CLEVELAND (Reuters) - The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame gave fans a trip through modern music history on Saturday, inducting a variety of performers into its ranks from “Queen of Rockabilly” Wanda Jackson to rappers Run-D.M.C and rockers Metallica.
The climax for the Hall of Fame’s induction ceremony came when Metallica, whose hits include “Enter Sandman,” took the stage to play a medley of their hit songs. Two of the group’s bassists, Jason Newsted and Robert Trujillo, jammed together.
Singer James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich hugged onstage after giving speeches, and both thanked fans who have followed the band through its ups-and-downs that included the death of first bassist Cliff Burton in 1986.
“Dream big and dare to fail,” Hetfield said to the audience. “I dare you to do that, because this (Metallica’s success) is living proof that it is possible to make a dream come true.”
The Rock Hall of Fame began naming new inductees in 1986 and opened its doors in Cleveland in 1995. In recent years, the induction ceremony has been held in New York City, but it moved back to Cleveland for the 2009 version.
Metallica got their start in the 1980s and made their mark with albums like 1986’s “Master of Puppets” and 1991’s self-titled “Metallica,” which proved to be a smash hit.
But their influence extended beyond just making music. In the early 2000s, Metallica sued song-sharing website Napster, alleging copyright infringement. Eventually their battle led to legal downloads and the rise of sites like Apple’s iTunes.
The heavy metal group was only one of many bands and performers to whom the rock museum paid tribute on Saturday.
Run-D.M.C. -- composed of rappers Joseph “DJ Run” Simmons and Darryl “D.M.C.” McDaniels, as well as Jason “Jam-Master Jay” Mizell spinning records on two turntables -- helped usher rap music and hip hop into mainstream pop culture with hit albums like 1986’s “Raising Hell.”
That album featured the lead single “Walk This Way,” a cover of the classic Aerosmith song of the same name that fused rap and rock and thrilled fans of both genres.
Simmons, McDaniels and Mizell, who was shot and killed in 2002, were inducted into the Hall of Fame by rapper Eminem, who said he first heard them at age 11.
Run-D.M.C. was “something fresh, something tough, something dangerous and something unique. Two turntables and a microphone,” said Eminem, whose real name is Marshall Mathers.
Inductees on Saturday night stemmed from the roots of rock and roll, embodied by Wanda Jackson, who got her start playing alongside Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash, to classic rocker Jeff Beck, who was inducted by Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page.
Soul singer Bobby Womack received his key to the Hall from Rolling Stone guitarist Ron Wood, and Motown legend Smokey Robinson welcomed his friends, Little Anthony & The Imperials, into the ranks of modern music legends.
Inductees are picked by 600 voters from a pool of performers who are eligible 25 years after their first record was released. Being named to the Hall of Fame is considered a great honor among rock musicians from the 1950s onward.
Reporting by Aaron Josefzyk in Cleveland and Bob Tourtellotte in Los Angeles, Writing by Bob Tourtellotte, Editing by Philip Barbara