Taylor Swift and Obama pay tribute at Rock Hall of Fame ceremony


CLEVELAND, Ohio, Oct. 30 (Reuters) – Taylor Swift serenaded Carole King, former US President Barack Obama praised rapper JAY-Z and Paul McCartney paid tribute to the Foo Fighters on Saturday at the a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony which also honored Tina Turner and The Go-Gos.

Obama, speaking via video, called 23-time Grammy-winner JAY-Z “the embodiment of the American dream” for his rise from a slum New York neighborhood to a billionaire songwriter, director of records and businessman.

JAY-Z, 51, seemed overwhelmed by the tributes, including that of comedian Dave Chappelle.

“That’s a lot. Trying to make me cry in front of all these white people!” he joked. “Growing up, we didn’t think we could be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. We were told that hip-hop was a fad.”

Swift opened the show with a pop version of “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” while Jennifer Hudson sang “A Natural Woman” in honor of singer-songwriter King, 79, who led the audience in a song from her hit “You’ve Got a Friend.”

“I don’t remember a time when I didn’t know Carole King’s music,” Swift said, calling her 1971 album “Tapestry” a “defining moment for humans in the world with feelings.”

The ceremony in Cleveland, Ohio was packed with personalities such as Dr. Dre, Eminem, Jennifer Lopez, Lionel Richie and Keith Urban.

Christina Aguilera led a medley of Turner’s greatest hits.

The interpreter of “Simply the Best”, who now lives quietly in Switzerland, could not attend the ceremony on Saturday but addressed thanks by video.

“If they’re still giving me awards at 81, I have to do something right,” Turner said.

Turner first received the honor in 1991 with her former husband Ike Turner, but on Saturday she was celebrated for her even more significant solo career in the 1980s and 1990s.

King and Dave Grohl have also been awarded twice. King had previously been inducted along with his writing partner Gerry Goffin, while Foo Fighters frontman Grohl was a member of the grunge group Nirvana which was inducted in 2014.

McCartney said he and Grohl were both “ordinarily clumsy kind” kids who had kind of fallen into rock and roll.

1980s girl rock group The Go-Gos, rapper LL Cool J, German electronics pioneers Kraftwerk and the late Billy Preston were also inducted.

American multi-instrumentalist Todd Rundgren, 73, was absent from his own induction ceremony. Rundgren had said he wouldn’t participate because he didn’t see music as a competition.

The awards recognize artists who have spent more than 25 years in the music industry. They are selected on the basis of ballots sent by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame to more than 1,200 artists, historians and members of the music industry. Members of the public also provided votes.

The 2021 ceremony will air on cable channel HBO on November 20.

Written by Jill Serjeant Editing by Robert Birsel

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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