Despite being eligible since 1996, Simon, a first-time nominee, learned this week that she will be inducted into the Rock Hall as part of its 37th class of honorees, joining Duran Duran, Eminem, Eurythmics, Dolly Parton, Lionel Richie and Judas Priest.
Even after winning five Grammys and an Oscar, the singer-songwriter expressed shock over being included in such a prestigious group. “Because I’d been passed by so many times,” Simon told Yahoo! Music, wondering if a tricky encounter with Rock Hall and Rolling Stone cofounder Jann Wenner had something to do with it. “Jann Wenner, I thought, was a friend of mine. And it got more and more awkward, every time I ran into him.”
Simon traced the tension back to the 1985 movie Perfect, which follows a female aerobics instructor (Jamie Lee Curtis) who meets a Rolling Stone reporter (John Travolta) doing a story on health clubs. Wenner has a small role in the movie as Travolta’s boss, and Simon made a cameo in a scene with him that didn’t go well.
“I had to throw a drink in John Travolta’s face, and it was a Bloody Mary,” Simon explained. “And then it was supposed to be followed up by a line that Jann Wenner was delivering, and Jann missed his line each time. So, John had to go back and change his white shirt many times so that we had to redo it. And I think Jann just might have just been embarrassed about that. People have arranged their attitudes based on many things. And sometimes it’s just something that they may have done that was embarrassing to them.”
Wenner, who was inducted into the Rock Hall by Mick Jagger in 2004 for his contributions to music journalism, probably wasn’t the only one embarrassed. Perfect was a critical and commercial bomb that netted three Golden Raspberry nominations for Worst Actor (Travolta), Worst Supporting Actress (Marilu Henner) and Worst Screenplay.
Simon said she doesn’t expect to perform at this year’s Rock Hall induction ceremony, which takes place on Nov. 5 at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. “I only perform in closets,” she quipped. “No, this is not in the cards. I might sing along with somebody else or something like that. … But this is all so brand-new. It’s like asking a baby if it’s going to go to college! I just have to breathe in and breathe out and be very happy with myself today.”
Most Awkward Rock Hall of Fame Moments
Rambling speeches, fights between ex-bandmates and bad performances have marked many induction ceremonies over the years.