- Associated Press - Monday, March 14, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) - Singer Darlene Love calls her induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame her best 70th birthday present.

She fought back tears in her acceptance speech in New York City on Monday night.

She was inducted with a comic ramble by Bette Midler, who said she was a goner when she first heard Love’s voice on a transistor radio. Love lent her powerful voice to several of producer Phil Spector’s hits, in acts such the Crystals and Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans. Her “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” is a holiday standard.

New Orleans piano maestro Dr. John also was inducted among a class to include Neil Diamond, Alice Cooper and Tom Waits.

The work by the inducted artists will be celebrated in perpetuity at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland.

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Online:

http://www.rockhall.com

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

NEW YORK (AP) _ New Orleans piano maestro Dr. John wore a bright purple suit for his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Monday, leading a class with Neil Diamond, Alice Cooper and Tom Waits.

Fellow pianist Leon Russell and “Wall of Sound” singer Darlene Love also were to be inducted at a black-tie dinner at The Waldorf-Astoria hotel in Manhattan. A tape of the ceremony is to air March 20 on Fuse.

Dr. John said he felt “like I’m blessed to be singing, to be breathing.”

He was inducted by singer John Legend, who recalled meeting him at a benefit for Hurricane Katrina relief. Legend said the new Hall of Fame member has been a leading global ambassador for New Orleans and its special musical gumbo.

“He has never stopped flying the flag of funk,” Legend said. “Tonight, he is definitely in the right place at the right time.”

That was a reference to one of Dr. John’s best-known songs, “Right Place, Wrong Time,” with Allen Toussaint and the Meters.

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