We're just one month away from the annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Every living artist entering the institution — a list that includes Green Day, Joan Jett and Bill Withers — is likely to be on hand, and they're going to be joined by Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl, Stevie Wonder, John Legend, John Mayer and many others. None of the new inductees are strangers to the stage — Paul and Ringo even played at Cleveland's Public Hall, site of this year's ceremony, back in 1964. So we've assembled 10 fantastic live performances from the new class. Check them out and prepare for another epic night of Rock Hall magic on April 18th.
The Ramones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame one year after Joey Ramone passed away. Every surviving member attended the ceremony, but they weren't about to attempt a performance without their singer. After Eddie Vedder delivered a stirring induction speech, Green Day took the stage to honor one of their biggest influences. They blasted through "Teenage Lobotomy," "Rockaway Beach" and "Blitzkrieg Bop" at lightning speed. Here's video of the final number.
Nirvana's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year posed some interesting logistical challenges. Would the surviving members play a Nirvana song together for the first time since Kurt Cobain's death? If so, who exactly would sing? After much debate, the group decided to select four different women. They kicked off the set with Joan Jett, who absolutely nailed "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Hall of Fame voters were definitely watching, and the very next year Jett got in on her own. This year, she gets to sing one of her own songs.
Throughout the long life of Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band, the former Beatles drummer has played with everyone from Jack Bruce and Sheila E. to Joe Walsh and Eric Carmen. But it took a massive 70th birthday concert at Radio City Music Hall for Paul McCartney to finally walk onstage as an honorary All Starr. There was only one song they could play: "Birthday." They're almost certainly going to play together in Cleveland at the induction again this year, but it's hard to imagine them repeating this song.
When Stevie Ray Vaughan died in a helicopter accident in 1989 he was just 35, but he'd already established himself as one of the greatest guitar players in the world. He first became known to the mass public when he played on David Bowie's 1983 LP Last Dance, and not long afterwards he became known for his own material. He recorded a stunning amount of music during his brief career, but his biggest hit was 1989's "Crossfire." Here's a live performance taped shortly before his tragic death.
When the Runaways split in 1979, one might have expected singer Cherie Currie to have had the big solo career, but it was actually guitarist Joan Jett who wound up blowing up. Her 1981 LPs Bad Reputation and I Love Rock 'n' Roll were both enormous sellers, and brand-new cable channel MTV played her videos all the time. Things slowed down a bit in later years, but she remains an incredibly powerful live act and this year she's opening for the Who on their American tour. Here she is playing "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" in 1982.
When Bob Dylan plugged in at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, he could have had almost any band in the world as his backing group, but he wanted the very best. That's why he selected the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. Lead by guitar genius Mike Bloomfield, their debut LP came out that same year and influenced an entire generation of players. They never played with Dylan again, but to this day Dylan says that Bloomfield is the best guitarist he ever played with.
There was a brief period in the early 1970s when Ringo Starr was landing more hit singles on the charts than any of his fellow ex-Beatles. The best of the bunch was 1973's "Photograph," a nostalgic look at the past that he co-wrote with George Harrison. Ringo has played it countless times over the years, but the most poignant performance took place at the 2002 Concert for George. The line "Now you're expecting me to live without you/But that's not something I'm looking forward to" was absolutely heartbreaking.
When the 1970s began, Bill Withers was a 31-year-old factory worker with absolutely no musical experience, but after buying a cheap guitar at a pawn shop, he began writing his own songs and Sussex Records was so impressed by his demo they let him make an album with producer Booker T. Jones. The highlight of the first LP was "Ain't No Sunshine," a song so big that Withers was able to leave his factory job and never look back. Here he is playing the song on the BBC in 1972.
The Velvet Underground weren't much of a commercial force during their brief run in the 1960s, and after Lou Reed's 1972 self-titled debut peaked at Number 189, it seemed like he was going to be even less of a success as a solo act. But later that year he teamed up with David Bowie to make Transformer, and scored a very unlikely smash with "Walk on the Wild Side." It's unclear if radio stations who put it into heavy rotation that year realized what he meant by "giving head," but the FCC never seemed to catch on. Here's a video of him playing his biggest hit at the inaugural Farm Aid in 1985.
Green Day had a very good 1994. They began the year as a relatively unknown California punk rock band with two indie records under their belt, but the release of Dookie in February made them MTV superstars and heroes to teenagers all across America. They played Woodstock 1994 along heavyweight acts like Bob Dylan, Aerosmith, Metallica and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but they completely stole the show and even got into a mud fight with the crowd. When Woodstock came back around five years later, they were smart enough to stay home.