Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Hits Brooklyn, New York, Tonight
-- The 29th annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony takes place tonight, and for the first time it will be held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The list of inductees this year is an eclectic one -- with KISS, Hall and Oates, Linda Ronstadt, Cat Stevens, ex-Genesis frontman Peter Gabriel and influential grunge rockers Nirvana, all being honored in the performer category.
In addition, Bruce Springsteen's backing group The E Street Band will be inducted in conjunction with receiving the Award for Music Excellence, while late Beatles manager Brian Epstein and former Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham will earn Ahmet Ertegun Awards, presented to non-performers.
As usual, a variety of other famous music stars also will take part in the ceremony as presenters and performers. Guitarist Tom Morello of the modern-rock group Rage Against the Machine will induct KISS, Roots band leader Questlove will induct Hall and Oates, Ronstadt will be welcomed into the Rock Hall by The Eagles' Glenn Frey, Coldplay's Christopher Martin will induct Gabriel and R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe will do the honors for Nirvana. Springsteen himself will be on hand to pay tribute to The E Street Band, while the person selected to induct Stevens -- who now performs under the name Yusuf -- hasn't been announced yet.
As for the performances, honorees Hall and Oates, Yusuf, Gabriel and The E Street Band are all slated to take the Barclays Center stage to play a few tunes. In addition, surviving Nirvana members Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic are expected to play with one or more as-yet-unconfirmed guest artists; word has it Joan Jett may be joining them. Ronstadt, who has been battling Parkinson's disease, has decided to skip the ceremony, but fellow female singers Stevie Nicks, Carrie Underwood, Bonnie Raitt, Emmylou Harris and Sheryl Crow all will take part in a musical tribute to her.
Then there's the matter of KISS. The band's leaders, founding members Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, announced that the group wouldn't be performing, partly over disagreements with the two other original members, drummer Peter Criss and lead guitarist Ace Frehley. Stanley and Simmons also have been very critical of the Rock Hall because they feel that the band's other current members and some of its alumni also should have been inducted.
In contrast to the bickering KISS members, John Oates says he's thankful that he and his musical partner, Daryl Hall, continue to get along so well.
"It's amazing, after all these years," Oates tells ABC News Radio. "You know, we can go our separate ways for a while. We come back together, and it's like nothing's changed. So, I'm very proud of that and…I think we'll be very happy to be [at the induction ceremony]. It'll be a very exciting and emotional night, I'm sure."
Vini "Mad Dog" Lopez was The E Street Band's original drummer, and one of 10 former and current members who'll be recognized during this year's induction ceremony. Lopez played on Springsteen's first two studio albums, but left The E Street Band before the Boss recorded his 1975 breakthrough record, Born to Run. He continues to play in local bands in the New Jersey shore area, and occasionally has been invited to perform as a special guest at Springsteen concerts with the current E Street Band.
Speaking with ABC News Radio about his Rock Hall induction, the journeyman musician says, "When I first found out about it, I kind of didn't know what to think. Now it's not even sinking in yet. I think it's going to sink in when all of this stuff actually goes on." He adds that perhaps he's finally being acknowledged for the many years he's struggled as a musician throughout his life.
"Man, I've been in bands and bands, and in vans and trains and, and you just keep doing it," he notes. "That's maybe why I'm in there. I don't know."
The 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony begins at 7 p.m. ET. The event is open to the public and tickets were still available at Ticketmaster.com as of Wednesday night. A special featuring highlights from the show is scheduled to premiere on HBO on May 31 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
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