Rock Hall of Fame Adds Pearl Jam, ELO, Journey & More
April 8, 2017
Pearl Jam (photo: Danny Clinch)
On Friday night, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted its class of 2017: Pearl Jam, ELO, Yes, Journey, Joan Baez and Tupac Shakur. Nile Rodgers was also given the Award for Musical Excellence.
According to reports, the evening opened with a tribute to the late Rock icon Chuck Berry, with ELO playing a cover of "Roll Over Beethoven." The group was inducted by Dhani Harrison, whose father George was close with ELO's JeffLynne, and told a story about seeing the band and his dad covering "Johnny B. Goode."
Folk great Joan Baez joked about how much of the audience might not know her, talked social activism and harmonized with the Indigo Girls and Mary Chapin Carpenter.
Yes reunited with former singer Jon Anderson for the first time in over a decade and were inducted by Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson of Rush. Lee filled in for Yes's late bassist Chris Squire on the band's hit "Roundabout."
The late Hip Hop icon Tupac Shakur was inducted by Snoop Dogg. Alicia Keys then took the stage for a medley of 2Pac songs, followed by Snoop with YG, Treach of Naughty by Nature and T.I. all taking turns on the mic.
Hitmakers Journey reunited with longtime estranged singer Steve Perry, but only for their induction speech, as the singer has not performed with the band in decades and has only rarely sung in public.
Accepting his Award for Musical Excellent, Rodgers dedicated it to all the artists he had produced and worked with behind the scenes over the years, saying, "This award is amazing to me because of all the people who have allowed me to join their lives and their bands."
Another artist we lost in the past year, Prince, was celebrated as well. Lenny Kravitz led a gospel choir on "When Doves Cry," followed by a rocking take on Sign O' The Times track "The Cross."
Perhaps the most anticipated speech of the night was David Letterman's induction of Pearl Jam. The talk show legend was a late addition, replacing an ailing Neil Young. Letterman spent part of his speech mocking former Pearl Jam rivals Ticketmaster, joking that "because they stood up to the corporations I'm happy to say, ladies and gentleman, today every concert ticket in the United States of America is free."
No stranger to Rock Hall speeches, when it was his turn at the mic Eddie Vedder spoke at length about climate change, his family, Letterman and even Chance the Rapper. Pearl Jam played a three-song set of "Alive" (with Ten-era drummer Dave Krusen behind the kit), "Given to Fly" and "Better Man."
As per tradition, the show ended with an All-Star jam session that included all of Pearl Jam, Geddy Lee, Trevor Rabin of Yes and Journey's Neal Schon covering the absent Young's classic "Rockin' in the Free World."
A truncated version of the show will debut April 29 at 8pm on HBO.