21 January 1987: Keith Richards Inducts Aretha Franklin into R’n R’ Hall Fame

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The first woman inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Aretha Franklin was an artist of passion, sophistication and command, whose recordings remain anthems that defined soul music. Long live the Queen. 

Keith Richards seemed a mite fidgety himself, nearly tearing off his tuxedo while inducting Aretha Franklin the 21 January 1987 . When Keith mentioned that Lady Soul was “the first lady to be inducted into this hall of fame,” the crowd roared its approval. The Reverend Cecil Franklin accepted his sister’s award and performed an impromptu victory dance with Richards.

Since Aretha’s legendary induction, only 14 female solo artists have been inducted in the Hall of Fame and 15 bands have been inducted that include women on the bill like Fleetwood Mac or Jefferson Airplane. After 31 years of inducting artists into the Hall of Fame, you’d think that they would do a better job at including more women.

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Below is a video of Aretha’s induction into the Hall of Fame. Franklin was not there to accept her award, but Keith Richards took the stage and said some nice words about Aretha (he seemed pretty out of his mind, too) as well as Clive Davis and Aretha’s brother Cecil Franklin.

Then the assembled legends — along with some future hall-of-famers — descended on the stage for a little honest work, with the able assistance of Paul Shaffer. Sting and Daryl Hall shared a piano bench; a couple of Coasters harmonized with Leiber and Stoller; Paul Butterfield blew tough, bluesy harp; and Bo Diddley, Keith Richards, Carl Perkins and Mick Jones all played guitar. B.B. King shook a pair of maracas until someone thoughtfully handed him an axe. Bo led a joyous version of “Bo Diddley” (of course!), and B.B. tossed off some tart solos that added an extra kick to Perkins’s “Blue Suede Shoes.”

The hits just kept coming. Smokey took the mike for “Going to a Go-Go.” Keith Richards and Chuck Berry slid into a dueling duck-walk routine during “Roll Over Beethoven.” Springsteen and Ben E. King traded elegant vocal lines on “Stand by Me,” and Bruce joined voices with Roy Orbison for a chilling version of “Oh, Pretty Woman” — perhaps the highlight of a stellar evening. Then John Fogerty’s barreling version of “In the Midnight Hour” drove the sweaty all-star jam all the way home.

 

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