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U2, Pretenders Among Rock Hall Inductees
NEW YORK – When he’s not haggling with politicians over Third World debt, U2’s Bono can sing a pretty mean rock ‘n’ roll song. His band, U2, joins the Pretenders, the O’Jays, Percy Sledge and Buddy Guy as inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Monday.
The Irish quartet, which is quickly selling out arenas for a fall concert tour, is one of those rare acts still at the forefront of the music scene at the time of its induction.
Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. won a best rock performance Grammy last month for “Vertigo.” U2 has kept creatively restless since forming as Dublin teenagers, starting with rock anthems like “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” exploring American roots music, performing introspective ballads like “One” and reaching the top with “Beautiful Day.”
Needing at least 25 years as recording artists to be eligible, U2 was voted in to the rock hall in its first year on the ballot.
Known for his free-form induction speeches for others, Bono will have the tables turned on him by Bruce Springsteen, whom he inducted in 1999. That year, Bono recalled how Springsteen never embarrassed himself: “No bad hair period, even in the ’80s.”
The Pretenders came from the same rock generation as U2. Ohio native Hynde was a tough but tender role model for women, singing “Brass in Pocket,” “Precious” and “Back on the Chain Gang.”
The band formed after Hynde moved to London to be a part of its fertile music scene. She’s soldiered on, with drummer Martin Chambers, after guitarists James Honeyman-Scott and Pete Farndon died as drug casualties.
Also from Ohio, the O’Jays are best know for their work with Philly soul producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. “Back Stabbers” was a big hit in 1972, with “Love Train” and “For the Love of Money” as other well-known songs.
Original members Eddie Levert and Walt Williams are still active, and they’ll be inducted with the late William Powell, retiree Bobby Massey and Sammy Strain.
If nothing else, Sledge’s voice has been the backdrop to countless romantic encounters. The Southern soul singer is best known for “When a Man Loves a Woman.”
Guy dominated the Chicago blues guitar scene, and he’ll be ushered into the hall by some pretty decent guitar players themselves √≥ Eric Clapton and B.B. King.
Highlights of the induction ceremony, held at the Waldorf Astoria in New York, will be televised 9 p.m. Saturday on VH1.
Frank Barsalona, credited with creating the first big rock ‘n’ roll booking agency, and Sire Records founder Seymour Stein, were going into the nonperformer category.
Musicians, industry professionals and journalists vote on the inductees. Hall of fame members are permanently enshrined in Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.