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Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inducts Songs for the First Time, Including 'Born to Be Wild' & 'Louie Louie'

Billboard logo Billboard 2018-04-15 Gary Graff

a group of people posing for the camera: Steppenwolf © Gems/Redferns Steppenwolf

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame began honoring songs in addition to artists at the 33rd annual induction ceremony on Saturday night (April 14) in Cleveland's Public Auditorium, immortalizing six singles.

Introduced by "Little Steven" Van Zandt, the new Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Singles category is "a recognition of the excellence of the singles that shaped rock 'n' roll, kind of a rock 'n' roll jukebox, records by artists not in the Rock Hall -- which is not to say these artists will never be in the Rock Hall. They just are not in the Rock Hall at the moment."

The first inductees in the category included "Rocket 88" by Jackie Breston and his Delta Cats (1951), Link Wray and his Ray Men's "Rumble" (1958), "Louie Louie" by The Kingsmen (1963), Procol Harum's "A Whiter Shade of Pale" (1967) and Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild" (1968).

In introducing the new category, Van Zandt added, "We all know the history of music can be changed with just one song, one record. In three minutes we suddenly enter a new direction, a movement, a style, an experience. That three-minute song can result in a personal revelation, an epiphany that changes our lives."

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