Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Ceremony 2023: Watch St. Vincent Cover Kate Bush, Miguel Cover George Michael, Jimmy Page Cover Link Wray

Theo Wargo/Getty Images

Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Ceremony 2023: Watch St. Vincent Cover Kate Bush, Miguel Cover George Michael, Jimmy Page Cover Link Wray

Theo Wargo/Getty Images

The 38th Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony/concert was held at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center tonight. The 2023 class includes Sheryl Crow, the Spinners, Kate Bush, George Michael, Willie Nelson, Rage Against The Machine, and Missy Elliott. DJ Kool Herc and Link Wray enter in the Influence category while Chaka Khan, Al Kooper, and Bernie Taupin join in the Musical Excellence category. Don Cornelius received the Ahmet Ertegun Award.

Hours before the event, Bush announced she would not be attending (the English art-pop icon has not appeared in America in decades), but thanked those who voted for her. Also Tom Morello was the only member of Rage Against The Machine who showed up while Al Kooper sent in a pre-recorded video instead of attending. But all the other living inductees were on hand.

Sheryl Crow was the first to be honored and she performed “If It Makes You Happy” with Olivia Rodrigo (which the pair previewed in Nashville a few weeks ago), “Strong Enough” with Stevie Nicks, and “Everyday Is A Winding Road” with Nicks and Peter Frampton. Crow was inducted by Laura Dern, filling in for Brandi Carlile who had to drop out due to illness.

LL Cool J paid tribute to hip-hop pioneer DJ Kool Herc (Clive Campbell). Herc accepted his trophy alongside sister Cindy Campbell, whose party in the South Bronx 50 years ago this past August is often cited as the birthplace of hip-hop.

Chaka Khan sang “I Feel For You” with Common, the Rufus classics “Ain’t Nobody” and “Sweet Thing” with H.E.R., and “I’m Every Woman” with Sia. And Rufus’ Tony Maiden joined Jazmine Sullivan for the induction speech. The Queen Of Funk was first eligible to join the Rock Hall with Rufus in 1998 and as a solo artist in 2003.

George Michael was inducted by Wham! bandmate Andrew Ridgeley after three of his #1 hits were covered by Miguel with Jake Clemons (“Careless Whisper”), Adam Levine (“Faith”), and Carrie Underwood (“One More Try”).

New Edition inducted the Spinners, singing “I’ll Be Around,” “Could It Be I’m Falling In Love” and “Rubber Band Man” in a performance that also paid tribute to Don Cornelius’ Soul Train.

Kate Bush was inducted by rapper Big Boi, who has been a longtime vocal fan and once teased the possibility of a collaboration between the two. Elton John, Peter Gabriel, Lauren Mayberry, and others appeared in a video tribute. “I know what some of you are thinking, ‘What does Kate Bush have to do with hip-hop?’” asked Big Boi in his speech. “She is such a unique artist, you might as well also ask: What does Kate Bush have to do with rock & roll?” Then St. Vincent covered “Running Up That Hill,” last year’s Song Of The Summer.

Al Kooper — the songwriter, studio musician, and producer who worked with the Blues Project, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Bob Dylan, and many others — accepted his induction for Musical Excellence in a pre-recorded video.

Willie Nelson was inducted by Dave Matthews, who performed “Funny How Time Slips Away,” the early Nelson song he covered at the country legend’s 90th birthday tribute concert earlier this year. Nelson performed too: “Whiskey River” with Chris Stapleton; “Crazy” with Sheryl Crow; and “On The Road Again” with Matthews, Crow, and Stapleton.

In a surprise appearance, Jimmy Page took the stage to cover “Rumble,” the classic instrumental from influential guitarist Fred Lincoln “Link” Wray Jr. Link Wray was eligible to be inducted in the Rock Hall’s first class back in 1986.

Elton John, who recently wrapped up a farewell tour, inducted his writing partner of 56 years, Bernie Taupin. In his acceptance speech, the lyricist referenced the racist and sexist comments that recently got Rock Hall co-founder Jann Wenner kicked off its board. “I’m honored to be in the class of 2023 alongside a group of such profoundly ‘articulate’ women and outstanding ‘articulate’ Black artists along with all of the other music ‘masters” here tonight,” Taupin said. John then performed “Tiny Dancer” and was joined by Crow, Stapleton, and Brittany Howard to cover the Band’s “The Weight” for an In Memoriam segment.

Rage Against The Machine cut short a reunion tour last summer after frontman Zack De La Rocha tore his Achilles tendon onstage. However, he did perform (on his feet) with Run The Jewels in LA last month. So De La Rocha’s absence, and the lack of a Rage performance tonight, wasn’t a foregone conclusion. But Brad Wilk and Tim Commerford didn’t attend either, and while Ice-T gave a speech, no band stepped up to cover their music. Guitarist Tom Morello (who helped induct the Clash and KISS in previous years) accepted on Rage’s behalf. In a statement shared earlier this year, RATM acknowledged how weird it was for them to join the rock and roll establishment.

“You can’t impress me with normal stuff, you gotta impress me with stuff like suing the US State Department for using their music in Guantanamo Bay for torturing,” Ice-T said. Morello later posed with his trophy backstage while holding a piece of paper that said “CEASE FIRE!”

Then Missy Elliott became the first female rapper to enter the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame. She did a medley of “Get Ur Freak On,” “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly),” Work It,” “Pass That Dutch,” and “Lose Control,” and was inducted by Queen Latifah. It was Elliott’s first year of eligibility.

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