Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Performances We’ll Never Forget
Since 1983, the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame has been recognizing and honoring those who have made a significant impact on music. Each year, artists are selected to be inducted into the Hall of Fame where they will join the ranks of some of music’s greatest names.
At the induction ceremony, it is customary for bands to perform whether they are being inducted themselves or honoring others. It has become a hotbed for some of the greatest collaborations and performances in music history. Check out which performances have stuck out in the decades since the Hall of Fame’s inception.
Billy Joel Brings Up Paul McCartney For “Let It Be” (1999)
At the 1999 ceremony, which saw the induction of solo artists Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, among others, viewers got quite the treat. The show seemed to be over after a mega-jam session of Carl Perkins’ “Blue Suede Shoes.”
However, before the curtain could fall, Billy Joel laid down the opening piano chords to The Beatles “Let it Be”. Part of the way into the song, Paul McCartney was quick to get up from his seat and joined Joel on stage, ending the show on an emotional and uplifting note.
Green Day Play To Honor The Ramones (2002)
In 2002, the iconic punk group the Ramones were inducted into the prestigious Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. However, Joey Ramone had passed away and Johnny Ramone wasn’t in good health during the time they were inducted. So, Green Day took it upon themselves to play some of the band’s most beloved songs during the ceremony.
In order, they played “Teenage Lobotomy,” “Rockaway Beach,” and “Blitzkrieg Bop.” Their performance was suitable, even for many Ramones fans. Although the real thing was missed, Green Day managed to put on quite the show in honor of the band.
Ringo Starr Plays With Countless Music Legends (2015)
In 2015, Ringo Starr was the last of the Beatles to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist. After a heartwarming speech given by Paul McCartney, Starr took the stage for a series of songs, joined by other musicians. He was accompanied by Green Day for the song “Boys,” and his brother-in-law, Joe Walsh, for the track “It Don’t Come Easy.”
He finished the night off with “I Wanna Be Your Man” and “With A Little Help From My Friends.” However, during the final two songs, he had the help of Beck, Dave Grohl, Stevie Wonder, John Legend, Bill Withers, and numerous other artists.
Rocking With The Chili Peppers (2012)
It’s no secret that the Red Hot Chili Peppers command the crowd and the stage whenever they perform. During their induction ceremony in 2015, they really got the audience going after bringing up former drummer Cliff Martinez and Jack Irons on stage.
They also invited Slash, George Clinton, Billie Joel Armstrong, and others to join in on the jam session. The band ended on a high note with an epic rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground” which blew the audience away.
Jeff Beck Reunites With Jimmy Page (2009)
In 2009, former Yardbirds members Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck reunited for Jeff Beck’s induction as a solo artist. Audiences couldn’t believe their eyes when the two shared the stage for an incredibly nostalgic series of songs.
The duo blew the roof off when they played Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song,” but that was only the beginning. They were later joined on stage by Flea, Joe Perry, Ronnie Wood, and Metallica for an electric cover of Aerosmith’s hit song “Train Kept A-Rollin.'”
Bruce Springsteen’s Cameo With U2 (2005)
In 2005, Bruce Springsteen inducted U2 to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, six years after Bono had welcomed The Boss into the prestigious club. Of course, U2 gave their standard epic performance of songs such as “Vertigo,” “Until the End of the World,” and “Pride (In the Name of Love.”
However, the real treat was when Springsteen took the stage and joined the group for “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” To this day, this performance is regarded as one of the greatest Rock Hall cameos of all time.
Prince Stole The Show At George Harrison’s Induction (2004)
George Harrison was posthumously inducted as a solo artist to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. So, to honor his memory, Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, and Dhani Harrison came together to play Traveling Wilbury’s “Handle With Care.”
Just when people thought things couldn’t get any better, Prince dazzled the crowd with his guitar solo on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” The solo was so emotional that people were unsure whether he was playing it in remembrance of Harrison or for himself. It was the most-played clip of Prince after his death in 2016.
Iggy And The Stooges Cover Madonna (2008)
During the 2008 induction ceremony, the Queen of Pop made the decision not to take the stage. So, Iggy Pop and the Stooges, including James Williamson, Mike Watt, Steve Mackay, and Toby Dammit, surprisingly filled in. While nobody would ever think they would see Iggy Pop covering Madonna, the group did a bang-up job.
They tore through the songs “Burning Up” and “Way of Life.” Of course, they delivered the songs to their liking which may not have bee Madonna’s style but it certainly reflected her attitude.
Iconic Female Artists Stand-In For Kurt Cobain (2014)
Twenty years after the passing of Kurt Cobain, Nirvana was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. While the surviving members of Nirvana reunited to play a set list of their own songs, they also invited four different female artists to fill in for Cobain, each singing an individual song.
Joan Jett performed “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Kim Gorgon “Aneurysm,” St. Vincent “Lithium,” and Lorde “All Apologies.” Not only did each of the women do the songs justice, but they gave the tracks new meanings. The group went on to play an extended set at St. Vitus bar in Brooklyn after the show.
Nina Simone Is Well-Represented By Her Admirers (2018)
Nina Simone was posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2018, and it was up to Ms. Lauryn Hill, Andra Day, and the Roots to perform her music. Other inductees included legends such as Bon Jovi, the Moody Blues, the Cars, and Dire Straits, yet the Nina Simone crew held their own.
The group did renditions of “Ne Me Quitte Pas,” “Black is the Color of My True Love’s Hair,” “Ain’t Got No,” “I Got Life,” and “Feeling Good.”
Internal Tension Didn’t Stop Led Zeppelin From Putting On An Amazing Show (1995)
At the 1995 induction ceremony, there was clearly some internal strife between the surviving members of Led Zeppelin. This was around the time that Robert Plant and Jimmy Page began working together again, excluding John Paul Jones. The Zeppelin bassist touched upon this in his speech, sarcastically thanking the other two members for remembering his phone number. However, their drama didn’t affect their playing.
Adding Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, and Neil Young to their lineup, the group played “Train Kept A-Rollin’,” “For Your Love,” “Bring It On Home,” “Reefer Head Woman,” “Boogie Chillen,” “Baby Please Don’t Go.” They closed with a powerful performance of “When the Levee Breaks.”
Billy Joel, Mick Jagger, And Bruce Springsteen Filling In For Paul McCartney (1988)
The third annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony was epic, to say the least. The Beatles, Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, and the Drifters were all inductees, so there was quite an audience. While many of the bands put on stellar performances, the highlight of the show ended in a 10-song set jam session.
The climactic final song was the Beatles “I Saw Her Standing There,” with Billy Joel, Mick Jagger, and Bruce Springsteen filling in for the absent Paul McCartney. What a trio to be covering a Beatles song.
Mick Jagger And Tina Turner Shake Things Up (1989)
Mick Jagger and Tina Turner have been friends and working together since she opened for the Rolling Stones back in 1966. By the 1980s, the two were incredibly close and would appear on stage on various occasions. Many people hoped that the two could collaborate in the studio together, but they only graced us with live performances.
One of the most iconic of these performances was at the 1989 induction ceremony. The duo boogied together on stage and sang “Honky Tonk Woman,” which proved to be an incredible performance.
The “Green Onion” Jam Band (1992)
During the 1960s, Booker T. Jones, Steve Cropper, and “Duck” Dunn were Memphis’ Stax Records go-to musicians. They helped to back artists such as Isaac Hayes and Otis Redding to name a few. Yet, after some time, they decided to step out from behind the scenes to form their own band known as Booker T. and the MGs.
The group rose to fame and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992. At their induction, they performed their 1962 hit song “Green Onion” with the help of Johnny Cash, Keith Richards, Neil Young, U2’s the Edge, among others.
Wilson Pickett Teases Bruce Springsteen Before An Epic Duet (1999)
In 1999, on the night of Bruce Springsteen’s induction, The Boss himself invited the master of soul, Wilson Pickett, on stage to join him in performing Pickett’s “Midnight Hour.” Upon reaching the stage, Pickett began teasing Springsteen in a friendly way, saying: “I’m glad you invited me up. For a long time, I wanted to sing with you. I wanted to kick you in the [expletive]!”
With backing from the E Street band, the two went on to deliver an unforgettable performance of Pickett’s hit track.
Numerous Female Singers Take The Stage To Honor Linda Ronstadt (2014)
Unfortunately, in 2014, Linda Ronstadt was unable to attend her induction ceremony due to her ongoing battle with Parkinson’s disease. Yet, she was well-represented by iconic ladies such as Stevie Nicks, Carrie Underwood, and Sheryl Crow.
They paid tribute to Ronstadt’s impact on music by performing Buddy Holly’s “It’s So Easy” and the Everly Brother’s “When Will I Be Loved” in proper Ronstadt style. Glenn Frey was the only male involved, who is known for backing Ronstadt in the days before the Eagles.
When Four Of The Five Inductees Play Together (2016)
The 2016 awards are mainly remembered by Steve Miller’s outburst behind the scenes regarding the ticket prices and the restriction on how many each artist received. That year, Steve Miller, Cheap Trick, Chicago, and Deep Purple were all being inducted. Not only that, but they all performed together as well, playing Fats Domino’s song “Ain’t That a Shame.”
The artists were also joined by Steve Van Zandt, Sheryl Crow and Rob Thomas. It was also the last time Cheap Trick played together in public with former drummer Bun E. Carlos, who had left the band in 2010 due to internal conflict.
The Unlikely Collaboration Between Axl Rose And Bruce Springsteen (1994)
Two artists that most people would never imagine sharing a stage would be Axl Rose and Bruce Springsteen. Yet, that’s exactly what happened during the 1994 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The unlikely duo shared the stage in honor of John Lennon who was posthumously being inducted that night.
They performed “Come Together,” a very fitting song for the situation. While most might assume Rose wasn’t thrilled with the idea, he was clearly enjoying himself, trading smiles with Springsteen the entire performance.
Pearl Jam Pays Tribute To Neil Young (2017)
In 2017, Neil Young was supposed to induct Pearl Jam into the Hall of Fame. However, he canceled, claiming that he was ill. While this disappointed a lot of people, it didn’t stop Pearl Jam from delivering an insane performance of Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World.”
Alongside Pearl Jam was Journey’s Jonathan Cain and Neal Schon, Rush’s Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson, and Yes’ Trevor Rabin and Dhani Harrison. As if the that wasn’t epic enough, it was also the only time that Pearl Jam members Matt Cameron and Dave Krusen shared a drum kit.
Eddie Vedder Sings For The Doors (1993)
The legendary group the Doors were finally inducted in the Hall of Fame in 1993. Since their iconic frontman Jim Morrison passed away in 1971, Eddie Vedder, the frontman for Pearl Jam, accepted the offer to attempt to fill some enormous shoes.
Although nobody will ever be as good as Morrison at his own songs, the young Vedder put on quite the show and did a better job than most people could. It was a beautiful mix of young and old that everyone in the crowd enjoyed.