Morton, who he credited with inventing jazz. "He took the ragtime tradition and brought it into a new world," Ertegun said later.

\\Calling the Mamas and the Papas "my biggest influence as a child, country star Shania Twain introduced the psychedelic folk group, who played -- surprise! -- "California Dreamin'." Accepting the award, Michelle Phillips said, "I have personal knowledge that [late singer] Cass Elliot is ... looking down on these proceedings in a size 6 dress." Next, Tony Rich inducted Lloyd Price, noting that without his "Stagger Lee," it would be hard to imagine Jimi Hendrix's "Hey Joe," Neil Young's "Down By the River" or gangsta rap. In one of the night's more star-studded jam, Allen Toussaint, John Fogerty, Chuck Berry and Johnnie Johnson joined him to perform the song.

\\The Eagles were honored by Jimmy Buffet, the man who turned "Take it Easy" into a way of life. Speaking before his bandmates, Don Henley spoke about the relationship of fame to accomplishment, saying he preferred to think the band was inducted because of artistry rather than fame. For his part, Glenn Frey used the opportunity to strike down the rumors of tensions within the group before the band closed the night by playing "Take it Easy" and "Hotel California," bringing the evening to an appropriately Golden State finish.\\\

Last Updated May 13, 2000
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