Rock Royalty Hails U2, Pretenders

U2 and other music legends get the royal treatment tonight as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame makes its annual inductions.

The Irish rockers, '70s Philly-soul gods The O'Jays, classic balladeer Percy Sledge, legendary bluesman Buddy Guy and New Wave pioneers The Pretenders will be honored at a ceremony at New York City's Waldorf-Astoria, although the Hall of Fame itself is located in Cleveland.

Artists become eligible for induction 25 years after the release of their first record, and in its inimitable way, the rock hall will mix an eclectic group of presenters to toast the guests of honor.

The ceremony's 20th edition will feature Bruce Springsteen paying tribute to Ireland's favorite sons. He's returning a favor for Bono, who did the honors when the Boss was inducted in 1999.

Pop heartthrob Justin Timberlake, whose *NSYNC clearly was influenced by the male soul singers of the 1970s, will do the honors when he inducts the O'Jays. Rod Stewart will be saluting Sledge, another incomparable vocalist.

B.B. King and Eric Clapton are scheduled to honor guitar god Guy, while the original punk rocker, Neil Young will be paying dues to the Pretenders' musical prowess.

25 Years Later, U2 Is Still on Top

Twenty-five years after its groundbreaking debut, "Boy," U2 is on top of the world. Its latest critically acclaimed release, "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb," tops the charts in 20 countries and the band is undertaking a sold-out, yearlong world tour

Universally hailed as one of the best rock bands of all time, U2 has managed to maintain musical and social relevance in its long career. Bono's nomination for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize, thanks to his extensive work with African debt and AIDS relief efforts, speaks volumes of U2's philosophy of using music as a platform to make the world a better place for everyone, especially the disadvantaged.

Ohio-based, Philly-sound soulsters the O'Jays are responsible for some of the biggest hits of the '70s. Songs like "Love Train," "Backstabbers" and "For the Love of Money" helped define the boogie-fever decade and have become classics.

Just like its sound, the O'Jays is still around and grooving audiences around the world.

Sledge, known as "The Golden Voice of Soul," is best known for singing what is arguably the most beautiful love song ever written. "When a Man Loves a Woman" started off as a demo in a small studio in Alabama in 1966 and thanks to Percy's pipes, it has become one of the greatest songs of all time.

Sledge's golden voice also helped make songs like "Take Time To Know Her" and "It Tears Me Up," timeless R&B classics.

Guy is a cornerstone of contemporary American blues, and rockers such as Keith Richards, Jeff Beck, Clapton and the late Stevie Ray Vaughn have hailed him as a huge influence.

Handpicked by The Rolling Stones as an opening guest during the massive 1994 "Voodoo Lounge" tour, Guy -- whose high-energy guitar prowess and boundless energy on stage are his trademarks -- is the reigning king of the Windy City's blues scene.

One of the most successful groups to come out of the late 1970s London New Wave scene, the Pretenders burst onto the scene with the sassy "Brass in Pocket."

The band -- three Englishmen fronted by American Chrissie Hynde and her razor-sharp voice -- scored a string of major hits, including "Don't Get Me Wrong," "Back on the Chain Gang" and "Middle of The Road," even while suffering the drug-related deaths of two founding members.

Nonperformers Honored

In the lifetime achievement in the nonperformer category, Frank Barsalona and Seymour Stein will be inducted. Barsalona is responsible for creating the first legitimate rock 'n' roll booking agency. Working with artists like The Who, Led Zeppelin and Springsteen, he revolutionized the business of rock.

Stein, who is chairman and co-founder of Sire Records, is one of the most successful executives in the music business. He discovered and signed The Ramones, Madonna and Talking Heads, among others

The 2005 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Ceremony will be taped to air on VH1 on Saturday at 9 p.m.

Bruno Del Granado is a freelance producer for ABC News' "World News Now" and the president of Entertainment Media Factory, a record label and music production company.