A Musical History of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

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Welcome to THIS IS AMERICA in VOA Special English. I'm Steve Ember. And I'm Faith Lapidus.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary with two concerts later this month in New York City. This week on our program, we play music by some hall of famers, including artists who will be performing at those concerts.

That was Aretha Franklin with her nineteen sixty-seven hit "Respect." The Queen of Soul was the first woman to be honored in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. That was in nineteen eighty-seven, a year after the first induction ceremony, which took place at a hotel in New York.

The first hall of famers included names like Buddy Holly, Fats Domino, Ray Charles, the Everly Brothers and, of course, Elvis Presley. Here he is with a song from nineteen fifty-six, "Hound Dog."

Elvis Presley died in nineteen seventy-seven. But this next Rock and Roll Hall of Famer is scheduled to perform on October twenty-ninth during the first of two nights of concerts. Here is Stevie Wonder with his nineteen sixty-five hit single "Up-Tight (Everything's Alright)."

Also performing on the same night as Stevie Wonder will be Simon and Garfunkel. Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel combined rock and roll with folk and pop to create their sound in the nineteen sixties.

Their first hit was also praised for its sense of poetry. Here are Simon and Garfunkel with "The Sound of Silence."

David Crosby, Steven Stills and Graham Nash will also perform at the concert. Crosby, Stills and Nash entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in nineteen ninety-seven.

Crosby, Stills and Nash released their first album in nineteen sixty-nine. It included this song, "Marrakesh Express."

In nineteen ninety-nine, the Boss, Bruce Springsteen, was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Bono from U2 introduced him.

BONO: "Here was a dude who carried himself like Brando, Dylan and Elvis. But he was something new, too. He was the end of long hair, brown rice and bell bottoms. He was the end of the twenty minute drum solo. It was goodnight Haight-Ashbury, hello Asbury Park."

Haight-Ashbury is the San Francisco neighborhood where hippies gathered in the nineteen sixties. Asbury Park is a beach town in New Jersey, the state where Bruce Springsteen grew up. His first album in nineteen seventy-three was called "Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J."

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will be performing for the Hall of Fame anniversary. Here they are with their song "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out."

Another artist performing for the anniversary will be Eric Clapton. The English-born rocker was the first performer to be inducted into the Hall of Fame three times. He was honored first as a member of the Yardbirds, then with Cream, then as a solo performer in two thousand. Here is his reggae hit "I Shot The Sheriff."

Another hall of famer inducted more than once is Paul Simon. He was honored as part of Simon and Garfunkel, then as a solo artist in two thousand one. His best-known solo work is probably the album "Graceland." He recorded it with musicians in South Africa in nineteen eighty-six. The album included this song, "Diamonds On the Soles of Her Shoes."

The Irish group U2 will also be at the anniversary concerts. The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in two thousand five. Bruce Springsteen did the honors:

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN: "This was a band that not only wanted to lay claim to this world, but had their eyes on the next one, too. This band has carried their faith and the great inspirational and resurrective power of rock and roll with them.  They've never faltered, only a little bit. They believed in themselves, but more importantly, they believed in U2. Thank you Bono, Edge, Adam, and Larry. Please welcome U2 to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame."

U2's nineteen eighty-three album "War" dealt with conflict, especially the years of violence in Northern Ireland. That conflict led to the song "Sunday Bloody Sunday."

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum opened in Cleveland, Ohio, fourteen years ago. But the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation was founded twenty-five years ago. Or twenty-six; it depends where you read on the museum Web site.

In any case, nineteen eighty-three was the year Ahmet Ertegun set out to establish an organization that became the foundation. He was co-founder of Atlantic Records. He wanted to recognize the people who have created what he called "the most popular music of our time."

Our program was written by Nancy Steinbach and produced by Caty Weaver. I'm Faith Lapidus. And I'm Steve Ember. Join us again next week for THIS IS AMERICA in VOA Special English.