While inducting Queen, Taylor Hawkins recalled, "Queen were my first concert, and every concert since has been a bit of a letdown." Dave Grohl added that he once told an interviewer after playing in front of 250,000 people "that if you want to learn how to connect to an audience that size, you either watched the pope or Freddie Mercury."
Inducting Chris Blackwell, Bono said, "For some, music is an excuse to make money. For others, money is an excuse to make music." Among his thank-yous, Blackwell singled out former Spencer Davis Group and Traffic member Steve Winwood, "the cornerstone of Island Records," as well as Blackwell's home country, Jamaica.
Saving the best for last, Steven Tyler zinged possibly the greatest line of the night. Just before delivering his own rhyming speech, in which he thanked everyone from The Beatles, Stones, and Kinks to Nat King Cole, the Pretty Things, God, Louis Armstrong, and Clive Davis, he said, "I wonder if this'll put an end to 'Hey, aren't you Mick Jagger?'"
As they joined the show-ending inductee jam (which included self-proclaimed sideman Richards, Robbie Robertson, Bono, Melissa Etheridge, Blige, Jann Wenner, Dion, and assorted others), Aerosmith seemed thrilled that its career as America's Stones was validated at last.
For a commentary on the Rock Hall by ABC Radio's Al Mancini, click here.