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2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony set for Saturday in Cleveland

The 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will take place on Saturday (April 18th) at Cleveland's Public Hall. This year’s inductees are Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, Ringo Starr, Lou Reed, Green Day, Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, Bill Withers, the "5" Royales, and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. Ringo Starr and the “5” Royales were chosen by special committees with Ringo receiving the Award For Musical Excellence and the “5” Royales earning an Early Influence Award. HBO will broadcast an edited version of the event on May 30th at 8 p.m.

As did 21 years ago for John Lennon, Paul McCartney will indict Ringo Starr, Stevie Wonder will do the honors for Bill Withers, Patti Smith for Lou Reed, Peter Wolf and Zac Brown Band will induct the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Fall Out Boy will pay tribute to Green Day, Stax legend Steve Cropper is set to salute the "5" Royals, and pop star Miley Cyrus will induct Joan Jett & The Blackhearts.

Among the guest performers set to play either with or for the inductees are Ringo's brother-in-law Joe Walsh, Dave Grohl, Tom Morello, John Legend, and Jimmy Vaughan. Paul McCartney will perform with Ringo as well during the ceremony, marking the first time in over 50 years since they played Public Hall during the Beatles' first Cleveland concert back on September 14th, 1964.

Ringo told us that although he wasn’t heartbroken at not being inducted apart from the Beatles, getting the nod this time around definitely feels special: “I was surprised. I wasn’t thinking about it. I mean, it was just a fact that I wasn’t in, but it didn’t keep me awake. And suddenly the phone rings and it’s Paul McCartney saying, ‘They want to induct you into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame -- will you accept? And I’m going to give the speech.’ And I said, ‘Well, sure man, yeah.’ So, it’s a thrill, y’know, and a pleasure to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame -- because it just is. Y’know? Thank you. It’s, like, from my peers, really, who think, ‘Well, let’s put him in there.’”

Joan Jett told us she feels that the main purpose of the Rock Hall is to set a historical marker for what Rock has accomplished and meant in the long run: “I don’t know that it’s something that you need to aspire to get in to. It’s something that, sort of like, time capsules of each year and sort of what went on and the basic business' idea of what’s important and what they want to have representing them going down through history.”

Among the friends and fans who’ve been celebrating Jett’s entree into the Rock Hall is her Runaways bandmate, Cherrie Currie: “I am so proud of her. She so deserves it. I’ve never seen anyone work as hard as Joan has worked. She’s made it her life -- and she deserves it!”

Green Day bassist Mike Dirnt told us that he enjoys winning awards, but doesn't obsess over them: "I think it's great to some degree, but you know what, a hundred years from now, I'm not gonna have any awards, you know, I'm not gonna have any of that cool stuff, we're just gonna have a lot of good music to leave behind. And, you know, as long as you can keep that in mind and not be afraid to enjoy the party of it all, and the people that you're on this planet with right now, then I think you're gonna do all right."

Not too long ago, we asked Green Day singer-songwriter-guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong if he's had time to reflect on the band's success: "It's hard to look back when you're thinking about the future so much. We've done a lot of things. When we started playing punk rock music, it was already a proven fact that you couldn't be famous or get big or be a millionaire being in a punk rock band, and we've definitely broken those rules. It's crazy. It's been a pretty strange journey indeed."

Pete Townshend's latest solo release, the CD/DVD set Rachel Fuller Presents In The Attic With Pete Townshend And Friends, features highlights from Townshend and girlfriend Rachel Fuller's 2007 low-key acoustic gatherings dubbed "Attic Jams" at New York City's Joe's Pub and L.A.'s Hotel Cafe. The set features Townshend's historic one-off live collaboration with Lou Reed on the Velvet Underground classics "White Light/White Heat" and "Pale Blue Eyes."

Townshend recalled his and Reed's one and only rehearsal prior to their live debut: "Lou Reed was a little bit nervous, I think. He came up to the hotel room and did a proper run-through with me. But as soon as we played a few chords, he just looked at me and said, y'know, 'This is going to be fine,' and I looked at him and said, Yeah.' He said, 'So we really don't have to run-through' and I said, 'No we don't, but we may as well,' so we did run through."

Double Trouble drummer Chris Layton why he thought people often glazed over the mellower part of Stevie Ray Vaughan's musicianship, and he said: "I think a lot of people will overlook the subtlety in Stevie's playing because they're drawn to a lot of other aspects that kinda dazzle people -- his speed and his power -- and he was a very great musician, and I don't really know any great musicians that don't have the ability to really play subtly, and he could do that great. I used to love that, when he would, you know, really take it down and play real quiet. He played with a lot of strength there, too -- anything that he played, he played with a lot of strength -- but when he played real quiet and real subtle, it was always a real beautiful kind of thing."

Artists react to being snubbed by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Artists are eligible for induction 25 years after their debut release. For every handful of acts that enter the Rock Hall each year, there are dozens that never make it past the final ballot and hundreds more who aren't even in the running. The 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held on Saturday (April 18th) at Cleveland's Public Hall, with a truncated version of the evening's events airing on HBO on May 30th at 8 p.m.

Jon Bon Jovi told us that although he would welcome the honor, he's not pinning any hopes of Bon Jovi getting into Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame: "Hall Of Fame, in all honesty, would be nice, but I'm not counting on it. I wouldn't think that that necessarily would be so, and we'll probably be one of the only bands that sold over a hundred million records and don't get in. So we'll see, but I'm, I'm not gonna hold my breath."

Richie Sambora admits that as popular and successful as Bon Jovi has been over the years -- nobody is a shoe-in when it come to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: "I think we should get in there at one point. I do. You look at our track record, and how many people we've made happy in the world through our music. Yeah, I think we deserve to be in there. Do I think we're gonna get in? Don't know. It's definitely a political situation. It's almost like running for office over there. I mean there are so many bands that should be in there that are not in there. So you never know. Who knows? You never know what's going to happen."

The Moody Blues have been eligible for induction since 1989. Frontman Justin Hayward told us that he's able to take being passed over for nearly 25 years in stride: "If it ever happens, there will be people saying, 'What are the Moody Blues in there? They don't deserve to be in' -- so that will always go on. But, it doesn't impact anyone who's European. They have no idea what it is -- it doesn't make the news or anything. I totally respect it here, though, because this Rock and Roll Hall of Fame means something because it is in the land of my heroes. But that's where it stops, really. I don't lose any sleep over it."

With so many years going by with no sign of Yes getting the Rock Hall nod, it's understandable that co-founding bassist Chris Squire isn't waiting by the phone to find out if the band has finally been picked: "I've never lost any sleep over it. And it's kind of, obviously, if it comes together, it'll be an honor -- an maybe we should get Rush to (laughs) give it to us (laughs)."

With Styx still a top live concert draw -- not to mention having their name now gracing moons on neighboring planets -- we asked guitarist J.Y. Young how he feels about the band's chances in finally getting inducted into the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame in view of hard rockers Rush and Heart recently getting the nod: "Rush is something I wouldn't have expected. But because they're sort of non-traditional. They're a little more arty than the rest of us it seems. But Heart, the fact that the one sister was married to Cameron Crowe, who was obviously. . . wrote for (Rolling Stone publisher) Jann Wenner. Jann Wenner plays such a very big role in the selection process, that Heart makes sense in being the first act -- and it's women, so it's unique. Yeah, Heart and Rush have now opened the door for the possibility in the future. But really, at this point (laughs), Tommy (Shaw) and I really don't care."

Three Dog Night has been eligible for induction since 1993. Co-founder Chuck Negron says they've consistently been passed over simply because the group didn't write their biggest hits: "It's a very strange thing. For some reason Three Dog Night has been stuck with this stigma that we weren't innovative and that's mind-boggling. Based all on the fact that we didn't write (our own material). We changed the music . . . the landscape of the touring business, we created stadium tours. And, y'know, if you're going to talk about writing, Elvis Presley didn't write a song."

Chicago co-founder and trumpeter Lee Loughnane takes it in stride that, despite being eligible since 1994, the band has yet to be inducted: "We've met all the criteria and that's just another one that we've passed. If they make up any more, we've already surpassed those all ones. So if we make it into the Hall of Fame, it's great. If not, we're still workin' and havin' fun at it. And, y'know, the Hall of Fame will always be there. I think. I know we will (laughs)."

Eric Carmen says that although the Raspberries have long been cited as "power pop" innovators and have been eligible for induction since 1997, they simply lack the political clout to get into the Rock Hall: "Having been in the music business now for 35 years, or whatever it is, and having had situations where I've bumped into Jann Wenner and some of the powers that be over there, there is so much politics involved in anybody actually getting into the Rock Hall."

There have been several times during the Rock Hall's induction ceremonies that band members have been inducted but due to politics and bad blood between group members are forced to sit on the sidelines during the inductees' performances.

The first occurrence took place in 1993 when John Fogerty refused to share the stage with Creedence Clearwater Revival members Stu Cook and Doug Clifford: "(Doug Clifford) That was our night too. For the band. The band was inducted. And to have that happen, all of our children were there, including Tom's son who was going to fill in for his dad (Tom Fogerty). And then when we called John on it, he says, 'I don't like you. I won't play with you. You didn't help me get out of my contract 25 years ago.' What?! (Stu Cook) You're the guy who signed it without a lawyer! (Doug Clifford) Yeah. Well."

In 2006 ousted Blondie guitarist Frank Infante tried to embarrass Debbie Harry and the other members into letting him and former bassist Nigel Harrison perform with the group, Harry made it clear they weren't welcome and afterwards said it was a tense situation: "I actually sort of expected much worse, if the truth must be known. I don't know if there's any way to really handle a situation like that. There's been, y'know, some bad feeling for a long time -- there's been lawsuits -- and, y'know, it's a bad feeling, really."

Stu Cook says that bad scenes between former bandmates will probably continue to happen as long as the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame forces estranged musicians back together under the spotlight: "Creedence (Clearwater Revival), Blondie, Sly (and the Family Stone), you know all these misadventures that the Hall has had trying to push their agenda . . . Somebody's going to get hurt, y'know their feelings hurt or there's going to be some kind of a scene. I guess they always thought that they could control it. I don't know, our induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame wasn't very satisfying, needless to say."

The following artists are not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Boston, the Monkees, Joe Cocker, Yes, Sonny & Cher, Bernie Taupin, Brian Wilson, Bon Jovi, Gram Parsons, Grand Funk Railroad, Chicago, ELO, Iron Maiden, Journey, the Zombies, Frankie Avalon, Squeeze, Pat Benatar, Todd Rundgren, Judas Priest, Badfinger, Big Star, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Sting, Humble Pie, Eddie Money, Harry Nilsson, T. Rex, Beatles recording engineers Norman Smith and Geoff Emerick, Styx, Free, Billy Idol, Duran Duran, Rockpile, Culture Club, Lenny Kravitz, the Runaways, rock photographers Jim Marshall, Ethan Russell, Gered Mankowitz, Dezo Hoffman, Astrid Kirchherr, Annie Leibovitz, Henry Diltz, and Bob Gruen; Chubby Checker, the Guess Who, rock journalist Lester Bangs, the Turtles, Phil Collins, Def Leppard, Deep Purple, Cheap Trick, Stevie Nicks, Rolling Stones pianist and co-founder Ian Stewart, Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels, Kansas, Ronnie Lane, Thin Lizzy, Joe Walsh, Delaney & Bonnie, Poco, Roxy Music, the Dictators, Brian Eno, Television, Phil Ramone, Meat Loaf, America, XTC, the Searchers, Leslie Gore, the Raspberries, the B-52s, Paul Revere & The Raiders, the MC5, Herman's Hermits, the Moody Blues, Mountain, Blue Oyster Cult, Chic, the New York Dolls, the Steve Miller Band, Peter Frampton, Jethro Tull, Foreigner, Bad Company, and many more.

Photo by PRPhotos.com

Check it out: 29th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

29th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

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Kiss at the 29th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
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