Paul McCartney Joins Foo Fighters at 2021 Rock Hall Induction

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Paul McCartney inducting the Foo Fighters into the Rock Hall’s Class of 2021

There was a time when dozens of A-List rockers appeared at the annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. In the early years, most of them were held in the relatively small confines of the ballroom at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. When the institution was still new, the committee would typically induct three or four superstars in a single year. The Class of 1988, for instance, included The Beatles, the Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, and the Supremes, among others, while 1993 featured Cream, Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Doors, and Van Morrison.

Those early years boasted a Who’s Who of legends sharing the stage to celebrate their fellow stars. In 1989, when the Rolling Stones were inducted, an all-star lineup including Little Richard, Bruce Springsteen, Pete Townshend, Tina Turner, Stevie Wonder and more joined the band on the packed ballroom stage to perform “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”

When the doors of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum actually opened in 1995, the producers again pulled out all the stops and the show, at Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium featured Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, John Fogerty, Eric Burdon, Booker T & the MGs, Aretha Franklin, Al Green and others, alongside rock founders like Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard and Johnny Cash. What a night!

Watch Berry, along with Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band perform “Johnny B. Goode”

In recent years, while the inductees themselves have performed at their own celebrations, the superstar guests have, for the most part, stayed away. (Many, of course, have sadly passed.)

So it was refreshing to see Paul McCartney appear at the Rock Hall’s Class of 2021 ceremony on Oct. 30. Sir Paul was there to induct the Foo Fighters. The evening also included performances by Taylor Swift, inductee Carole King, the Go-Go’s, and more. McCartney said, “Rock and roll is a magical thing that contains so many elements. It’s like all of the people we’ve heard tonight. I mean, it’s just unbelievable. I feel super privileged to be here.”

When the Foo Fighters had completed their three-song set, their leader, Dave Grohl, spoke. “I never took lessons to learn how to play music. You know what I had? A Beatles songbook, a Beatles record, and a record player. Everything I learned about rock ‘n’ roll was from this man right here.” He then pointed to McCartney who had joined the group on stage. “He’s my music teacher.”

Taylor Hawkins and Paul McCartney at the Foo Fighters’ Rock Hall Class of 2021 induction

Following the 2022 death of the Foo Fighters’ drummer Taylor Hawkins at age 50, McCartney reflected on his passing.

“Taylor’s sudden death came as a shock to me and the people who knew and loved him,” he wrote on March 30. “Not only was he a GREAT drummer but his personality was big and shiny and will be sorely missed by all who were lucky to live and work alongside him.

“I was asked by the Foo Fighters to play on one of their tracks. It turned out that they wanted me to play drums! – on one of Taylor’s songs. This request came from a group with TWO amazing drummers! It was an incredible session and cemented my relationship with Taylor and the guys. Later they asked if I would induct them into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I sang with them on ‘Get Back’. Taylor provided a powerhouse drum part. I’ll never forget that night. All of which made it much more of a desperately sad shock to hear he had died. So thanks Taylor for sharing some glorious minutes with me. You were a true Rock and Roll hero and will always remain in my heart.”

Watch McCartney sing “Get Back” with the Foo Fighters at their Class of 2021 induction

Related: McCartney was a surprise guest at the 2022 Hawkins tribute concert at Wembley Stadium

Best Classic Bands Staff

3 Comments so far

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  1. Da Mick
    #1 Da Mick 1 November, 2021, 10:17

    We”ll take Paulie in any shape or form, for as long as he’ll stay with us. It’s really miraculous how long he was able to hang on to those glorious pipes of his — kind of unearthly really. But now age has finally caught up with him, and those melodious tones have an aged warble to them. thank goodness his rock and roll spirit is still alive and well, though. Rock on, Paulie!

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    • Pete
      Pete 1 November, 2021, 11:19

      DA Mick, sadly I must agree. Time to drop it a few steps like Ringo has.

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  2. v2787
    #2 v2787 30 March, 2022, 14:32

    Watch that clip of Chuck Berry with the E Street Band. Chuck looks like he’s died and gone to heaven. How much fun was that??? Rock ‘n roll is the best thing ever invented.

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