Janet Jackson, Stevie Nicks voice hopes of women at Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Inductee Janet Jackson speaks during the 2019 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Brooklyn, New York, US, on March 29, 2019. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (NYTimes) - For the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame's class of 2019, pop stardom is, roughly, a tale of two genders: powerful women who stand proudly alone, and well-behaved groups of men with too many bass players to mention.

For its 34th annual induction ceremony on Friday (March 29) at Barclays Centre in Brooklyn, the hall opened the pantheon to Janet Jackson, Stevie Nicks, Radiohead, Def Leppard, the Cure, Roxy Music and the Zombies.

But it was the women who left the strongest impression and made the most powerful statements at the microphone.

Nicks, the first woman to be inducted twice - she was already in as a member of Fleetwood Mac - kicked off the ceremony with a rundown of her solo hits like Stand Back and Edge Of Seventeen.

She was joined by Don Henley for Leather And Lace and Harry Styles for Stop Dragging My Heart Around, taking on Tom Petty's vocals while strumming a Telecaster.

"What I am doing is opening the door for other women to go, like, 'Hey man, I can do it'," Nicks said.

Jackson - introduced by singer-actress Janelle Monáe as "the legendary queen of black girl magic" - did not perform. But she drew roars from the arena as she described staking her own path apart from the dynasty of her famous brothers.

"As the youngest in the family, I was determined to make it on my own," she said.

"I wanted to stand on my own two feet. But never in a million years did I expect to follow in their footsteps. Tonight, your baby sister has made it in."

While Jackson spoke at length about her family, she did not mention Leaving Neverland, a documentary about two men who say Michael Jackson sexually abused them as children.

She never said her brother's name.

And the men? Def Leppard thanked their parents.

Robert Smith of the Cure cut short his own speech to perform.

Bryan Ferry was apologetic for using his time at the microphone to name so many names, from fellow musicians to mastering engineers.

And Radiohead was only partly present. Singer Thom Yorke and guitarist Jonny Greenwood have barely disguised their disinterest at the institution of the Rock Hall.

The five-man group was represented only by bassist Ed O'Brien and drummer Philip Selway.

According to one count, of the 888 people who have been inducted over the hall's history, just 69, or less than 8 per cent, have been women.

Wrapping up her speech, Janet Jackson gave the hall a nudge.

"Rock & Roll Hall of Fame," she said, "2020 - please induct more women."

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