As expected, the 2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony had its poignant moments, but there were two surprise performances that took an already special night to another level.
The evening kicked off with The Killers paying tribute to Tom Petty with an exuberant performance of “American Girl.” After The Cars‘ Rock Hall performance, Ann Wilson took to the stage with Jerry Cantrell and performed Soundgarden‘s “Black Hole Sun” in honor of Chris Cornell.
Wilson reflected on Cornell and the loss of many musical greats backstage:
“There’s been an exodus lately with Chris and Tom Petty and Leonard Cohen. Who else? Just tons of people have decided in this moment to jump. Chris was my friend and was at the very heart of the Seattle music scene and beyond. I miss him, but I’ve realized he went as far as he could in this world with his soul. He couldn’t go any farther.”
Cantrell also reflected on his friend and contemporary and how he got involved in the tribute:
“Chris was a friend for many years and an incredible artist. A wonderful human being, and I’ve always been inspired by his work ethic and talent and his band, Soundgarden. They were a big influence on us. It’s obviously very sad. I still don’t really know how to discuss it personally. At this point, it’s time to focus on the fact of the type of man he was, the type of human being and the type of artist…Ann called me and said she was thinking about doing something for our friend and asked me if I’d join her. Anytime she calls, I’m there, and if it’s for Chris, of course.”
The 2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony airs May 5 at 8 PM EST/PST on HBO.
Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock blogger that loves the smell of old vinyl in the morning.