Jan 20, 1988: The Beatles Rock Hall Induction Ceremonyby Best Classic Bands Staff
There are A-Listers and then there are AAA-Listers. For The Beatles Rock Hall induction ceremony on January 20, 1988, many of the biggest names in classic rock helped to usher the Fab Four in. One very prominent name was missing, though. More on that below…
That 1988 event was something special. The other inductees (alphabetically): The Beach Boys, The Drifters, Bob Dylan, Berry Gordy Jr (in the non-performer category), Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly and Les Paul (all as early influences) and The Supremes.
George Harrison and Ringo Starr were in attendance. So was Yoko Ono representing her late husband. MIA: Paul McCartney, who sadly was quarreling with his former bandmates over then-unresolved business issues.
Prior to the ceremony, McCartney issued a statement: ”After 20 years, the Beatles still have some business differences, which I had hoped would have been settled by now. Unfortunately, they haven’t been, so I would feel like a complete hypocrite waving and smiling with them at a fake reunion.”
But as you can see from our Classic Video, other rockers joined Harrison and Starr on the crowded stage at NYC’s Waldorf Astoria to make the evening special. Among those spotted are Mick Jagger (who gave the induction speech), Dave Edmunds, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Brian Wilson and other members of the Beach Boys, Jeff Beck, John Fogerty and more. Vocals for “I Saw Her Standing There” were shared by Joel, Jagger, Harrison and The Boss.
Here is Jagger’s absolutely brilliant induction speech. “We [the Stones] thought we were totally unique… and then we heard there was a group from… Liverpool… They had long hair, scruffy clothes but they had a record contract and a record on the charts with a bluesy harmonica on it called ‘Love Me Do’. When I heard the combination of all these things, I was almost sick. The way they wrote and the original way they crafted their songs wasn’t lost on us. Later, their success in America broke down a lot of doors that helped everyone us from England that followed. We had a lot of rivalry in those early years and a bit of friction, but we always ended up friends. They were some of the greatest times of our lives.”
McCartney made amends over the years and actually gave the induction speeches for Lennon and Starr when they each entered as solo artists.