30th Anniversary of 1986 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

James Brown, Ray Charles, & Elvis Presley Inducted In Rock Hall's First Class

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Simmons, Ken. "30th Anniversary of 1986 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony." ThoughtCo, Mar. 3, 2017, thoughtco.com/anniversary-of-1986-rock-and-roll-hof-ceremony-2851573. Simmons, Ken. (2017, March 3). 30th Anniversary of 1986 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/anniversary-of-1986-rock-and-roll-hof-ceremony-2851573 Simmons, Ken. "30th Anniversary of 1986 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/anniversary-of-1986-rock-and-roll-hof-ceremony-2851573 (accessed October 18, 2017).

Chicago, Cheap Trick, Deep Purple, Steve Miller, and N.W.A. were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 8, 2016 at Barclays Center in New York City. This year, the Hall of Fame is celebrating its 30th anniversary. On January 23, 1986, legendary artists James Brown, Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly, and The Everly Brothers were inducted into the first class of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. What was expected to be only a dinner with acceptance speeches turned into a historic jam session orchestrated by promoter Bill Graham featuring Berry, Lewis, Domino, Billy Joel, Keith Richards and Ron Wood of The Rolling Stones, Neil Young, Steve Winwood, John Fogerty, and Chubby Checker. Paul Shaffer led the "World's Most Dangerous Band" (from Late Night with David Letterman) including saxophonist David Sanborn, guitarist Sid McGinnis, bassist Will Lee, and drummer Steve Jordan.

Highlights included Winwood performing “Gimme Some Lovin’ (The Spencer Davis Group) on organ, Forgery playing "Proud Mary"' for the first time in 14 years, and Checker singing and dancing "The Twist." Berry led the closing jam, duckwalking across the stage to his classic "Roll Over Beethoven" as Joel, Lewis, Fogerty, Richards, Young and Winwood played behind him.

Here is a look back at the "30th Anniversary of the 1986 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony."

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James Brown being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on January 23, 1986 at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. Ebet Roberts/Redferns

James Brown lived up to his nickname, "The Hardest Working Man In Show Business." "The Godfather of Soul" released music over six decades, and placed over 100 singles on the Billboard R&B charts, including 16 number one hits. His many accolades include being inducted into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame, the Kennedy Center Honors, Grammy and BET Lifetime Achievement Awards, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He was inducted by Steve Winwood.

Watch James Brown performing "Papa Got A Brand New Bag" and "I Feel Good" on the Ed Sullivan Show on May 1, 1966 here. More »

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Ray Charles. Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Ray Charles was one of the most versatile recording artists of all time, excelling in R&B, rock and roll, country, gospel, blues, and pop music. He won 17 Grammy Awards and achieved 14 number one Billboard singles. Charles' long list of accolades includes induction into NAACP Image Awards Hall of Fame, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Kennedy Center Honors, the National Medal of Arts, and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. He was inducted by his long time friend and colleague, Quincy Jones.

Watch Ray Charles perform "Georgia On My Mind" on The Midnight Special in 1976 here More »

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Sam Cooke. Jess Rand/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Although he only lived to the age of 33 years old, Sam Cooke was one of the greatest soul singers of all time. He began his career at the age of 15 as the lead vocalist of The Soul Stirrers gospel group, and later segued to secular R&B. Cooke recorded 29 Top 40 hits, including his classics “You Send Me,” “(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons,”  “Wonderful World,” “Chain Gang,” “Cupid,” “Another Saturday Night,” “Twistin’ the Night Away," "Shake," and “A Change Is Gonna Come.” He also excelled as a music publisher and record label owner, and helped other artists, including Bobby Womack, Johnnie Taylor, Billy Preston and Lou Rawls, make the transition to soul music. His honors include the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and receiving a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. 

Cooke was inducted posthumously by Al Green.

Watch Sam Cooke perform  "Twistin' The Night Away" in 1963 here. More »

Little Richard, Stevie Wonder's mother Lula Mae Hardaway, Stevie Wonder and Chuck Berry. Frank Edwards/Fotos International/Getty Images

One of the true architects of rock and roll, Little Richard is one of the most influential artists in music history. His classics "Tutti Frutti," "Lucille," "Long Tall Sally," and "Here's Little Richard" were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. "Tutti Frutti was also included in the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry. His long list of honors includes a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, American Music Award of Merit, NAACP Image Awards Hall of Fame, and the Songwriters Hall of Fame

A car accident prevented him from attending the 1986 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony where he was inducted by Roberta Flack.

Watch Little Richard perform "Lucille" live here. More »

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Chuck Berry performing at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony on January 23, 1986 at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. Ebet Roberts/Redferns

Chuck Berry is one of the pioneers of rock and roll. His accolades include a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, the Kennedy Center Honors, and being named seventh on Time magazine's 2009 list of the 10 best electric guitar players of all time. On May 14, 2002, Berry was honored as one of the first BMI Icons at the 50th annual BMI Pop Awards

The legendary guitarist is known for his duckwalk on stage, which he introduced during a 1956 concert in New York. His list of classics includes “Sweet Little Sixteen,” “Rock and Roll Music,” "Maybellene,” “School Day,” "Johnny B. Goode," and “Back in the U.S.A.” Berry also appeared in several rock and roll movies in the 1950s, including Rock, Rock, Rock!, Mister Rock and Roll, and Go, Johnny, Go! 

Berry was inducted by Keith Richards, who stated, "It's very difficult for me to talk about Chuck Berry 'cause I've lifted every lick he ever played. this is the gentleman who started it all!" Berry was the centerpiece of the closing jam session, performing "Roll Over Beethoven" and "Johnny Be Goode" with Richards, Ron Wood, Billy Joel, Jerry Lee Lewis, John Fogerty,  Neil Young,  Steve Winwood, Hank Williams Jr., and Fats Domino.

Watch Chuck Berry perform "Johnny B. Goode" live in 1958 here. More »

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Fats Domino. David Redfern/Redferns

Born in New Orleans in 1928, pianist, singer and songwriter Fats Domino was one of the most popular artists from the 1950s era, selling over 65 million records, and achieving 35 Top 40 hits. His classics include "Ain't That a Shame," "Blueberry Hill" and "I'm Walkin'." He was inducted by Billy Joel, who credited him for proving “the piano was a rock and roll instrument.”

Watch Fats Domino perform "I'm Walkin'" live here. More »

Elvis Presley. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Elvis Presley was the "King of Rock and Roll," known simply as "The King." He is the most successful artist in music history with over 600 million records sold. Presley achieved a record 104 Top 40 hits, including over 30 number one singles, and over 20 chart topping albums. His many classic songs include "Heartbreak Hotel," “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Hound Dog,” “Love Me Tender,” “All Shook Up” and “Jailhouse Rock.” Presley was also a movie superstar, starring in over 30 films, including Love Me Tender, Jailhouse rock, and Viva Las Vegas. 

Presley passed away in 1977 at the age of 42. His Graceland estate in Memphis, Tennessee was transformed into a museum which receives over 650,000 visitors a year. "The King" was inducted posthumously by the sons of John Lennon, Julian and Sean Lennon.

Watch Elvis Prelsey perform "Heartbreak Hotel" live here. More »

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Jerry Lee Lewis

Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, and Ray Charles at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony on January 23, 1986 at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. Ebet Roberts/Redferns

Known as "The Wild Man," Jerry Lee Lewis sold over six million copies of his classic “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” and over five million copies of “Great Balls of Fire.” In 1956, he recorded a jam session with Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Carl Perkins which was released in 1981 in Europe under the name, The Million Dollar Quartet. His song "High School Confidential" became the title of a 1958 movie in which he was featured. In 1963, he embarked on a successful career as a country music artist, and recorded over 30 country hits. Then in 1973, he returned to rock and roll. In 1989, Lewis was the subject of the movie Great Balls of Fire! starring Dennis Quaid.

Lewis' honors include a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. He was inducted by Hank Williams, Jr.  

Watch Jerry Lee Lewis perform "Great Balls of Fire" live here.

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Ed Sullivan with Buddy Holey. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Buddy Holly was an innovator of rock and roll who was one of the first artists to utilize double tracking in his recording sessions. He also pioneered the standard rock band lineup of two guitars, bass and drums. His classics include “Rave On,” “Peggy Sue,” “That’ll Be the Day,” Oh Boy!” and “Maybe Baby.” 

Holly made a tremendous impact on the music industry despite the fact that his recording career only lasted three years. He died in a plane crash on February 3, 1959 in Clear Lake, Iowa along with Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper. Holly was only 22 years old. He was the subject of the 1978 movie The Buddy Holly Story which earned Gary Busey an Oscar nomination for Best Actor.

Holly was inducted posthumously by John Fogerty.

Watch Buddy Holly perform  "Peggy Sue" live on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1958 here. More »

The Everly Brothers at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City on January 23, 1986. Ebet Roberts/Redferns

The Everly Brothers, Don Everly and Phil Everly, created a unique sound that achieved success on the country, pop, and R&B charts in the 1950s and 60s. Their hits include "Bye Bye Love,” “Wake Up Little Susie,” “Devoted to You,” “Bird Dog,” “Poor Jenny,” “All I Have to Do Is Dream,” and “Cathy’s Clown."

Their honors include a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, the Country Music Hall of Fame, and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame. The Everly Brothers were inducted by Neil Young.

Watch The Everly Brothers perform “All I Have to Do Is Dream” live here. More »