Metallica, Run-DMC and Jeff Beck lead the diverse group of artists that will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year. Other members of the class of 2009 include 1950s R&B vocal group Little Anthony and the Imperials and Sixties soul singer Bobby Womack.
Run-DMC are the second rap group to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame, two years after pioneers Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five were selected for induction. "I can't even comprehend this is happening," Daryl "DMC" McDaniels tells Rolling Stone. "I want to let the world know that there are others receiving this honor with us. I'm talking about our heroes Afrika Bambaataa, Treacherous Three, the Cold Crush Brothers and DJ Kool Herc." The group's performance at the April 4th induction ceremony in Cleveland will be their since founding member Jam Master Jay was murdered seven years ago in Queens, New York.
Metallica, who inducted Black Sabbath into the Hall three years ago, are one of the few metal bands to get the RRHOF nod. "I'm not going to give a whole schpeel about 'come back in 20 years or something,' " says drummer Lars Ulrich. "I'll fucking take it right now. I'm fucking psyched that anybody still gives a shit about this band."
Jeff Beck is joining an exclusive club of artists that have entered the Hall of Fame twice: The guitarist was first inducted in 1992 as a member of the Yardbirds, and now 17 years later he'll be honored for his solo career. (Coincidentally, Beck's Yardbirds predecessor Eric Clapton is the only musician to be inducted three times: With the Yardbirds, Cream and as a solo artist.)
For Little Anthony and the Imperials, the induction is a long time coming. "It's been long overdue," says founder Clarence Collins. "But better late than never. I don't want to get it when I'm dead." The group's singer, Anthony Gourdine, agrees. "I got to personally thank Paul Schaffer, who really spearheaded this thing — along with Billy Joel, Paul Simon and even Madonna's people from what I hear," he says. "I got the call on my birthday — what a great present!"
Rockabilly queen Wanda Jackson is being inducted as an early influence, and three sidemen will also enter the Hall of Fame: Elvis Presley's bassist Bill Black and his drummer D.J. Fontana, as well as Dewey Lyndon "Spooner" Oldham, who has played piano with everyone from Neil Young to Aretha Franklin to the Drive-By Truckers.
The April ceremony will be broadcast on Fuse TV. The event will be held at Cleveland's Public Hall, marking its return to the Hall of Fame Museum's hometown (it has been hosted by other cities since 1997). With such a wide-ranging group of musicians, fans can look forward to a spectacular jam at the end of the evening. "I'm sitting in a room now with Kirk Hammett and the minute you say the words 'Jeff Beck' he starts drooling," Ulrich tells Rolling Stone. Says Hammett: "That's going to be the best jam of my life!"
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