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'Fan girl' Ann Wilson to induct Moody Blues into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

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All it took for Ann Wilson to have the privilege of inducting the Moody Blues into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Saturday night was to write a letter.

“[The Rock Hall] said ‘write us a little letter of what you think about the band,’ and I did,” Wilson said in an interview this week with The Blade.

“I guess they must have cleared it with the band because I doubt whether the Moody Blues really know who I am. I’m just sort of a fan girl, you know?”

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Ann Wilson of Heart performs onstage at the Beacon Theatre in New York City on March 15, 2018. Saturday, Wilson wrote a letter to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for the honor of inducting The Moody Blues Saturday. Heart was inducted in 2013.

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Wilson be on stage at Public Hall in Cleveland giving her speech as part of the inductions ceremony. The Moody Blues, Bon Jovi, Dire Straits, the Cars, Nina Simone, and Sister Rosetta Tharpe will all be honored during the ceremony, which begins at 7:30 p.m.

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Wilson, along with her sister Nancy, has sold more than 35 million albums as a member of the band Heart, which is known for smash hits, such as “Crazy on You” and “Barracuda.”

Formed in 1964, the Moody Blues would change the face of rock and roll by incorporating symphonic orchestrations into its songs. Ray Thomas, Mike Pinder, Graeme Edge, John Lodge, and Justin Hayward put their band on the map with their hit single, “Nights in White Satin” in 1967.

While enrolled in art school art school in Seattle shortly after high school, Wilson had been a flute player and she latched onto the Moody Blues’ classical element.

Wilson’s initial letter to the Rock Hall shared her experience of hearing the Moody Blues’ 1967 album Days of Future Passed while tripping on acid, as well as her appreciation of the band introducing philosophy into the rock mainstream.

“By then I was dropping acid and stuff and I always [listened to] the Moody Blues on acid trips,” Wilson said. “I talked about how their music kind of accompanied me [in] being an outsider girl. I would be on dates with guys and the radio would be on and if the Moody Blues song came on I couldn’t concentrate on the guy; I would go straight into the music. It’s like I knew who they were. It was like they were my companions in tripiness.”

Before Wilson inducts the band Saturday, the city of Cleveland will witness a day full of live music and entertainment. On Friday, new exhibits were featured at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, including displays celebrating the new inductee exhibits.

“They had their first hit 54 years ago and they’ve sold 70 million albums worldwide and [are] still selling, still touring,” Wilson continued about the Moody Blues. “They obviously influenced a ton of progressive rock bands like Genesis and Yes and those types of bands. I don’t know why they haven’t been recognized until now.

“It might be because they’ve never played it cool. They’ve always been really honest, authentic, and approachable, and so they don’t have a cool element about them. I never saw them wearing sunglasses or anything or leather jackets.”

Wilson knows exactly how it feels from a musician’s standpoint to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Heart had the privilege in 2013.

“It’s an earthly material world honor,” she said. “I say it that way because rock and roll is a supposedly anti-establishment, supposedly noncorporate institution, at least at its inception it was.

“I think anyone who is a true rocker has a moment of pause whenever they think they’re going to be inducted. They’re either going to be inducted and they go, ‘Wait a minute, is this a true spirit of rock or not?’ But then once you get there and you get up there and you’re with your peers and getting that honor it really does mean a lot. It’s very flattering.”

Contact Geoff Burns at gburns@theblade.com or 419-724-6054.

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