Patti Smith and The Ronettes have the power


Last night, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted a handful of new members, including Patti Smith, R.E.M., Van Halen, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five (the first hip hop group to be inducted into the Hall of Fame), and The Ronettes.

Smith recalled that her late husband (Fred Smith) predicted she would one day be inducted, "He said to me, ‘Tricia, one day you’re going to get into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,’ ” Ms. Smith said. “He asked me to accept it like a lady and not say any curse words and to make certain to salute new generations. Because it is the new generations that will redefine the landscape of rock ‘n’ roll.”

Smith then covered the Rolling Stones‘ "Gimme Shelter," then sang the hit she co-wrote with Bruce Springsteen, "Because the Night." Later, the ceremony closed with an all-star peformance of Smith’s "People Have the Power."

Keith Richards inducted The Ronettes, telling the audience, "They could sing all their way right through a wall of sound…They didn’t need anything. They touched my heart right there and then and they touch it still.”

Front woman Ronnie Spector thanked pretty much everyone on the planet except her former husband/producer (and accused murderer) Phil Spector before taking the stage with The Ronettes to sing some of their biggest hits.

One of the many highlights of the evening was Aretha Franklin‘s performance of “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)" in tribute to the recently deceased Hall of Fame founder and record executive Ahmet Ertegun. The song was the first million-seller Franklin made with Ertegun.

The only real controversy during the ceremony was supplied by venerable drama queens Van Halen. Estranged front man David Lee Roth was invited to attend the ceremony but took his spandex and went home after an argument over what song he would perform with his house band for the evening, Velvet Revolver. Eddie Van Halen had just entered rehab and could not attend.

Roth’s one-time "replacement" (as if!) Sammy Hagar and recently fired bassist Michael Anthony ended up being the only VH members to attend. Hagar expressed regret that not all of the band members could be there, but added, “You couldn’t get me from here with a shotgun.”

We know, Sammy, we know.

The ceremony was broadcast live on VH1 Classic and America Online, and VH1 will broadcast an edited version of the ceremony this Saturday at 9 p.m.

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