Taylor Swift, Obama leads tribute in star-studded Rock Hall of Fame ceremony

By Alicia Powell

CLEVELAND, Ohio (Reuters) – Taylor Swift had a serenade for Carole King, former US President Barack Obama praised rapper JAY-Z, and Paul McCartney paid tribute to the Foo Fighters at a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inauguration ceremony on Saturday, which also paid tribute Tina Turner and The Go-Gos.

Obama, who spoke via video, called the 23-time Grammy winner JAY-Z the “embodiment of the American dream” for his rise from a poor neighborhood in New York to a billionaire songwriter, record director and businessman.

JAY-Z, 51, seemed overwhelmed by the tribute stone, which included one from comedian Dave Chappelle.

“That’s a lot. Trying to make me cry in front of all these white people!” he joked. “When we were growing up, we did not think we could be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. We were told that hip hop was a fashion phenomenon.”

Swift opened the show with a pop version of “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” while Jennifer Hudson sang “A Natural Woman” in honor of singer-songwriter King, 79, who led the audience in a song of her hit “You’ve”. Have a friend. “

“I do not remember a time when I did not know Carole King’s music,” Swift said, calling her 1971 “Tapestry” album “a watershed moment for people in the world of emotions.”

The ceremony in Cleveland, Ohio, was packed with A-lists, including Dr. Dre, Eminem, Jennifer Lopez, Lionel Richie and Keith Urban.

Christina Aguilera led a medley of Turner’s biggest hits.

The “Simply the Best” singer, who now lives quietly in Switzerland, was unable to attend Saturday’s ceremony but sent thanks via video.

“If they still give me awards at 81, I have to do something right,” Turner said.

Turner received the honor for the first time in 1991 with her ex-husband Ike Turner, but on Saturday she was celebrated for her even bigger solo career in the 1980s and 1990s.

King and Dave Grohl were also two time honored. King had previously been recorded with his songwriting partner Gerry Goffin, while Foo Fighters frontman Grohl was a member of the grunge band Nirvana, which was recorded in 2014.

McCartney said he and Grohl were both “ordinary kind of silly” kids who had somehow fallen for rock and roll music.

The 1980s female rock band The Go-Gos, rapper LL Cool J, German electronic pioneers Kraftwerk and the late Billy Preston were also recorded.

American multi-instrumentalist Todd Rundgren, 73, was a no-show from his own inauguration ceremony. Rundgren had said he would not participate because he did not consider music a competition.

The award recognizes artists who have spent more than 25 years in the music business. They are selected based on ballot papers sent by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame to more than 1,200 artists, historians and members of the music industry. Members of the public also voted.

The 2021 ceremony will be broadcast on cable channel HBO on November 20th.

(Written by Jill Serjeant; edited by Robert Birsel)

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