How rock ‘n roll to bail on those who are trying to honor you.
Swedish hit factory ABBA and English prog rockers Genesis accepted inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in New York on Monday, despite prominent members staying away from the ceremony.
ABBA stars Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad drew salutes for hits including “Fernando” and “Dancing Queen,” but partners Bjorn Ulvaeus and Agnetha Faltskog weren't at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel Monday evening to share credit for the career nod, their absence unexplained.
With “Mama Mia!” actress Meryl Streep looking on in the audience, Lyngstad said don’t count on the band to play any reunion shows either.
Instead, fans in the crowd or watching at home on a live Fuse music network telecast were treated to one-fourth of an ABBA performance, with Andersson on the piano as country star Faith Hill sang "The Winner Takes It All."
"These songs have brought us all the way into the great Rock and Roll Hall of Fame," Andersson said, "and I speak for all of us ... we are deeply, deeply honored."
Ex-Genesis singer Peter Gabirel was also missing from the high-profile gig on Monday. But former bandmate Mike Rutherford said the musician had a “very legitimate and genuine excuse.”
“He's actually starting a tour,” Rutherford said.
Either way, Trey Anastasio, of Phish, paid tribute to both the Gabriel- and Phil Collins-fronted Genesis eras, performing "Watcher of the Skies" and "No Reply at All" with his band.
Anastasio told the hotel crowd he recalled buying Genesis albums as a teenager. He called the band "rebellious, restless and constantly striving for something more."
"Every musical rule and boundary was questioned and broken," he said. "It's impossible to overstate what impact this band and musical philosophy had on me as a young musician. I'm forever in their debt."
Similarly, Haiti-born musician Wyclef Jean said he was inspired as a youngster by listening to reggae artist Jimmy Cliff.
"When we saw Jimmy Cliff, we saw ourselves," Jean said in inducting the artist. "Meaning, coming from Haiti and the Caribbean, you have to see someone do it for you to be inspired to think you could do it. When I saw Jimmy Cliff, I could see my face."
The most punk rock of those honored on Monday, Iggy Pop, showed up for the black-tie affair to bask in the accolades for his work with the Stooges. But the raucous performer was soon delivering middle-finger salutes to the crowd.
He had his shirt off even before performing "Search and Destroy," and prowled through the audience for "I Wanna Be Your Dog."
"Roll over Woodstock," Pop said. "We won!"
For all their toughness, the Stooges seemed genuinely touched by the honor. Scott Asheton paid tribute to his brother and bandmate Ron Asheton, who died last year. Pop choked back tears in thanking his colleagues for getting back together and working.
"Here we are in the belly of the beast — a lot of power and money in this room," he said. "It's a big industry. If it makes the right decisions, it will stay an industry. Music is life, and life is not a business."
British Invasion harmony kings The Hollies, music mogul David Geffen, and a team of successful songwriters from the ‘50s and ‘60s were also among those inducted on Monday.