David Byrne Inducts Radiohead Into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Talking Heads frontman David Byrne inducted Radiohead into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame during a ceremony tonight at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
"They richly deserve this honor for two reasons," Byrne said. "Their music, the quality and constant innovation, but equally for their innovations in how they release their work — that has affected the entire music business, and there’s quite a few people in the music business in this room tonight. They’re creative and smart in both areas, a rare and inspiring combination."
The selection of Byrne for the event was especially fitting, given that band took its name from the 1986 Talking Heads song “Radio Head.”
"I was surprised and very flattered when Radiohead stated that, yes, they named themselves after a song I’d written," Byrne said. "But had to ask myself, 'Why that song? That slightly goofy Tex-Mex song? Why that one?' We’ll never know."
Speculation over whether anyone from the band would attend the ceremony had been a major talking point in the weeks leading up to the event. Singer Thom Yorke declined the invitation months ago, citing an orchestral performance in April that required his attention. Jonny Greenwood previously pondered whether the Hall of Fame was “a cultural thing” that he doesn’t understand, while fellow bandmates Ed O’Brien and Philip Selway were lukewarm at best on the ceremony.
The band issued an appreciative message when it was initially announced as inductees, thanking the “Hall of Fame voting body” and “extend[ing] congratulations to this year’s fellow inductees.”
While Yorke’s disinterest in the ceremony didn’t seem to waver, other members of Radiohead began warming up to the idea. Ultimately, only Ed O'Brien and Philip Selway attended, and no one from the band performed.
The Byrne/Radiohead mutual appreciation has existed for quite some time. In 2007, Yorke joined the Talking Heads frontman in a conversation regarding the value of music after Radiohead decided to let listeners choose how much they wanted to pay for the band's In Rainbows album. In 2016, Greenwood mentioned Talking Heads among the band's influences during an appearance on comedian Adam Buxton's podcast.
The 2019 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will air April 27 on HBO.