CLEVELAND (AP) — 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, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Saturday night during a star-studded event they briefly turned 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.
Green Day was inducted along with Ringo Starr, Joan Jett and The Blackhearts, soul singer-songwriter Bill Withers, underground-rock icon Lou Reed, bluesy guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band and The “5” Royales — an eclectic class who innovated and inspired.
Brash and belligerent, Green Day blasted onto the music scene just as Seattle’s grunge sound was growing stale. The band borrowed took riffs from punk pioneers like The Stooges and Sex Pistols, flavored them with some power chords and pop hooks and helped redefine a genre.
The trio’s album “Dookie” won a Grammy and Green Day went on to make “American Idiot,” a punk-infused rock opera that later became a Broadway hit.
During their acceptance speeches, the band members thanked Ford for making the Econoline they drove on tour and thanked “the hundreds of people who let us sleep on their floors.”
Armstrong got emotional when thanking his sons and wife, and closed with a message to the band’s manager.
“I want to apologize for the hotel rooms and for Tre’s drums catching on fire,” he said.
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.
“I tried not to cry and be tough,” she said, her black mascara starting to run.
Jett and other music legends were welcomed into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Saturday night, an evening made special with two of the Beatles set to come together and play.
Jett opened the show with a rip-roaring version of “Bad Reputation.” She was then 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.
Miley Cyrus inducted Jett, saying “she’s what Superwoman really should be. The first to do many things, not just as a woman, but as a badass babe on the planet.”
Jett said music is what has always moved her.
“I come from a place where rock and roll means something,” she said. “It’s more than music, more than fashion, more than a pose. It’s a subculture of rebellion, frustration, alienation and the groove. … Rock and roll ethic is my entire life.”
Sadly, Vaughan died at the height of his blossoming career. Armed with a signature Stratocaster, the Texas bluesman was a dynamo on six strings. Best known for songs like “Pride and Joy” and “Look At Little Sister,” he won a Grammy for his mesmerizing cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing.”
John Mayer called it the “honor of a lifetime” to induct Vaughan, whom he called “the ultimate guitar hero.”
“Stevie used his guitar to lead him out of town,” said Mayer. “He gave me hope because heroes give you hope. While Jimi Hendrix came down from outer space, Stevie came up from below the ground. He was the ultimate guitar hero, and heroes live forever.”
Mayer then joined fellow guitar whiz Gary Clark Jr. and Vaughn’s older brother, Jimmie, on stage and the three traded mind-blowing solos during “Texas Flood.”
Adored by fans, Starr was the steady beat behind the world’s most celebrated group and the 74-year-old is the last of the Beatles to have his work outside the band recognized. Starr is being inducted by Paul McCartney, whose influence helped get his former drummer enshrined. Starr put out a string of pop hits, including “It Don’t Come Easy,” ”Photograph” and “You’re Sixteen.”
HBO will broadcast the event on May 30.