Sheryl Crow and Chaka Khan stole the show at the 2023 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Friday night. Chaka Khan performed a medley of her hits, including “Ain’t Nobody,” while Sheryl Crow delivered an electrifying rendition of her song “If It Makes You Happy” alongside Olivia Rodrigo. Willie Nelson brought the country vibes, St. Vincent paid tribute to Kate Bush’s art-rock, and George Michael’s former partner in Wham! honored the late pop star. Crow and Rodrigo, both dressed in black, traded verses and played guitars together. Later, Stevie Nicks joined Crow for a performance of “Strong Enough,” and Peter Frampton appeared to help with “Everyday Is a Winding Road.” Sheryl Crow and Olivia Rodrigo performed together at the 38th Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at Barclays Center on November 3, 2023, in New York City.
During her acceptance speech, Crow compared winning the award to receiving an Oscar for an unfinished screenplay. She expressed gratitude to her parents for their unconditional love and piano lessons, and she described music as a universal gift. Laura Dern introduced Crow, describing her as a “badass goddess” and acknowledging the initial skepticism of the music industry towards a Southern female guitar-playing singer-songwriter. Dern stated that Crow’s music has shaped the chapters of our lives.
Elton John made a special appearance to perform and honor his songwriting partner, Bernie Taupin. H.E.R., Sia, and Common accompanied Chaka Khan in a medley of her funky hits, which got the crowd on their feet. Chaka Khan graciously called up guitarist Tony Maiden, a member of her former band Rufus, and credited him and the band for her success. Willie Nelson’s segment of the ceremony included performances by Dave Matthews, Chris Stapleton, and Sheryl Crow. Nelson thanked his wife, Annie, for supporting him and expressed gratitude to the audience for appreciating his music. Andrew Ridgeley paid tribute to his late partner, George Michael, describing his music as compassionate and praising him as one of the greatest singers of their time. Miguel, Carrie Underwood, and Adam Levine performed some of George Michael’s hits in his honor.
Don Cornelius, the creator of “Soul Train,” was posthumously inducted. A sign from the TV show was lowered, and the crowd danced joyously. Snoop Dogg, Questlove, and Lionel Richie appeared in a video to commemorate the show’s impact on Black music and culture. Big Boi inducted Kate Bush, highlighting the uniqueness of her music and comparing her independent approach to hip-hop. St. Vincent delivered a solemn performance of Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God).” LL Cool J presented DJ Kool Herc, known as the Father of Hip-Hop, and praised his contributions to hip-hop culture. Queen Latifah presented Missy Elliott, the first female hip-hop artist inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and Missy Elliott performed on stage. The Spinners were honored by New Edition, who performed some of their greatest hits. Rage Against the Machine, Link Wray, and Al Kooper were also inducted this year.
The ceremony included a strong representation of women, following the recent removal of Rolling Stone co-founder Jann Wenner from the hall’s board of directors. Artists must have released their first commercial recording at least 25 years prior to being eligible for induction, with nominees voted on by artists, historians, and music industry professionals. The ceremony was livestreamed for the first time on Disney+.