The ceremony began with The Roots, David Byrne and Kimbra performing Bowie’s “Fame” followed by Metallica’s Lars Ulrich giving a reverent speech about heavy metal pioneer Deep Purple. The group’s current lineup — Ian Gillan, Ian Paice and Roger Glover — appeared alongside Seventies-era singer/bassist Glenn Hughes and vocalist David Coverdale.
Steve Miller played his vintage hits like “The Joker” after being inducted by the Black Keys. The “Fly Like An Eagle” rocker gained attention for blasting the music industry, his label representative and the Hall of Fame itself in his post-induction interview. During his Hall of Fame performance, the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney left the Barclays Center midway through Miller’s performance and did not return.
Other highlights of the evening included a tribute to the late Eagles singer Glenn Frey by Sheryl Crow and Grace Potter performing the Eagles’ “New Kid in Town” and Cheap Trick uniting for a joyous run through beloved hits “I Want You To Want Me,” “Dream Police” and “Surrender.”
But the climax of the ceremony came when rapper Kendrick Lamar inducted N.W.A, whose members delivered some of the most memorable speeches. MC Ren called out KISS rocker Gene Simmons — who’d recently told Rolling Stone that he was looking forward to the death of rap — with the proclamation, “Hip-hop is here forever. Get used to it!”