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Rock Hall of Fame shows get a three-disc set for the ages
Mick Jagger can’t recall who suggested Gimme Shelter as his ideal symbiotic exercise with U2 for last year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame shows in New York.
“Bono and I were throwing around ideas,” Jagger says. “Gimme Shelter seemed like a good one. It always works. We rehearsed the night before and tried different tempos and a few different arrangements.”
The 1969 Rolling Stones classic, with Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas tackling Merry Clayton’s role, is among 67 performances on The 25th Anniversary Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Concerts (Time Life, $40), a three-DVD set out this week.
Their blazing version is an undeniable highlight on the all-star collection, but it may have been a rematch. “I’ve got a sneaky feeling that Fergie’s guested on it with the Stones before, when we did shows with the Peas,” Jagger says. At the Madison Square Garden event, “Fergie was very good. She’s not fazed by anything. She’s right there, happy in every situation.”
He also joined Bono on U2’s Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of, a single from 2000’sAll That You Can’t Leave Behind. Bono’s suicide-themed song, an imagined argument with late INXS singer Michael Hutchence, wasn’t entirely unfamiliar to Jagger.
“I was in the session at Island when that album was being recorded,” he says. “I did background vocals for (Stuck) with my daughter Elizabeth. We didn’t actually finish them, and they were never used.”
Jagger was the third act to sign on after Rock Hall chairman Jann Wenner enlisted U2 and Bruce Springsteen for two historic music marathons of big hits and fantasy collaborations by an ambitious roster including Jerry Lee Lewis, Smokey Robinson, Aretha Franklin, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Billy Joel, Ray Davies, Buddy Guy, Sam Moore, Sting, James Taylor, B.B. King and Crosby, Stills & Nash.
The two-night stand, which aired a month later as a four-hour HBO special, raised roughly $5 million for Cleveland’s rock shrine and served up such choice combos as Jeff Beck and Billy Gibbons on Foxey Lady, Springsteen and John Fogerty on Fortunate Son, Metallica and Lou Reed on Sweet Janeand Paul Simon and Dion on The Wanderer.
A bonus disc of mash-ups not shown on HBO boasts Springsteen and Tom Morello’s London Calling, Stevie Wonder and John Legend’s Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) and Simon & Garfunkel’s Mrs. Robinson.
Such rare matchups are vital to a momentous rock summit, Jagger says. “Otherwise, it’s just a procession of people.”
He’s pleased that rock’s big tent accommodated genres from soul to metal to blues but wishes the shows had been less Boomer-centric.
“I kept saying to Jann that there should have been more younger artists,” says Jagger, 67. “But most of the artists were chosen because they were in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and you don’t get in if you’ve only been going a couple of years.”
And while the DVD set pops the seams at 5Ω hours, Jagger’s sorry some ragged edges didn’t make the cut.
“Patti Smith did a duet with Bruce Springsteen that had a few false starts because she couldn’t hear,” he says. “It’s a pity you can’t see that because it was funny. Well, maybe it wasn’t so funny for her. It wasn’t her fault, and she got through it really well.
“There were one or two glitches,” he says. “There are always one or two people who get nervous. But everyone was vibed up to do it, and it was well put-together. Most of these people know each other, so it was very friendly. It was a real enjoyable experience.”