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Cleveland hosts an emotional Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction
The 30th inductions -- in Cleveland for the first time since 2012 -- honored many long-eligible and deceased artists
by WKSU's KABIR BHATIA


Reporter
Kabir Bhatia
 
Ringo Starr and Ohio-bred Joe Walsh (second from right) have worked together frequently since 1983's 'Old Wave' LP.
Courtesy of KABIR BHATIA
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Cleveland’s turn in the music spotlight was an emotional evening for fans and performers as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted the Class of 2015 Saturday night. WKSU's Kabir Bhatia reports.
'I Love Rock and Roll'
The event at Public Hall was sold out weeks in advance, although a few tickets were released Thursday. Opening the ceremony was Joan Jett, with support from Tommy James and Dave Grohl -- a Niles native, who played his hometown with his band, Foo Fighters, earlier in the day to celebrate Record Store Day.

Miley Cyrus handled the induction speech, calling Jett a “superwoman” and recalling their first meeting during an episode of “Oprah.” Speeches by her backing band, The Blackhearts, nearly moved Jett to tears.

The Paul Butterfield Blues Band
Next, Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine) and Zac Brown played “Born In Chicago” in tribute to the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. Peter Wolf inducted the group, and surviving bandmembers Sam Lay, Billy Boy Arnold, Mark Naftalin and Elvin Bishop belted out “Got My Mojo Working.”

Stevie Ray Vaughn & Double Trouble
John Mayer moved the blues from Chicago to Texas as he inducted Stevie Ray Vaughn & Double Trouble. He called Vaughn “the ultimate guitar hero.”

Vaughn’s older brother, Jimmie, said he’ll never get over the loss of his younger brother, who died in a helicopter crash in 1990. He also credited Stevie Ray for his sobriety.

The members of Double Trouble were humbled as well, with keyboardist Reese Wynans marveling at the 18 million votes the band received in online fan polling. He later told reporters he had wondered if the band’s chance at induction had “come and gone” already before being pleasantly surprised this year. They've been eligible since 2008.

The band ran through “Pride and Joy” and two other tunes with John Mayer and Gary Clark Jr.

Green Day
Green Day was inducted by Fall Out Boy, who made the case for Green Day being – and remaining – punk-at-heart. Leader Billie Joe Armstrong – who inducted Guns ‘n Roses here in 2012 – looked around and exclaimed, “My record collection is [alive and] here in this room!” Earlier in the evening, the band had signed autographs for some of the hundreds of fans outside of Public Hall's artist entrance. 

The Bay Area trio closed their induction with three of their biggest hits: “American Idiot,” “When I Come Around” and “Basket Case.”

The 5 Royales
Steve Cropper – a 1992 Rock Hall inductee – gave the speech for The 5 Royales, who were inducted in the Early Influence category. The doo-wop-meets-jump-blues-meets-gospel-meets-rhythm quintet had a number of R&B hits in the 1950s, and then saw those songs covered in the 1960s (“Dedicated to the One I Love” scoring a huge hit for the Mamas & the Papas).

Family members accepted the honor, since the original members are all deceased.

Retro-soul sensation Leon Bridges then performed “Dedicated to the One I Love” during the “In Memoriam” montage, seguing into “When A Man Loves a Woman,” honoring Rock Hall inductee Percy Sledge, who passed away Tuesday.

Lou Reed
Patti Smith followed to induct Lou Reed, and his award was accepted by his widow, musician and artist Laurie Anderson.

She called him “a magic bird” and remembered his three rules for life: 1) “Don't be afraid of anyone,” 2) “Get a really good BS detector and learn how to use it,” and 3) “Be really, really tender.” The Ya-Yas performed “Vicious,” followed by Beck with “Satellite of Love.”

Bill Withers
Next up was Stevie Wonder (inducted in 1989), honoring Bill Withers.

Withers has been largely absent from the public eye since the mid-1980s, but his speech had the crowd in hysterics, especially when he surveyed the audience, spotted Miley Cyrus, and referred to the gathering as "the largest AA meeting in the western hemisphere."

He was also amazed to learn (backstage) that he and Beck have mutual friends. After the speech, he sat alongside Wonder, who played a stirring “Ain’t No Sunshine” (which had to be re-started after Wonder was unsure which key the backing band was in).  Ohio native John Legend joined them for “Use Me” and “Lean On Me,” the only number on which Withers also sang.

Ringo Starr
The evening closed with Paul McCartney inducting Ringo Starr in the “Musical Excellence” category, making all four Beatles dual-inductees into the Rock Hall (a feat matched only by Crosby, Stills and Nash, who are also in for their respective work with The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield and The Hollies). The duo appeared on the same stage where they played their first concert in Cleveland in 1964.

Starr’s induction opened with a video showing numerous drummers (Questlove, Dave Grohl, Stuart Copeland of The Police, Chad Smith of The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Max Weinberg of The E Street Band, Abe Laboriel from McCartney’s backing band) marveling at Starr’s feel and technique.

The former Beatle had received a huge ovation from the crowd outside of Public Hall when he arrived, and then again as he came to the stage from his table, which also included wife Barbara Bach, Yoko Ono, Olivia Harrison and Jerry Lee Lewis.

Starr sang and played “Boys” with Green Day, then “It Don’t Come Easy” with friend (and inductee) Joe Walsh of The Eagles.

In between, as equipment was setup, Starr joked with the audience, spotting someone in the front row and deadpanning, "No idea [who this is],” and later giving hugs and taking selfies with several others.

The evening closed with most of the evening’s performers joining Starr, Walsh and McCartney to play “With a Little Help From My Friends.”
(Click image for larger view.)

Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr were coincidentally on the same stage where they played in 1964. They were also, coincidentally, in Cleveland for concerts exactly 20 years apart: July 20, 1990 and 2010
Stevie Wonder says the Rock Hall is about all types of music, not just 'black soul' or 'white pop.'
Bill Withers quipped that he showed up with 'a Legend and a Wonder': Stevie Wonder and Ohio-native John Legend (pictured)
Miley Cyrus gave the speech inducting Joan Jett, remembering Jett's nearly causing an international incident at The Western Wall, when she stepped over the gender barrier.
Dave Grohl (second from left) was in his hometown, Niles, with Foo Fighters earlier on Saturday to celebrate Record Store Day
 
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