15 Mar 05
On Monday evening, 14 March 2005, Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Eric Clapton and B.B. King inducted bluesman Buddy Guy into the Rock Hall. The 20th Annual Ceremony took place at New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel.
In honoring Buddy, B.B. spoke without prepared remarks. He told the crowd that the first time he met Buddy, he was in the company of Muddy Waters. B.B. told the crowd that he is proud to call Buddy a friend and that he is an inspiration.
Eric echoed B.B.’s sentiments. He told the audience that the first time he heard Buddy was on an album called "Folk Festival of the Blues", He pointed out that Buddy’s playing stood out on many of the Chess recordings and he was always able to pick him out. He said Buddy "confidently pushed the blues into the 20th Century." Eric related how he first saw Buddy at London’s Marquee Club when he was a teenager. He said it was "an earth shattering experience that brought the house crashing down." That night, he also realized "that a trio is a pretty good idea for a band" and the audience chuckled in response to his Cream reference. Eric concluded by saying that each time he hears Buddy play he is a "helplessly ecstatic teenager all over again."
In his acceptance speech, Buddy told the audience that he was out of words and just wanted to play for them. Before picking up his guitar, he said, "If you don’t think you have had the blues, just keep living."
Following Hall of Fame tradition, Buddy performed "Damn Right I Got The Blues" with the house band. As in year’s past, it was lead by Paul Shaffer. He was then joined on stage by Eric and B.B. for "Let Me Love You Baby" throughout which the men traded licks and vocals.
As it was the 20th Ceremony and the 50th Anniversary of many of the initial rock and roll recordings, Bo Diddley stepped out on stage with Eric and Robbie Robertson for "Bo Diddley". After Bo exited the stage, Jerry Lee Lewis sat down at the piano for "Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On". "The Killer" was also backed by Eric, Robbie and the house band. It was a fitting tribute to both milestones.
Bruce Springsteen, who had been inducted by Bono in 1999, returned the favor by presenting U2. The other artists added to the Hall of Fame were The Pretenders, Percy Sledge and the O’Jays. Honored in the Lifetime Achievement / Non-Performer Category were Frank Barsalona (founder and president of Premier Talent Agency) and Seymour Stein (Chairman of Sire Records). There was no all-star jam as in year’s past. Highlights will debut on VH1 (US) at 9PM on 19 March with repeat broadcasts scheduled. Check local listings or VH1.com for details.
(For the train-spotters, Eric played a black Signature Strat)