Lou Adler may have less name recognition than many of the other inductees, but his resume is impressive, which is evident by the caliber of artists who paid tribute to him at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony.
Cheech & Chong presented Adler by slipping into their familiar routine. Tommy Chong joked that he was glad that Adler was “one of the first black guys to get into the Hall Of Fame.” Cheech replied, “Lou Adler’s not black, man!” Chong then said, “Have you seen how he dresses, man? He’s like a rapper!” They recalled showing up at his office, seeing the many gold records on the wall and some mysterious powder on the desk.
Among his accomplishments, he produced the comedy team’s stoner flick Up In Smoke. Chong joked that the movie was so good that the government “thought that we were those guys… and then they put me in jail for nine months.” Adler, sitting in the audience next to Jack Nicholson, laughed through the speech.
Wearing all black except for a white beret, Adler took the stage by saying, “You don’t know how worried I was when they told me that these guys were going to induct me. Thanks for that touch of seriousness you brought to the evening.”
He talked about his years as a producer, fondly recalling the making of Barry McGuire’s “Eve Of Destruction,” and the friends McGuire brought with him into the studio. Those friends sang “California Dreaming” and “Monday Monday,” and that was how he signed the Mamas & The Papas. He noted that Michelle Phillips, in the audience, was every guy’s vision of a perfect “California dream.” He said seeing them for the first time was one of his special memories, just like the first time he saw Cheech & Chong. ”Not really,” he joked. He saw them at a talent show, “crawling around smelling each other’s butts,” and decided that he wanted to record them.
Adler also recalled sitting in a studio with Carole King, who asked him what he thought of her new song, “You’ve Got A Friend.”
“If you asked me how to succeed as a record producer, I’d say it helps to work with three of the best singers and songwriters: John Phillips, Carole King and Sam Cooke.” He also thanked his “best productions,” his seven sons, saying, “Thanks for keeping me from falling into the generation gap.”
With that, King appeared at the piano, performing “So Far Away” from Adler’s most successful production, Tapestry.
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Catch more from the 2013 Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony when it airs Saturday May 18 at 9 pm ET/PT on HBO.
Watch our recent Radio.com Inside Out episode on 2013’s Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction class, below.