Watch Justin Timberlake's Memphis Music Hall of Fame Induction - Rolling Stone
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Watch Justin Timberlake’s Memphis Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

Singer honored by hometown institution with funny, moving induction speech from Jimmy Fallon

Justin Timberlake was inducted into his hometown Memphis Music Hall of Fame Saturday night in a ceremony that included a duet with Sam & Dave’s Sam Moore, covers of classics by Otis Redding and Al Green and a funny, moving induction speech from Timberlake’s good friend Jimmy Fallon. The event took place at the Tennessee city’s Cannon Center.

“When they first asked me to help induct Justin into the Memphis Music Hall of Fame, three things came to mind: How much? Where am I staying? And most importantly, how do I get out of this,” Fallon joked during his introduction. “This is Justin Timberlake we’re talking about, and who better to induct him than me, Mrs. Justin Timberlake.”

Fallon then recounted how the hardworking Timberlake always brought “110 percent” to everything they worked on. “As his friend I could tell you that this is such a big honor for Justin and it couldn’t happen to a more deserving guy,” Fallon continued. “He’s given us so much amazing music over the years. I’m talking ‘Cry Me a River,’ ‘SexyBack,” “Suit & Tie,’ ‘Mirrors,’ “Dick in a Box!’ That’s right, he was the first Justin whose dick went viral. Sorry, Bieber.”

Timberlake then took the stage for his acceptance speech, telling the crowd of just over 2,000 people, “This is the fucking coolest thing that has ever happened to me.” Timberlake’s 20-minute speech served as a tribute to the city that’s home to Beale Street, Stax Records and an epicenter of the blues, The Tennessean reports. “The Grammys are political. The Emmys are political. Memphis is not political.”

“My favorite part about this city is we don’t apologize for who we are, and that’s who this city has taught me to be … I’m truly honored to stand on the shoulders of all the legends that I grew up listening to and admiring. I stand beside them now,” Timberlake said. “London ain’t got no Gus’s Fried Chicken. Paris may rendezvous, but they ain’t got no Rendezvous. Egypt has the pyramid, they don’t have no Bass Pro Pyramid.”

Timberlake’s performance portion of his induction was similarly indebted to Memphis: During a duet of Redding’s “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay” alongside fellow MMHOF inductee Sam Moore of Sam & Dave, the 20/20 Experience singer changed the lyrics to “I left my home in Memphis, headed for the lights of L.A.”

In addition to Timberlake and Sam & Dave, other new members of the Memphis Music Hall of Fame include Booker T. & the MG’s drummer Al Jackson Jr., singer Alberta Hunter, pianist Memphis Slim, country singer Charlie Rich and Elvis Presley guitarist Scotty Moore, who was inducted into the Hall by Keith Richards.


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