The 1990 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony filled the Waldorf-Astoria with a mix of R&B, British Invasion rock & roll, and pop. Like the year before, the night veered from the moving to the maniacal. Rock & roll pioneer Hank Ballard danced onstage after Boz Scaggs' presentation, but then broke down when thanking his wife and manager, Theresa MacNeil, who had recently been killed by a hit-and-driver.
Though the Hall of Fame inductions are no-holds-barred, the pall of censorship colored the opening remarks of Bob Krasnow, thanks to recent obscenity charges against rappers 2 Live Crew. Said Krasnow, "The way some people still perceive rock music hasn't changed since the days of Elvis, Chuck Berry, and Little Richard. We're still under siege, we're still under attack. Rock & roll continues to serve each generation as its own frontier. Our challenge is not only to give the music a forum, but more importantly, to let music speak. Aldous Huxley, a man who certainly had a vision of a future out of control, wrote: 'Thanks to words, we have been able to rise above the brutes, and thanks to words, we have often sunk to the level of demons.' Yeah, poetry is written in words, but legislation is written in words, and one exalts while one the other confines, sometimes controls, and even destroys. So tonight while we celebrate the idea of rock & roll, tomorrow, we have to protect its future."