Frank Zappa was the other Baltimore native on the program, and was inducted by a sweat-suited Lou Reed. "It's very rare to have known someone who affected the world in a positive way," he said. "Frank Zappa was such a person, and of the many regrets I have in life, not knowing him better is one of them . . . Frank was a force for reason and honesty in a business deficient in these areas." Moon Zappa accepted the award with a mixture of tears and wit. She was hardly at a loss for words, though, referring to the Republican resurgence by cracking, "I'm really glad he wasn't around to see that," and adding that the award "really belongs to his fans."
Perhaps the evening's most anticipated induction was that of Led Zeppelin -- in part because the band's influence and popularity remain so large, but also because of what some thought was ill feelings over John Paul Jones' not being asked to participate in the Jimmy Page/Robert Plant "Unledded" project.
But not only were all three up there on the dias, they even joked about the situation -- albeit in typically dry fashion. After Plant joked that, as far as the legends surrounding Zep are concerned, "after 1968, I can't remember very much at all," Jones dryly added that it was no wonder that Plant was unable to remember his phone number.
Earlier in the evening, Melissa Etheridge inducted Janis Joplin. Etheridge started with a stirring, acoustic rendition of "Piece of my Heart," and followed it with an even more impassioned speech about what Joplin meant then, and means now.
"She was the only goddess in a sea of rock gods," she said. "Janis was the '60s. She was the sound, the look . . . To her fans, she was the passion and the power of love and freedom. "I wish I could thank her . . . I wish I could say to her now, 'Welcome to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.' "