By Brian Ives

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony has come a long way, and its evolution has mirrored that of rock and roll itself: whereas it used to be a drunken, freewheeling event held at New York’s Waldorf Astoria that would stretch to all hours of the night, today it is an arena-rock spectacle that is (gasp!) open to the public.

Lots of people have lots of feelings about this. But the event last night (April 10) at Barclays Center in Brooklyn had stunning moments that won’t soon be forgotten. And, as it turns out, it still goes way past bedtime (or at least the initially scheduled 11:15 pm curfew).

When tickets for the ceremony went on sale they sold out within minutes, thanks to a star-studded list of inductees: KISS, Nirvana, Peter Gabriel, Daryl Hall and John Oates, Linda Ronstadt and Cat Stevens, as well as Bruce Springsteen‘s E Street Band. Also being inducted were industry legends Andrew Loog Oldham (former Rolling Stones manager, among other things) and the late Brian Epstein (who managed the Beatles).

It’s easy to forget what a huge star Linda Ronstadt was in the ’70s; having retreated from public life in recent years (especially since learning she has Parkinson’s disease). But if you had forgotten that fact, a few iconic singers, whose star power extends from the top of the Billboard charts to the corners of the most NPR-friendly coffee houses, took the stage to remind you. Bonnie Raitt, Emmylou Harris, Carrie Underwood, Sheryl Crow and Stevie Nicks (with Ronstadt presenter and former backing guitarist Glenn Frey of the Eagles joining them) blew the roof off with a medley that included “You’re No Good,” “When Will I Be Loved,” “It’s So Easy” and “Blue Bayou.” Ronstadt may not have been the artist getting the most media attention of this year’s inductees, but the tribute to her was one for the ages.

Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt, Stevie Nicks, Carrie Underwood, Sheryl Crow

Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt, Stevie Nicks, Carrie Underwood, Sheryl Crow (Larry Busacca/Getty Images)


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