Two of the music industry’s behind-the-scenes titans, Lou Adler and Quincy Jones, will join the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class announced this week. For both of the veterans, being inducted next year has special significance.
“I’m turning 80 next year, so it’s a great way to celebrate it,” Jones told Rolling Stone after his selection for the Ahmet Ertegun Award for non-performers was announced Tuesday in L.A. To Jones, who’s won nearly every other award in entertainment, it completes the circle.
“I’m really reconnecting with my entire family now, because through NARAS and the Grammys I’ve been connected with the people in the music business,” he said. “And television academies and the Oscars – I’ve produced the Oscars and conducted the Oscars and got an Oscar nomination, so now the whole family is connected, which is wonderful.”
Adler is one of the true gurus of California music, having helped produce the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and co-opened the Sunset Strip’s Roxy Theater. For him, being inducted in Los Angeles makes it that much more meaningful. “I think it’s important for California music. All those musicians and artists coming up and they hear [the awards show] is in New York all the time, now they’ve got something to really hang their hat on, like I did,” he said.
It’s also an added bonus for both Adler and Jones, who’ve been friends for four decades, to go in together. “When they told me I was being inducted I thought, ‘Oh, that’s cool,'” Adler said. “Then they told me I’m going in with Quincy and I said, ‘That’s beyond cool. I couldn’t ask for more.'”
Jones said he is a fan of each of this year’s inductees: “All the good people I like to see get their dues.” But he is particularly happy the late queen of disco, Donna Summer, is getting the honor posthumously.
“I produced her just before I produced Thriller, so it’s really meaningful, because it’s recognizing her ability,” he said. “That’s what it’s about, really.”
Alder has a lot of old compatriots who didn’t live to see him get the honor, one of whom he would’ve chosen to give his induction speech next April. “I would have loved to have had Sam Cooke – charming, great speaker,” he said.
Jones, who has worked with superstars from Duke Ellington to Michael Jackson, joked in the press conference about getting into the Hall of Fame “finally.” Later, though, he said he was never worried that the time would come.
“You do your thing, and what happens to it is in somebody else’s hands,” he said.