Joel Peresman (‘Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony’ exec. producer): It’s ‘music’s highest honor’ [Exclusive Video Interview]

“The ‘Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony’ is truly music’s highest honor because we’re honoring artists that are generational,” says Joel Peresman, CEO of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation. He also served as an executive producers for the live broadcast that aired on November 3, 2023 on Disney+. Watch our video interview above.

“They’re not one hit wonders,” he continues. “They’re not people that come and go. They’re artists that have had lasting impact on other artists, on society, on culture, their impact is immeasurable.” The 2023 honorees included Kate Bush, Sheryl Crow, Missy Elliott, George Michael, Willie Nelson, Rage Against the Machine and The Spinners.

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Elliott made history as the first female hip-hop artist inducted, and Peresman addresses critics who complain that certain artists inducted don’t fit the “rock & roll” mold. “Well, rock and roll is a broad tent,” he asserts. “We get those letters. Wait, Jay-Z doesn’t play any instrument. The idea of rock and roll being bass guitar, drums, and a singer, that’s not what rock and roll is. Look at the history of rock and roll. Look at how it started with R&B. It started with early country. You can trace it back to where rock’s roots really came from, from Blues that developed into country. Bill Haley & the Comets kind of took things and Chuck Berry took things, and then it just blew out into all these different tributaries. It all came from the same river. It’s just a lot of different tributaries and people.”

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“That’s our job to tell why this artist deserves to be inducted,” he continues. Why Nina Simone was important to be inducted. Why Donna Summer was important to be inducted. Why Carole King was important to be inducted. Why Jay-Z, why NWA, why Eminem? It’s a broad tent. It’s just not bass guitar, drums. It’s evolved. People, and especially the artists of the 80s and 90s, they’re telling different stories in different ways, but it’s all rock and roll to us, to quote one of our other inductees.”

Peresman shares that some of the most special moments are the rare collaborations we see on stage each year. “Like this year on this particular show, Olivia Rodrigo came and played with Sheryl Crow. She loves Sheryl Crow. A couple of years ago, Stevie Nicks was inducted by Harry Styles. We look to make that connection for the inductees to the younger artists because you can trace everything back to the original roots of rock and roll. But our job as an institution is to really teach people and engage people of what the importance of these artists and these inductees are and how it carries forward.”

“The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony” has been submitted for Best Variety Special (Live) at the 2024 Emmys.

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