NEW YORK (Reuters) - Pop band Abba was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Monday in a ceremony that honored genres from the Swedish group’s catchy tunes to the theatrical British rock band Genesis and reggae master Jimmy Cliff.
Abba’s singer-songwriter Benny Andersson and vocalist Anni-Frid Prinzessin Reuss appeared at the black-tie event at New York’s famed Waldorf Astoria hotel, where Abba, Genesis, Jimmy Cliff, the Hollies and the Stooges were formally inducted into the hall.
“I am truly very touched by what once started as partnerships a long time ago and that this has brought us here tonight,” said Prinzessin Reuss, known to Abba fans as Frida, before she stepped aside to let ex-husband Andersson play piano performing their 1980 hit, “The Winner Takes It All” sung by U.S. singer Faith Hill.
Backstage, she added, “We did a great job back then. In a way I am not surprised, actually, that we had the influence on other musicians and singers.”
The four-member group became an international commercial success and cultural phenomenon in the late 1970s with such hits as “Dancing Queen” and “Knowing Me, Knowing You.” Their music has enjoyed a revival in the worldwide hit musical and movie, “Mamma Mia!” The band broke up in 1982.
“You have to realize what they did, how throughout the world, their music has resonated with millions and millions of people,” said the Hollies’ Graham Nash.
The Hall of Fame awards are “accepting music generally, rather than just rock-and-roll,” former Genesis drummer Phil Collins said.
“There seems to be more variety this year,” he said. Collins attended with other Genesis members, but original lead singer Peter Gabriel did not attend.
The five performing artists and bands inducted at the ceremony were chosen by 600 music industry professionals. Artists become eligible 25 years after the release of their first record.
Producer David Geffen, founder of Asylum Records, was inducted by his label’s longtime artists, Jackson Browne, who said, “He made me feel the most worthwhile thing you could do was write a song.”
Geffen joked he became an agent and a producer because “I have no talent except to be able to enjoy it and recognize it in others.”
The Stooges performed their 1973 song “Search and Destroy,” led by singer Iggy Pop who tore off his shirt and delivered a trademark raucous bare-chested performance.
Like several artists, Iggy Pop remarked on the state of the music industry, which has lost money as fans began to download songs free online. Music is “a big industry. If it makes the right decisions, it will stay an industry,” he said.
Wyclef Jean, introducing Cliff, noted how inspirational he and the late Bob Marley were to Caribbean culture.
“This is what Jimmy Cliff represents, not just to me from the ghetto, but to all the kids from the urban areas,” he said.
Cliff sang “The Harder They Come” from his 1973 film of the same name that popularized reggae.
Songwriters inducted were Jesse Stone, Otis Blackwell, Mort Shuman, Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. Inductees are represented in a permanent exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio.