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FLASHBACK: THE FIRST ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME INDUCTION CEREMONY

1/23/2013

It was 27 years ago tonight (January 23rd, 1986) that the first inductees entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in a ceremony held at New York City's Waldorf-Astoria. The inaugural class of the Hall of Fame featured rock's forefathers: Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Fats Domino, Buddy Holly, the Everly Brothers, Ray Charles, James Brown, Sam Cooke and Jerry Lee Lewis. Included in the Non-Performer category were Sun Records founder Sam Phillips and seminal disc jockey Alan Freed, whom many credit for actually coining the phrase "Rock And Roll."

Also inducted that night in the Early Influence category were blues icon Robert Johnson, country's Jimmie Rogers, and boogie-woogie pianist Jimmy Yancey. Columbia Records' legendary A&R man John Hammond, who was responsible for discovering Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and many others, received the Hall's first Lifetime Achievement Award.

The emotional inductions included Keith Richards' speech inducting Chuck Berry and John Lennon's sons Julian and Sean Lennon inducting their father's hero, Elvis Presley.

The ceremony featured the first all-star jam, which closed the night's festivities. Among the stars joining the inductees onstage were Steve Winwood, John Fogerty, Billy Joel, and ZZ Top. The musicians, backed by Late Night With David Letterman's house band -- the World's Most Dangerous Band, lead by Paul Shaffer -- rocked into the early hours on classics such as Berry's "Roll Over Beethoven," "Little Queenie," and "Johnny B. Goode"; Lewis' "Great Balls Of Fire" and "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On"; Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Proud Mary"; Chubby Checker's "The Twist"; and the Spencer Davis Group's "Gimme Some Lovin'," among others.

Graham Nash says that for him and his entire generation Elvis Presley was the defining "before and after" point: "Well, yeah, listening to early, early Presley stuff, before he went in the army, he was king of music,. After he went into the army -- not too much. Obviously we were listening to those records, and those early Sun records are tremendous records. Great energy."

ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons credits rock n' roll's forefathers for everything that came after them: "We get the beat from Bo, we got the poetry from Chuck, and we got the insane madness vocal from Little Richard. Those three combined, if you could possibly invent something beyond that, we'd be on another planet -- but I think we're already there anyway (laughs)." )


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