- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 21, 2001

NEW YORK — Aerosmith may have sold millions of records and played in front of thousands of people, but the band was far from jaded after being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for its three-decade-long career.
"Its totally overwhelming, because when you see all these people up there that you cut your teeth on and listened to and heard, to think that youve got a room next to Elvis Presley now, is like, wow, " Aerosmiths lead singer, Steven Tyler, said as he held his induction trophy backstage.
Aerosmith joined Michael Jackson, Paul Simon, Queen and Steely Dan in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Monday. Also inducted were the doo-wop group the Flamingos, "La Bamba" singer Ritchie Valens, soul singer Solomon Burke, sidemen Johnnie Johnson and James Burton, and Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records.
For Mr. Jackson and Mr. Simon, it was their second trip to the hall both were inducted previously for their legendary beginnings with the Jackson Five and Simon and Garfunkel.
Mr. Simon said the past honor did not lessen the nights achievement.
"One recognizes a certain part of my work, and this recognizes the period that followed . Theyre both equally gratifying, " he said.
Onstage, Mr. Simon was effusive in his thanks: He delivered a rambling acceptance speech that ran 10 minutes long. Among those who got thanks were Quincy Jones and Mr. Simons bandleader father.
He got his biggest reaction, however, when he mentioned his former partner. Mr. Simon said, "I regret the ending of our friendship, and I hope that one day before I die we will make peace with each other."
After the audience applauded warmly, Mr. Simon deadpanned, "No rush."
Mr. Jackson, who recently broke his foot at his ranch, hobbled on stage after a tribute by boy band N Sync.
"As you can see, theres not going to be any moonwalking tonight, " Mr. Jackson said.
In a typically short speech, Mr. Jackson thanked Motown founder Berry Gordy and Diana Ross, whom he called his "second mother. " He also paid tribute to his parents for blessing him with his talent.
"To me, the gift of music has been a great blessing, from the time I was a child, " Mr. Jackson said.
The musicians of Aerosmith called "the greatest rock band in American history" by Detroit rap rocker Kid Rock thanked their families for supporting a career that included stardom, a steep fall and surprising resurrection. The bands new album debuted this week at No. 2 on the Billboard charts, and the group has a Top 20 hit with "Jaded. " It was honored for work that included the prototype rock ballad, "Dream On."
Mr. Tyler made a wry reference to the unflattering early comparison of Aerosmith to the Rolling Stones and his own resemblance to the bands singer.
"I wonder if this will put an end to, 'Hey, arent you Mick Jagger?" he said.
Queen, whose lead singer, Freddie Mercury, died of AIDS in 1991, performed "We Will Rock You" as a trio and invited Foo Fighter Dave Grohl to sing an incendiary version of "Tie Your Mother Down. " Mr. Mercurys mother, Jer Bulsara, accepted her late sons trophy.
Steely Dan was inducted by techno-artist Moby, who said, "They always seemed different somehow. On the one hand, their music is warm and beautiful, but on the other hand, it is so unsettling."
The group, which consists of the reclusive duo of Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, won three Grammys last month, including album of the year for "Two Against Nature."
Ricky Martin inducted Richie Valens, the most prominent Latin rocker of rocks early days, who died in a 1959 plane crash.
The Flamingos were best-known for their lush, romantic ballad "I Only Have Eyes for You. " The adult children of several members who have died joined other Flamingo members onstage to accept their trophy.
Mr. Blackwell, given a tribute by U2 lead singer Bono, was inducted in the nonperforming category.
The Rolling Stones Keith Richards, wearing what appeared to be key chains in his hair, inducted Johnnie Johnson, piano player for Chuck Berry, into the hall in the sidemen category. Elvis Presley guitarist James Burton also was given that honor.
Mr. Richards said he identified with sidemen, who have to "watch this bum with a hairdo" to make sure he doesnt make a fool of himself.
The irascible Mr. Berry was absent from the ceremony honoring his 28-year musical partner, which was no surprise, considering that Mr. Johnson recently filed suit against him seeking millions of dollars in past royalties for songs he says he co-wrote.
The night ended with its traditional jam session. The highlight featured Kid Rock and Mr. Burke delivering a rousing rendition of Mr. Burkes hit "Everybody Needs Someone to Love."
Toward the end, Mr. Burke gave members of the audience a chance to live out their ultimate rock fantasy, pulling several onstage to sing with Aerosmith, Mr. Richards, Mr. Johnson and Queens Brian May, even allowing one woman to belt out a few lyrics before the evening came to an end.
The ceremony, at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, was being taped for telecast tonight on VH1. The names of honorees are on exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland.

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