Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inducts First Members
NEW YORK (AP) _ Chuck Berry glided on stage to the tune of ″Roll Over Beethoven″ as the Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards presented him with one of 15 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame awards Thurday night.
″He’s the gentleman that started it all, as far as I’m concerned,″ Richards said of Berry, who is 59.
Fats Domino received his award from singer Billy Joel, while ″We Are The World″ producer Quincy Jones honored Ray Charles, and trumpeter Herb Albert posthumously honored Sam Cooke.
Also named recipients were the late greats Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly, as well as Little Richard, James Brown, the Everly Brothers and Jerry Lee Lewis.
More than 1,000 people packed the grand ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, which was festooned with giant photographs of the music idols.
Three of rock’s ″forefathers,″ Mississippi delta blues singer Robert Johnson, country and western singer Jimmie Rodgers and blues pianist Jimmy Yancey were also inducted.
Two non-performers who played key roles in the birth of rock ‘n’ roll join the list: Sun Records founder Sam Phillips and the late broadcaster Alan Freed. Producer and talent scout John Hammond received a special lifetime achievement award.
The Hall of Fame, conceived by Atlantic Records Chairman Ahmet Ertegun, has yet to find a permanent home. Cities under consideration include Chicago, Cleveland, Memphis, New Orleans, Philadelphia, New York and San Francisco.
Plans call for an annual ceremony with the Hall of Fame foundation’s board nominating artists and winnowing the choices to 10 each year.
To be inducted, a performer, whether alive or dead, must have been actively involved in music for at least 25 years.
The foundation plans to set up a permanent museum and archives with records, tapes, books, films, videos and other memorabilia open to researchers and fans.
Executives from Atlantic Records, Warner Brothers Records, CBS Records Group, RCA Records, EMI-Capitol, MCA, Polygram, Arista, A&M, Elektra-Asylum, Sire, Geffen and other labels are serving on the hall’s board, along with representatives of Rolling Stone Magazine, MTV Network and Bill Graham Productions, said spokesman Bob Altshuler.
Ertegun said this is the first time major recording companies have joined in a project of this type.