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The stars were shining at the Rock Hall of Fame induction ceremony


This news story was published on April 15, 2012.
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By Malcolm X Abram, Akron Beacon Journal –

CLEVELAND — The skies were cloudy but under the white tent covering the red carpet leading into Public Hall where the 27th annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony was taking place many stars were shining.

None of the 2012 performer inductees — the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Beastie Boys, Guns ‘N Roses, the Small Faces/the Faces, blues legend Freddie King and singer/songwriters Laura Nyro and Donovan — took the red carpet.

But a few celebrities did give the fans and media lining the carpeted corridor a show. Past inductees George Clinton and Alice Cooper strolled the carpet with Cooper extolling the virtues of Cleveland.

“I’m from Detroit. Rock ‘n’ roll belongs in the Midwest,” Cooper said.

Also taking the carpet were actor David Arquette and local luminaries such as Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, Indians president and former general manager Mark Shapiro and popular new age/pop pianist and proud Clevelander Jim Brickman.

Once the show started promptly at 8 p.m., Green Day, which was to later induct Guns N Roses, opened the show with a kinetic crowd-rousing punk song giving singer/guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong a chance to pump up the crowd.

“This is not a party, this is as celebration! This is rock ‘n’ roll,” he yelled.

Following remarks by rock hall CEO Terry Stewart, who also thanked the 6,000 fans in the cheap(er) seats, and Rolling Stone editor and Rock Hall Foundation executive Jann Wenner, Texas blues man Freddie King was inducted by Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill of ZZ Top.

“Long live the blues and long live Freddie King,” Hill said before giving way to King’s daughter, Wanda King, who accepted the honor for her father. King, briefly overcome with emotion, thanked the fans and the many musicians influenced by her father before telling a cute and funny story about the first time as a 6-year old she saw her father perform.

Hill, Gibbons and guitarists Joe Bonamassa and Derek Trucks performed two King classics.

John Mellencamp appeared to induct English troubadour Donovan with a salty tongued speech about stealing ideas from him and mentioning that it was Donovan who taught Beatles John Lennon and Paul McCartney the “claw-hammer” finger-picking technique.

Donovan accepted his honor with a speech that included a poem written shortly after discovering he was to be inducted.

“Like the silence of the sea, I thank you for this bright green laurel resting now upon my brow, I thank you goddess and thank you innocence and I thank my fellow artist all,” he said before performing three of his biggest hits — Sunshine Superman, Season of the Witch and Catch the Wind, with Mellencamp sharing vocals.

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