David Letterman stepped in for an ailing Neil Young to pay tribute to Pearl Jam at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Friday (April 7). Letterman has loved the Seattle-based rockers for several decades. He first had them on his late-night talker in 1996. A decade later, the band did an unprecedented hour-long concert on the show. And lead vocalist Eddie Vedder appeared on the third-last edition of “The Late Show with David Letterman” in 2015 to sing “Better Man.”
Among the other seven acts inducted was Journey. This rock band, which was formed in 1973 in San Francisco by musicians from the bands Santana and Frumious Bandersnatch, has had a long list of members over the years. Among the most notable was Steve Perry, who joined the group as lead vocalist in 1977 and stayed for a decade. He reunited with the group for a tribute to promoter Bill Graham in 1991, performed with them again from 1995 to 1998, and was back onstage with them at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn on Friday when Pat Monahan sang their praises.
The other five honorees were similarly feted: Jackson Browne inducted Joan Baez, Dhani Harrison saluted Electric Light Orchestra, Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson of Rush lauded Yes, Snoop Dogg touted Tupac Shakur and Pharrell Williams toasted Nile Rodgers. All but Yes, which had lost two previous bids, were first-time contenders for this honor.
To be eligible for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, an artist must have released their first single or album at least 25 years prior to their nomination, so this year’s honorees date back to 1991 (as in the case of Pearl Jam and Shakur) or earlier.
This septet was culled from a list of 19 nominees released in mid October. To decide the inductees, ballots were sent to more than 800 music industry insiders around the world. Fans also had a chance to weigh in with their thoughts.
The ceremony was overseen by Playtone and Line By Line Productions with Alex Coletti handling both helming and producing. Executive producers are Jann Wenner, Tom Hanks, Gary Goetzman and Joel Peresman; co-executive producer is Frank Garritano; and supervising producer is Barbra Dannov. The ceremony will be broadcast on HBO on Saturday April 29 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.