fogerty_LEAD

Pre-Cleveland Rock City, deciders of the Rock Powers that Be – Ahmet Ertegun (Atlantic Records), Jann Wenner (Rolling Stone) and other music exec suits – kicked off the inaugural Hall of Fame at the Waldorf-Astoria’s Grand Ballroom in NYC on this day in 1986, simultaneously kicking off a banding of customary jams that are more often than not hilariously awkward – see Eddie Vedder try his best Jim Morrison in ’93 aside Ray Manzarak’s odd circus key treatment of “Light My Fire,” or CSN, Emmylou Harris and James Taylor in ’97 watch their audience fumble the chorus to “Teach Your Children” so bad it should be an ESPN highlight. It’s like there’s a curse or something.

Perhaps we can blame this on John Fogerty and some of the Stones hobbling around with a noncommittal Paul Schaffer and The Killer’s robot piano fill on “Proud Mary.” Fogerty, for what it’s worth, probably didn’t want to play the song, anyway, as he was still trying to bury the hatchet with remaining members of Creedence. But Fogerty is actually nailing the simple-times sentiments of the song, while Keef hambones it up like a clown and Ron Wood and company look about as happy as caged zoo animals. Thus begins the the birth of the awkward Hall of Fame jam, forever trying to make Mary proud:

Big wheel keep on turnin’
Proud Mary keep on burnin’
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river

If you come down to the river
Bet you gonna find some people who live
You don’t have to worry ’cause you have [if you got] no money
People on the river are happy to give