Last week's inaugural induction dinner for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ended, appropriately, with a raggedy on-stage jam session featuring all the living inductees and most of the inductors, though the first tune, "Roll Over, Beethoven," quickly cleared the stage. Its author, Chuck Berry, held on for one more song, but the Everly Brothers, Fats Domino, James Brown and Ray Charles all disappeared gracefully and left the stage of the Waldorf-Astoria Ballroom to the die-hards.
And though Jerry Lee Lewis did his best to dominate the flow of the music, Paul Shaffer, bandleader on the David Letterman show, managed to generate two nice moments. On the first, Stevie Winwood, who had inducted James Brown and who has not been heard from for several years, sang his old Spencer Davis Group hit, "Gimme Some Lovin'," with Keith Richards, Ron Wood and John Fogerty on guitar; Lewis, Shaffer and Neil Young on keyboards; Julian and Sean Lennon on tambourines, and David Sanborn on sax.
The same cast backed Fogerty up on "Proud Mary," which was a surprise: Fogerty has been saying for some time that he wouldn't be singing any of his old Creedence Clearwater Revival songs since he doesn't own them anymore and is in litigation with Saul Zaentz, the man who does. Hearing Fogerty made one want to hear him in concert again, but there is no word on a follow-up to last year's "Centerfield," much less on a tour.
One disconcerting note: Although the dinner and the first stages of the Hall of Fame Museum are being underwritten by the major American record companies, those same companies have had for the most part a disgraceful record in terms of sustaining the kind of history they seem to want to celebrate. Outside of Arista's series on the Savoy label and Atlantic's recent (and huge) collection tracing its rhythm and blues history, none of the majors has shown the consistent commitment of intelligent historical reissue programs like those from the Charley, Ace and Edsel labels out of England, or similar efforts from France and Sweden. Stateside, the most comprehensive reissue program has come from California's Rhino Records, which has put out several hundred carefully researched and annotated compilations by leasing the material from the majors.
Maybe the Hall of Fame will spur the majors on to something beyond lip service to rock history. The costs are certainly minimal on such projects, which may explain why MCA recently purchased (for $1 million) the historic Chess and Checker catalogues and is already planning a major reissue campaign. Speaking of history, Lewis confirmed that the biofilm on his career is going ahead, with Mickey Rourke playing the Killer. Asked if, in the wake of the trashing of Patsy Cline in "Sweet Dreams," he had any editorial control over the film, Lewis smiled and said, "Yes, I do. A .45 pistol." Going, Going . . .
"Good to Go," the ill-fated film about Washington's go-go scene, has been postponed a fourth time: It's now scheduled for early summer release, almost a year past its original date. Meanwhile, the very first rock festival/concert film, "Monterey Pop," is now available on home videocassette from Sony. Long a staple of the midnight movie circuit, D.A. Pennebaker's film about the 1967 California festival was a breakthrough work and, though sometimes marred by visual pretension, contains historic footage of Otis Redding, Janis Joplin with Big Brother and the Holding Company, Ravi Shankar, the Mamas and the Papas, Jefferson Airplane, the Animals, Simon and Garfunkel and those two classic amp-smashers, Pete Townshend of the Who and Jimi Hendrix. No word on whether Pennebaker's other celebrated 1967 documentary about Bob Dylan, "Don't Look Back," is headed for the VCR market. % Sex Pistols
Those actors making "Love Kills" -- the biofilm about eventual suicide Sex Pistol Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen, the girl he loved and killed -- might want separate trailers: Mark McGann and Kim Miyori, who recently played John Lennon and Yoko Ono in the NBC movie "The Ballad of John and Yoko," are about to get married in real life.
sk,3 The surviving Sex Pistols recently won a million pound judgment in England against their former manager, Malcolm McLaren. John Lydon (once Johnny Rotten), Paul Cook, Steve Jones and Vicious' mother, Anne Beverly, sued McLaren for royalties tied up in two of his management companies. Those companies were put into receivership in 1979, a year after the group broke up, but money continued to accumulate from record and film royalties. The Pistols finally took McLaren to High Court (he was asking for a share of the money for "services rendered") but after three days McLaren withdrew from the case and agreed to hand over control of the companies to the band in return for not having to pay their legal costs. They also won all available rights to "The Great Rock and Roll Swindle," the controversial and seldom-seen Sex Pistols semidocumentary that has been called the dark side of a "A Hard Day's Night."
Meanwhile, McLaren is in New York, putting the finishing touches on the theatrical version of his disco-opera "Fans," which will be getting a workshop production with Joseph Papp's Public Theatre in the next few months.