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HBO airs Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction

Rappers Flavor Flav, left, and Chuck D of

Rappers Flavor Flav, left, and Chuck D of Public Enemy perform at the 2009 VH1 Hip Hop Honors at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on Sept. 23, 2009. Credit: AP

CONCERT "2013 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony"

WHEN | WHERE Debuts at 8 p.m. Saturday on HBO

REASON TO WATCH Roosevelt hip-hop group Public Enemy, rockers Rush and Heart, bluesman Albert King, singer-songwriter Randy Newman, disco queen Donna Summer, legendary producer Quincy Jones and manager Lou Adler join the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

WHAT IT'S ABOUT Rock and roll is a living art form, one that changes with each artistic and technological innovation. This year's induction ceremony, at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles in April, was designed to stretch the genre's boundaries -- welcoming groundbreaking hip-hop group Public Enemy into the fold alongside disco pioneer Summer, while also honoring some of rock's most dependable stars, Rush, Heart and Newman, all of whom have deserved induction for years.

Public Enemy's Chuck D. addressed all the "there goes the neighborhood" talk about the group's worthiness for a rock honor in his acceptance speech. "Let us not forget, we all come from the damn blues," he said. "Let's not get it twisted."

The band then followed it up with a fiery performance of the guitar-heavy "Bring the Noise" that should have put the question to rest. The finale of Robert Johnson's "Crossroads" -- featuring John Fogerty, Chris Cornell, Tom Morello, Gary Clark Jr. and members of Heart, Rush and Foo Fighters -- was also reworked by Chuck D. and DMC to state, "The blues gave birth to rock and roll."

Leave it to Jones, who famously produced the unifying "We Are the World," to bring the night's disparate parts together, saying, "I truly feel as if I've finally arrived at the family reunion."

MY SAY The HBO editors certainly had their work cut out for them, trying to cut the more than five-hour extravaganza down to a manageable three hours. Memorable performances -- including Jennifer Hudson's take on Summer's "Bad Girls" and Heart's lovely "Dreamboat Annie" -- had to go. So did a lot of Jones' acceptance speech, though Oprah Winfrey's intro to his induction was intact, as well as Harry Belafonte's induction of Public Enemy. However, the editors did manage to crystallize all the speeches to their most salient points -- even Flavor Flav's wild, rambling speech became a nice thank you to Chuck D., who refused record contracts that didn't include Flav.

BOTTOM LINE Broadening the definition of rock, paying tribute to everyone's role.


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