By Brian Ives
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has announced the presenters for three of the honorees at this year’s induction ceremony.
Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson of Rush will present Yes while Neil Young will present Pearl Jam and Jackson Browne will do the honors for Joan Baez.
Four years ago, when this writer interviewed Yes bassist/leader Chris Squire, he practically requested the members of Rush to be presenters, should Yes ever be inducted into the Rock Hall. “Maybe those Rush guys who got in last year!” he said. “If you know Geddy (Lee), let him know that that would be fine by me. I don’t know how these things work, though.” Rush was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013. Squire passed away in June of 2015.
Neil Young and Pearl Jam have a lot of history together; Pearl Jam has been covering Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World” since 1992, when the song was only three years old. In 1993, Pearl Jam invited Young onstage with them at the MTV Video Music Awards for a now-iconic performance of “Rockin’ in the Free World.” In 1995, Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder presented Young at his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of fame, and member of Pearl Jam jammed with Neil Young and Crazy Horse that night. Young and Pearl Jam went on to tour together and collaborate on record as well; Pearl Jam was the backing band on Young’s 1995 album Mirror Ball; the same sessions yielded Pearl Jam’s Merkin Ball EP, on which Young guested. Ironically, at the time, Young raved about Pearl Jam’s then-new drummer, Jack Irons, saying, “Jack Irons, their drummer, who was just unbelievable. He just played his a– off on every take at every session. I can’t say enough good things about him.” Irons is not being included with Pearl Jam for the induction (he is, however, a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer as a member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers). Young went on a European tour with Pearl Jam as his backing band to support Mirror Ball.
Still not known is who will be tapped to present Tupac Shakur, Journey, Electric Light Orchestra and Nile Rodgers.
The 32nd Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place on Friday, April 7 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Tickets for the event will go on sale to the public on Friday, February 3 at 10 a.m.