Lauryn Hill, Puffy, Bono Welcome Springsteen, McCartney, Joel To Rock Hall

Lauryn Hill, Puff Daddy, and D’Angelo were among the young lions on hand to salute the 1999 crop of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, which included Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, and Paul McCartney.

Neil Young, Eric Clapton, and U2′s Bono were also among the artists who headed to New York’s Waldorf Astoria for Monday night’s ceremony, which also saw the induction of Curtis Mayfield, the Staple Singers, Del Shannon, Bob Wills & his Texas Playboys, Charles Brown, Beatles’ producer George Martin, and Dusty Springfield, who died two weeks ago.

“I think she is the greatest white singer that there ever has been,” Elton John said while inducting the late Springfield into the Hall Monday night.

Legend Ray Charles did the honors for Joel, who was moved to remark, “I’ve had the most amazing life, and it’s mostly because of rock and roll music.”

Hall of Famer Neil Young returned to the
ceremony this year to induct Paul McCartney, who did not come to the ceremony when the Beatles were inducted in 1988. Young called McCartney “one of the greatest songwriters perhaps ever. I think he will be remembered hundreds of years from now for the music he did.”

High praise indeed, but perhaps the most poetic presentation of the night came from Bono, who welcomed Bruce Springsteen to the Hall by declaring, “He was the first hint of Scorsese, the first hint of Patti Smith, Elvis Costello, and the Clash. He was the end of long hair, brown rice, and bell bottoms. He was the end of the 20-minute drum solo. It was good night Haight Ashbury, hello Asbury Park.”

Springsteen himself took a more folksy approach in his acceptance speech, dedicating the honor to his mother (who watched from the crowd), and his father, who died earlier this year. “I have to
thank him, because what would I conceivably have written about without him?”
Springsteen quipped. “I mean, you gotta imagine, if everything had gone great between us, it would have been a disaster. I would have written just happy songs, and I tried that in the early 90s and it didn’t work. The public didn’t like it.” [RealVideo]

While each year’s Rock Hall induction ceremony packs the inherent thrill of turning the mic over to journeymen musicians in front of an industry audience, most people come for the music. This year’s ceremony did not disappoint as inductees McCartney, Joel, and Springsteen were joined by Lauryn Hill, Bonnie Raitt, Eric Clapton, Wilson Pickett and Bono for a rendition of the Beatles’ classic “Let It Be.”