The spoken words of music royalty will be the centerpiece of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s first podcast.
The “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Vault,” premiering Friday (Nov. 6), will feature replays of the most famous induction ceremony speeches culled from the org’s past 35 years.
The podcast is being produced with and distributed by radio and podcast giant iHeartMedia. The first episodes will debut Nov. 6 as a lead-in to this year’s rescheduled Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony special (which airs Saturday starting at 8 p.m. ET/PT on HBO and HBO Max).
The first four episodes of the HOF podcast will feature the Beatles inducted by Mick Jagger (1988); N.W.A inducted by Kendrick Lamar (2016); the Eagles inducted by Jimmy Buffett (1998); and Stevie Nicks inducted by Harry Styles (2019). Another batch of four will go up on Nov. 13, with additional episodes premiering every Friday through the end of the year, with a second season set for early 2021.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has been interested in creating a podcast for two years, according to president and CEO Greg Harris. Its original concepts involved staff experts providing deep analysis of rock history. But, said Harris, “We kept coming back to the idea that the gold was the artists talking about the people who influenced them.”
“Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Vault” will center on the speeches themselves, not the music performances. “In a podcast, people are listening to the words without the screen,” Harris said. “It elevates the theater of the mind.”
In some cases, the podcast will feature previously unreleased material, as the HOF speeches are sometimes truncated for TV broadcast. “We’ve had snippets of things released on our website and YouTube, but this is going back to the original masters in the vault,” Harris said.
The not-for-profit Rock and Roll Hall of Fame picked iHeart as a partner to tap into its broad distribution and production expertise, Harris said. Initially the podcast will not have any ads, but that could change if the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame finds a sponsor “to do that appropriately,” he added.
Harris admitted it was a challenge to select the HOF induction speeches that will be featured on the podcast from the 338 honorees to date. “How do you pick the first four — or the first 30?” he asked. The initial four were chosen to reflect “the broad umbrella of rock and roll,” he said. Each episode of “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Vault” will include a short intro by Risa Goehrke, the organization’s director of brand and content strategy.
Here’s the list of inductees/presenters that the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Vault” series will include:
- Stevie Nicks / Harry Styles
- The Beatles / Mick Jagger
- N.W.A / Kendrick Lamar
- The Eagles / Jimmy Buffett
- Queen / Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins
- Prince / Alicia Keys and Outkast
- Stevie Wonder / Paul Simon
- Joan Jett & the Blackhearts / Miley Cyrus
- Janet Jackson / Janelle Monáe
- Bruce Springsteen / Bono
- Tupac Shakur / Snoop Dogg
- Jackson 5 / Diana Ross
- The Cure / Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails
- Bonnie Raitt / Melissa Etheridge
- The Staple Singers / Lauryn Hill
- Pearl Jam / David Letterman
- Joan Baez / Jackson Browne
- Metallica / Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers
- Gladys Knight & the Pips / Mariah Carey
- The Moody Blues / Ann Wilson of Heart
The 35th annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees — who may be featured in upcoming episodes of the podcast series — are: Depeche Mode, the Doobie Brothers, Whitney Houston, Nine Inch Nails, the Notorious B.I.G. and T. Rex.
All episodes of the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Vault” podcast series will be distributed through the iHeartPodcast Network, available on all major podcast platforms including the iHeartRadio app.
“Over the past 35 years, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremonies have become renowned for their impassioned and sometimes outrageous acceptance speeches,” Conal Byrne, president of the iHeartPodcast Network, said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to bring the most iconic moments of past and present music infamy to fans around the world and continue to share what’s made the event special in the past and for years to come.”
By the way, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame museum in Cleveland has been open since June 15 with COVID safety protocols. Since then, it’s received more than 75,000 visitors, according to Harris.
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