New Class Joins Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame

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110105977 8 New Class Joins Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame

The Class of 2011 (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Alice Cooper[/lastfm] came into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with a friend…a boa constrictor.

The theatrical rock band with a lead singer who takes the same name was inducted Monday into the Hall of Fame. His class includes New Orleans piano maestro[lastfm link_type="artist_info"] Dr. John[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Tom Waits[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Neil Diamond[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Darlene Love[/lastfm] and [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Leon Russell[/lastfm].

Cooper wore a blood-splattered shirt and also brought schoolkids along to sing “School’s Out.” It all seemed appropriate for a band that inductor [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Rob Zombie[/lastfm] said invented the rock show.

Says Cooper: “We’ve always been a hard rock band. We just wanted to decorate it a little differently.”

Singer [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Neil Diamond[/lastfm] promised to go on Twitter and “tell everybody that they really do love me in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”

Diamond says he flew 25 hours from Australia for the ceremony and was heading back to Sydney to resume his tour.

The Brooklyn-born Diamond wrote pop-rock hits for himself including “Solitary Man” and others (The Monkees’ “I’m a Believer”). Presidential daughter Caroline Kennedy was the inspiration for “Sweet Caroline,” now a Boston Red Sox anthem.

Diamond settled into a comfortable career as a middle-of-the-road concert favorite.

Capping a year where Leon Russell says [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Elton John[/lastfm] found him in “a ditch beside the highway of life,” Russell became a new member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

John and Russell recorded an album together and toured for the past year. In his heyday, Russell wrote “A Song for You” and “Delta Lady.”

Russell walked on stage slowly with the help of a cane. He said: “Thank you very much. I appreciate it and Hallelujah.” [pullquote quote="Thank you very much. I appreciate it and Hallelujah." credit="Leon Russell"]

Colorful songwriter Tom Waits was also inducted last night. Several of Waits’ Hall of Fame predecessors have recorded his work, including [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Bruce Springsteen[/lastfm] (“Jersey Girl”), the [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Ramones[/lastfm](“I Don’t Want to Grow Up”), [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Rod Stewart [/lastfm](“Downtown Train”) and [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Johnny Cash[/lastfm] (“Down There By the Train”). Rocker Neil Young says Waits is “undescribable and I have to describe him.”

Waits drew laughs with his induction speech. He said: “They say that I have no hits and that I’m difficult to work with. And they say that like it’s a bad thing.”

Singer [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Darlene Love[/lastfm] calls her induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame her best 70th birthday present.

She fought back tears in her acceptance speech in New York City on Monday night.

She was inducted with a comic ramble by [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Bette Midler[/lastfm], who said she was a goner when she first heard Love’s voice on a transistor radio. Love lent her powerful voice to several of producer Phil Spector’s hits, in acts such the Crystals and Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans. Her “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” is a holiday standard.

The work by the inducted artists will be celebrated in perpetuity at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland.

Read more about the 2011 inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame:

Read more: 2011 Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Inductee Profile: Tom Waits

Read more: 2011 Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Inductee Profile: Alice Cooper

Read more: 2011 Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Inductee Profile: Neil Diamond

Read more: 2011 Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Inductee Profile: Darlene Love

Read more: 2011 Rock And Roll Hall of Fame Inductee: Dr. John

2011 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Leon Russell talks about his career in a 1992 interview

More about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Listen to more archived interviews with Hall of Fame artists

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