Bruce Springsteen and John Mellencamp closed 2022 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony with a rolling tribute to the recently deceased Jerry Lee Lewisperforming the rock ‘n’ roll pioneer’s “High School Confidential” and “Great Balls of Fire.”
The rockers were backed by the Zac Brown Band during their barnstorming performance. The E Street Band keyboardist Roy Bittan also sat in on the jam – a fitting addition, as Lewis was famous in part for his furious piano playing.
“One last one for the killer,” Springsteen said before beginning the performance. “Does anyone know the lyrics? Can you get them up there?”
Lewis, who died on Oct. 28 at age 87, was the last surviving member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s inaugural class of 1986, which also included early rock and R&B luminaries such as Chuck Berry, James Brown, Cool Dominoesthat Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley. “Somewhere in the world, in some mean little honky-tonk or big music hall or church basement, someone is playing a Jerry Lee Lewis song,” read a statement from Lewis’ publicist at the time of his death.
Springsteen and Mellencamp appeared earlier in the evening to induct record executive Jimmy Iovine and entertainment attorney Allen Grubman, respectively, into the Rock Hall. Both industry powerhouses received the Ahmet Ertegun Award, which recognizes non-performing music industry professionals who “have had a major impact on the creative development and growth of rock and roll and music that has influenced youth culture.”
In his speech, Springsteen recalled that Iovine convinced him to give Patti Smith an unfinished demo which became “Here Comes the Night”, her biggest chart topper. “With Jimmy’s guidance, Patti Smith turned ‘Here Comes the Night’ into a huge Top 5 record — something I could never have done because I didn’t have the guts to turn it into a love song like Jimmy did,” the boss. said.
Mellencamp, meanwhile, shared a memory of Grubman comparing the music industry to a “big, big damn tree” that remains “massive and unyielding. On this tree there’s a bunch of apples. A few stay firmly attached, but most of the apples, I’m sorry to say, they dwindle and fall to the ground … sadly forgotten.” He thanked his friend for making sure he stayed attached to the proverbial tree.
Watch Bruce Springsteen and John Mellencamp’s Rock Hall 2022 Jerry Lee Lewis Tribute
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2022 induction ceremony best photos
Photos from the 2022 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony.