DESPITE THE BLACK TIES AND FANCY duds, stars at the seventh annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum induction banquet Jan. 15 kept trying not to take themselves too seriously. “I hope this is coherent,” Keith Richards, 48, winner of the night’s Scruffiest Tux award, cackled to the New York Waldorf-Astoria crowd before saluting guitar maker Leo Fender. Fender, who died last year, was among 12 inductees, including Jimi Hendrix (who died in 1970), the Yardbirds, Sam and Dave, the Isley Brothers, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Johnny Cash and the laic rock impresario Bill Graham. All will one day be enshrined in a $65 million museum in Cleveland, where Hall of Fame chairman Ahmet Ertegun said work “might” begin on the long-delayed project next summer.
Some inductees were clearly moved by the proceedings. Rockabilly turned country singer Cash, 59, said, “It’s about the last thing I thought would happen to me.” Rhythm-and-blues great Bland, 62, a bit awed by the extravagant surroundings, recalled lean years on the road. “I managed to keep a few ham hocks on the table. I could use a few more dollars though.”