The Year in Music 2023: An absent Rage Against the Machine is inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

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After five times on the ballot, Rage Against the Machine was finally inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2023.

Ironically, the pioneering rap metal outfit was the closest thing to a “traditional” rock band chosen for the honor this year — along with Rage, the 2023 class included Kate Bush, Missy Elliott, Sheryl Crow, George Michael, The Spinners and Willie Nelson. Of course, Rage Against the Machine is anything but a “traditional” band.

“It is a surprising trajectory for us to be welcomed into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” Rage said upon the induction announcement.

Leading up to the induction ceremony in November, fans speculated about whether or not Rage Against the Machine would actually show up. Beyond the band’s general anti-corporate stance, the status of Rage as a whole felt up in the air in 2023. After reuniting for a pandemic-delayed tour in 2022, Rage canceled all of their 2023 live dates due to frontman Zack de la Rocha tearing his Achilles tendon.

When the time came, guitarist Tom Morello was the lone Rage member to attend. After the band was inducted into the Rock Hall by rapper Ice-T, Morello took the stage to deliver a fiery speech about the power of music, what the honor means to him and how fans can continue the legacy of the “Killing in the Name” rockers.

“Rage is not here, but you are,” Morello told the crowd. “The job we set out to do is not over. Now you’re the ones that must testify.”

Also absent from the Rock Hall induction ceremony was Kate Bush. She was honored with a rendition of her resurgent hit “Running Up That Hill” performed by St. Vincent.

The event did, however, feature a surprise appearance by Jimmy Page. The Led Zeppelin legend performed a tribute to late guitar pioneer Link Wray, who was recognized with the Musical Influence Award.

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