I consider myself uniquely qualified and exceedingly opinionated, having visited the museum hundreds of times, attended many events related to the museum (though only one induction, in 2012, but soon to be two), I bought the 10 DVD boxed set of induction videos when it came out a few years ago, and most importantly, I carefully listened to all the entries yesterday evening on my big hi-fi at as high a volume as I could take it.
So I mercilessly rated all the nominated performances from 1 to 10. The obvious favorite is posted in the #1 position on their page - the sublime While My Guitar Gently Weeps performance from 2004.
- While my Guitar Gently Weeps 2004 - I get chills every time. One wrong note sticks out. Still a ... 10
- Let it Be 1999- horrible rubbish. 2
- Roll Over Beethoven 1986- the real deal - Jerry Lee! Keith! A real JAM. 8
- Sweet Emotion 2001 -Nice Take on the song! Totally rockin. 8
- Light my Fire 1993 - Nice, nice Doors + Don Was and Eddie Vedder. Acid. 7
- I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For 2005 - UBoss 7
- When the Levee Breaks - Neil Young and Crazy Zeppelin. He dominates ANY band! 8
- I Saw Her Standing There 1988 - Fun jam. Jeff Beck guitar solo! So many great moments. Dylan! 7
- In the Midnight Hour 1999 - The most soulful! 6
- The Weight 1994 - Best song of this bunch. Well performed. 7
- Honky Tonk Woman 1989 - Best party (just cuz it's the Stones for cryin out loud). 6
- Green Onions 1992 - Really bad. Keith, the Edge, Johnny freakin Cash, Neil Young, Joh... aw nevermind. 1
- Blue Suede Shoes 1987 - Carl totally carries an otherwise poor performance. 5
- Sunshine of Your Love 1993 - CREAM, A bit slower but better than ever. Real rock and roll. 6
- Enter Sandman 2009 - Welcome to Cleveland. 6
- I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch) 2003 - lost jam but lots of joy! 5
- Come Together 1994 - Good tribute to John Lennon. 6
- You've Lost That Loving Feeling 2003 - The vocals are hard to take. 1
- Last Night I Said Goodbye to My Friend 1996 - They should do this again in 2015. 4
- Hey Bo Diddley 1987 - Paul Butterfield rocks! 5
- Teach Your Children 1997 - CSN & JT. A bit rough. 3
- Teenage Lobotomy, Rockaway Beach, Blitzkrieg Bop 2002 - Green Day showing why they are being inducted. Great covers. 7
- Respect Yourself/I'll Take You There 1999 - nice. 6
- Higher Ground 2012 - I was there! It's about how I remember it. A cacophony at 1:30 in the morning. 6
- Wish You Were Here 1996 - Nice unplugger. 6
- Barracuda 2013 - Still works. The Gibson SG sounds great. What a riff. 6
- Crossroads 2013 - Geddy Freeking Lee! Great synthesis of performers. Dave Grohl. One of the best thanks to Geddy. 9
- Paradise City 2012 - Clevelander Gilby Clarke has the smallest ego on stage and should also be inducted. 6
- It's So Easy 2014 - I saw Linda in 1973. This did not capture that spirit. 4
- Smells Like Teen Spirit 2014 - Joan Jett channeling Kurt. Outstanding. 7
It was a lot of fun to watch them all. It took hours to do! After all the careful listening, While My Guitar Gently Weeps is still solidly number one. Crossroads is a surprise #2!
Early on I was impressed with Billy Joel taking the lead in I Saw Her Standing There and elsewhere, but I also quickly hated Paul Schaefer's contributions. He did not belong on stage with the others, and he kept showing up, ruining many of the songs. Sorry, Paul. It didn't work.
I hope there will be great moments at this year's induction. Ringo and Paul can't help but be cool, Stevie Wonder inducting Bill Withers sounds exciting, and I look forward to Joan Jett. Green Day opened the 2012 inductions with a nice little set and a dozen f-bombs about the audience that arrived in a comatose state (and by the end at 1:30, we were mostly zombies). Hopefully we will be a better audience this year, but the line up looks huge again and I don't see how they can make it through the proceedings without going late into the night. Bring a blankie and pillow.