Grunge band Nirvana has been enlisted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, alongside the likes of Kiss and Beatles manager Brian Epstein.
REM's Michael Stipe inducted the group, saying: “Nirvana tapped into a voice that was yearning to be heard. Nirvana were kicking against the mainstream. They spoke truth and a lot of people listened.”
The band's career was cut short by Kurt Cobain's death in 1994. His widow, Courtney Love, attended the ceremony.
“You know, I have a big speech, but I'm not going to say it,” she said, before hugging Cobain's bandmates Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl.
Grohl, Nirvana's drummer and now frontman of rock group Foo Fighters, paid tribute to the musicians who formed the early line-ups of Nirvana, in particular drummer Chad Channing, who he singled out for his contributions to the band's breakthrough album “Nevermind”.
Bass guitarist Novoselic added: “Nirvana fans walk up to me every day and say thank you for the music. When I hear that, I think of Kurt Cobain.”
Nirvana received their place in the Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility. Artists can only be considered for the honour 25 years after their first release. The remaining members, also including guitarist Pat Smear, were joined on stage by four female musicians to perform some of the band's best-known songs. Joan Jett sang “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon took on “Aneurysm”, alternative musician St. Vincent performed “Lithium”, while New Zealand pop star Lorde sang “All Apologies”.
Other honourees at the New York ceremony included Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, 15 years after their leader was inducted as a solo artist. He welcomed the band on stage, saying: “I told a story with the E Street Band that was, and is, bigger than anything I could have told on my own.”
They were followed into the Hall of Fame by Maneater singers Daryl Hall and John Oates.
Peter Gabriel was inducted by Coldplay singer Chris Martin, and made light of his elaborate stage outfits as a member of Genesis in the 1970s.
Rock legends Kiss were one of the more controversial inductees, having pulled out of a performance at the ceremony over a disagreement about their line-up.
“This is a pivotal moment for all of us,” said Gene Simmons, the bass player on hits like “Crazy Nights” and “Rock and Roll All Nite”.
Country queen Linda Ronstadt, who has Parkinson's disease, was unable to attend the ceremony, instead receiving a musical tribute from Carrie Underwood, Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt, Sheryl Crow and Stevie Nicks.
The ceremony also saw the first ever inductions for managers of rock bands, which went to the late Brian Epstein, who guided the Beatles to stardom, and Andrew Loog Oldham, who launched the careers of the Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart and Eric Clapton. However, the former Stones' manager boycotted the ceremony.