Broadcasted live for the first time in its nearly 40 year history, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2023 induction ceremony was truly one to remember. The 13 inductees for this year included Kate Bush, Rage Against The Machine, Sheryl Crow, Missy Elliott, The Spinners, George Michael, and Willie Nelson - each for their contributions and skills as performers, songwriters, and instrumentalists.
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The show highlighted live covers from the most influential artists of today, from the likes of H.E.R. to Chris Stapleton. “These performers will celebrate the legacy and influence of the class of 2023, who represent the diversity and vitality that define and illuminate the meaning of rock and roll” the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame said in a statement.
For those unable to watch live, the show is available to stream on-demand, and ABC will also help ring in the new year by airing a special featuring performance highlights and standout moments on Monday, January 1, 2024 from 8-11PM ET. But before you dig into streaming the 4 hour and 22 minute long ceremony, check out the best moments of the night below
Sheryl Crow performs with Olivia Rodrigo, Stevie Nicks, and Peter Frampton
Kicking off the ceremony with a concert, Sheryl Crow took to the stage with longtime admirer Olivia Rodrigo. The two sang the 90s hit, “If It Makes You Happy” as Rodrigo’s quieter tone and acoustic guitar perfectly weaved into Crow’s belting and electric guitar. After a brief induction speech by actress Laura Dern, Sheryl Crow then walked out with rock and roll legend Stevie Nicks to perform “Strong Enough,” before Peter Frampton joined in on the easy-rocking “Everyday Is a Winding Road.”
Carrie Underwood pays tribute to George Michael with “One More Try”
The late George Michael was inducted by his childhood friend and Wham! bandmate Andrew Ridgely. "George was one of the greatest singers of our time," Ridgely stated definitely, with the crowd roaring in cheers and agreement. "His voice was sublime. It expressed both strength and vulnerability, qualities that resonate throughout his outstanding songwriting." To honor that voice, singers Miguel and Adam Levine took on songs “Careless Whisper” and “Faith.” However, it was Carrie Underwood’s version of Michael’s “One More Try” that brought the house down, as she seemed to echo the same emotion yet power that fans miss so dearly from George Michael.
St. Vincent covers Kate Bush
“What I love about Kate’s music is that you never know what you’re going to hear next,” said Outkast member Big Boi. Though she did not attend in person, Kate Bush’s induction into the Hall of Fame was a clear result of her lasting impact and recent resurgence. “Why wouldn’t you think she’s a current artist?” Big Boi continued in his speech. It was, therefore, quite fitting that multiinstrumentalist and singer St. Vincent performed her own take on “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God).” Her voice seemed to glide over Bush’s difficult melody, and invoked that same sense of ethereal power as the original.
Willie Nelson is inducted, performs with Chris Stapleton, Sheryl Crow, and Dave Matthews
90-year old Willie Nelson became the oldest living inductee to accept the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame honor in person, and as if that feat wasn’t enough, continued on to perform three of his most famous songs. Chris Stapleton lent a hand with the song, “Whiskey Rye,” as did fellow inductee Sheryl Crow on “Crazy.” While Nelson may have been a bit slower as a lead, he was still a phenomenal soloist. Both musicians then joined him for a closing performance of “On the Road Again” with singer Dave Matthews in the forefront. Matthews had introduced Nelson earlier, and cited him as both a musical and philosophical inspiration. “It's people like Willie Nelson that made me hopeful for us all,” he said, noting an ever-changing political landscape. “Willie is an example of how the world could be if we could just straighten up and fly right.”
Missy Elliott is the first female rapper in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Only the legendary Missy Elliott could manage to get an audience on their feet and dancing after a four-hour long ceremony. And the celebration was well deserved, as Missy became the first female rapper in Rock and Roll Hall of Fame history to be inducted. Elliott performed a melody of some of her top songs including “Get Ur Freak On,” “The Rain,” “Pass That Dutch,” “Work It” and “Lose Control.” “I understand if you need to sit down – Missy will wear you out!” Queen Latifah said, as if predicting Elliott’s effect on the crowd. But for the rapper, the award itself was the real feat. “First of all, I’m not even gonna start without thanking God,” she said in her speech. “I’ve been through so many ups and downs and I know where my gifts come from. God has brought me all the way here. He has allowed me to meet some incredible people along the way.” She then went on to thank her musical influences, her mom who saw her perform for the first time that night, and even her fellow inductees. “I thank y’all, all the inductees. Y’all are so amazing. And congratulations to y’all. I’m honored to even be in the room with you all.”
The 2023 Hall of Fame Induction ceremony is available for playback now on Disney+