Rock Hall inducts Neil Diamond, Alice Cooper

Tue Mar 15, 2011 2:07am EDT
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By Christine Kearney and Chris Michaud

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Singer and songwriter Neil Diamond was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Monday, crooning his signature mellow rock songs in a stark contrast to fellow inductee heavy metal band Alice Cooper.

Diamond and Alice Cooper were honored alongside Tom Waits, Darlene Love and Dr. John at a black tie event at New York's Wardorf Astoria hotel, with Cooper performing in a typically theatrical fake blood-spattered shirt and eye makeup while thanking the crowd with a live snake writhing around his neck.

"We have always been a hard rock band, we just wanted to decorate it a little bit differently," Cooper said after his band performed the 1972 hard rock anthem "School's Out."

He later opined the "shock rock" style the band helped originate was gone -- "I don't think you can shock an audience anymore," he said.

Musician Rob Zombie introduced the band by comparing them to "more like a murderous gang of drag queens."

Diamond performed his rousing 1969 hit "Sweet Caroline" -- famed for being inspired by former U.S. President's John F. Kennedy's daughter Caroline -- as he walked among the audience. He also sang his singles "Cherry, Cherry" and "I Am ... I Said."

Singer Paul Simon introduced Diamond by noting artists for the Hall of Fame become eligible 25 years after their first record, making Diamond's induction a long time coming.

"My question is, what took so long?" Simon said, before Diamond stepped on the stage to receive his award.   Continued...

<p>Singer Alice Cooper performs after being inducted during the 2011 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York March 14, 2011. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>