What has become a tradition, this year's induction ceremony marks the first in the event's history to accept hip-hop.
The annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction has taken place in Waldorf-Astoria Hotel on March 12. The names inducted in the ceremony are R.E.M., Van Halen, Patti Smith, Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five and also The Ronettes.
Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder attended the event to be the inductor of R.E.M. He honored the band saying that while Pearl Jam was getting stardom, R.E.M. became like a big brother to the band. "R.E.M.'s music is truly all-encompassing. They used every color on the pallette, they invented colors on their own and they put up this huge mural of music and sound and emotion."
Representing R.E.M., frontman Michael Stipe said that it was an honor to be in the same list with the other four nominees. He then performed with his band and joined by former drummer Bill Berry who quit in 1997. The band included the song "Gardening at Night" in dedication to the late Kurt Cobain.
Meanwhile, Van Halen who was speculated of not showing up finally sent two of its members, Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony. David Lee Roth is reported declining the invitation due to a conflict with the event's organizers upon what song the band will perform. Due to the incomplete number of members, Van Halen's gig was replaced by Velvet Revolver though occasionally Hagar and Anthony performed with the home band.
For the first time in the event's history, a hip-hop genre is inducted. Jay-Z was tapped to induct the hip-hop pioneer Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five. The group then performed its first on-stage performance within ten years.
Inducting Patti Smith was Rage Against the Machine's Zack de la Rocha. He said, "Expanding rock's boundaries, Patti Smith the poet revealed truth regardless of the political and social consequences." in honor of the singer. Patti then performed "Rock 'n' Roll Ni**er", saying the song was her deceased mother's favorite.
Last in the inducted list was The Ronettes. The Rolling Stones' Keith Richards was signed to be the inductor and he was glad to do it, "They touched my heart right there and then, and they touch it still." The group then played a three-songs medley without Estelle Bennett who was at that time not in her prime health.