U2, Pretenders in Hall of Fame

March 16, 2005
Bono performs in the audience next to Catherine Zeta-Jones during the induction.

Bono performs in the audience next to Catherine Zeta-Jones during the induction.
Photo: AP

Three decades after forming in a Dublin high school and still on top of the music work, U2 have been ushered into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame, joined by the O'Jays, Percy Sledge, The Pretenders and Buddy Guy.

U2's Bono worked the crowd at Manhattan's swank Waldorf Astoria on Monday, kissing BB King and posing for a photograph with Catherine Zeta-Jones.

U2 were scheduled to perform five songs, including I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For and Vertigo.

The O'Jays are best know for their work with Philadelphia soul producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, but the gospel-styled singers are actually from Canton, Ohio.

Back Stabbers was a big hit in 1972, with Love Train and For the Love of Money other well-known songs.

After film clips showed them in wild tuxes during the 1970s, the quartet wore simple black suits to perform a medley including each of those songs. They were inducted by singer Justin Timberlake.

"Anyone who's ever written, produced or performed something soulful stands in the shadows of these giants," Timberlake said.

Original members Eddie Levert and Walt Williams are still active, and they were to be inducted with the late William Powell, retiree Bobby Massey and Sammy Strain.

If nothing else, Sledge's voice has been the backdrop to countless romantic encounters. The Southern soul singer is best known for When a Man Loves a Woman.

Singer Rod Stewart called it "one of the best performances I've ever heard and I'm sure you've ever heard".

When he's not haggling with politicians over Third World debt, U2's Bono can sing a pretty mean rock 'n' roll song. The Irish quartet, which is quickly selling out arenas for a autumn concert tour, is one of those rare acts still at the forefront of the music scene at the time of its induction.

Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Junior won a best rock performance Grammy last month for Vertigo. U2 haven't lost their creative edge since forming as Dublin teenagers, starting with rock anthems such as Sunday Bloody Sunday, exploring American roots music, performing introspective ballads such as One and reaching the top with Beautiful Day.

Needing at least 25 years as recording artists to be eligible, U2 were voted into the rock hall in their first year on the ballot.

Known for his free-form induction speeches for others, Bono was to have the tables turned on him by Bruce Springsteen, whom he inducted in 1999. That year, Bono recalled how Springsteen never embarrassed himself: "No bad hair period, even in the '80s."

The Pretenders came from the same rock generation as U2. Ohio native Chrissie Hynde was a tough but tender role model for women, singing Brass in Pocket, Precious and Back on the Chain Gang.

The band formed after Hynde moved to London to be part of its fertile music scene. She's soldiered on, with drummer Martin Chambers, after guitarists James Honeyman-Scott and Pete Farndon died as drug casualties.

Guy dominated the Chicago blues guitar scene, and he'll be ushered into the hall by some pretty decent guitar players themselves - Eric Clapton and BB King.

Frank Barsalona, credited with creating the first big rock 'n' roll booking agency, and Sire Records founder Seymour Stein were being inducted in the nonperformer category. Barsalona was inducted by rocker Steve Van Zandt, dressed in the guise of Silvio Dante, his character from The Sopranos.

Musicians, industry professionals and journalists vote on the inductees.


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