Ringo Starr, Green Day rock their way into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame


Ringo Starr was ush­ered into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with a lit­tle help from one of his fa­mous friends.

The mop-topped drum­mer who kept the beat for the Bea­tles, Starr was in­ducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist on Satur­day night dur­ing a cer­e­mony jammed with scin­til­lat­ing per­for­mances and touch­ing mo­ments.

Starr was the last of the Bea­tles to be in­ducted for his in­di­vid­ual work, get­ting in af­ter band­mates Paul McCart­ney, John Len­non and Ge­orge Har­ri­son. He was al­ways the fourth Bea­tle — John, Paul, Ge­orge ... and Ringo — but now he’s been im­mor­tal­ized as a front­man.

Starr was in­ducted along with Green Day, un­der­ground- icon Lou Reed, Joan Jett and The Black­hearts, soul singer- song­writer Bill Withers, gui­tarist Ste­vie Ray Vaughan and Dou­ble Trou­ble, The Paul But­ter­field Blues Band and The “5” Royales.

The 74- year- old Starr was in­ducted by McCart­ney, and then stepped to the podium and said: “My name is Ringo and I play drums” — as if any­one didn’t know.

He was then joined on stage by Ea­gles gui­tarist Joe Walsh on “It Don’t Come Easy” be­fore McCart­ney came out to play bass, the two living Bea­tles jamming again, to “A Lit­tle Help From My Friends.”

With plenty of punk at­ti­tude and en­ergy, Green Day thrashed its way into the Rock Hall.

The Bay Area trio, which formed as teenagers and helped make punk rock ra­dio friendly in the 1990s, briefly turned the star- stud­ded event into one of their high- in­ten­sity shows with a pow­er­ful set of some of their most mem­o­rable hits.

From the open­ing power chords of “Amer­i­can Id­iot,” Bil­lie Joe Arm­strong, Mike Dirnt and Tre Cool had the crowd at Cleve­land’s Public Hall danc­ing in the aisles.

Brash and bel­liger­ent, Green Day blasted onto the mu­sic scene just as Seat­tle’s grunge sound was grow­ing stale. The band bor­rowed riffs from punk pi­o­neers like The Stooges and Sex Pis­tols, fla­vored them with some power chords and pop hooks and helped re­de­fine a genre.

Reed was both dar­ing and provoca­tive as a song­writer and lyri­cist, push­ing bound­aries with bal­lads about for­bid­den sub­jects like drugs, pros­ti­tu­tion and sui­cide. Reed’s songs like “Walk On The Wild Side,” “Vi­cious” and “Heroin” re­main vi­brant to­day. Although he died in 2013, Reed con­tin­ues to in­flu­ence a young gen­er­a­tion of mu­si­cians touched by his rebel ways.

Patti Smith re­mem­bered Reed the poet and re­called be­ing at Rock­away Beach when she got the news of his death. She rode the sub­way back to New York City, Reed’s city.

Withers was in­ex­pli­ca­bly left off the hall’s bal­lot for years, per­haps an un­for­tu­nate over­sight. But the 76-yearold, who walked away from the mu­sic in­dus­try in the 1980s, is now part of mu­si­cal roy­alty with a cat­a­log of time­less songs like “Lean On Me.” And “Just The Two Of Us.” Dur­ing his in­duc­tion speech, Won­der said he would of­ten hear Withers’ mu­sic and say, “I wish I could have writ­ten that song.”

Won­der per­formed “Ain’t No Sun­shine” with Withers sit­ting next to him on stage en­joy­ing ev­ery sec­ond. Withers, who has rarely per­formed in public over the past three decades, then helped sing the “Lean On Me” cho­rus with John Leg­end.

Jett couldn’t keep her rough rocker edge for long. Af­ter be­ing in­tro­duced, Jett, the black- leathered girl you might not bring home to meet your mom, was moved to tears.

Jett opened the show with a riproar­ing ver­sion of “Bad Rep­u­ta­tion” and was joined by Foo Fighters front­man and for­mer Nir­vana drum­mer Dave Grohl for a blis­ter­ing “Cherry Bomb,” one of her hits with The Runaways, a band that broke down bar­ri­ers for women in rock.

Sadly, Vaughan died in 1990 at the height of his blos­som­ing ca­reer in a he­li­copter crash. Armed with his sig­na­ture Stra­to­caster, the Texas blues­man was an un­stop­pable force on six strings.

John Mayer called it the “honor of a life­time” to in­duct Vaughan, whom he called “the ul­ti­mate gui­tar hero.”

HBO will broad­cast the event on May 30.


Ringo Starr, left, and Paul McCart­ney ac­knowl­edge the crowd at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame In­duc­tion Cer­e­mony on Sun­day, April 19.

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