R.E.M. salutes entire Rock Hall class

March 13, 2007 at 11:37 AM

NEW YORK, March 13 (UPI) -- The gracious salute by R.E.M to other Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees at a New York ceremony was typical of the good vibes all around.

"The honor of being here is heightened four times over by the other artists here tonight," R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe said.

R.E.M., Van Halen, Patti Smith, Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five and The Ronettes were formally inducted into the Hall of Fame in ceremonies Monday night.

During its set, R.E.M. performed with former drummer Bill Berry, who retired from the group in 1997, Billboard said.

Grandmaster Flash stressed the connection between hip-hop and rock 'n' roll.

Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony recognized Van Halen bandmates, with Hagar adding, "I can't tell you how much I wish everybody was here tonight."

Eddie Van Halen is in rehab. Alex Van Halen and David Lee Roth declined to attend.

Ronettes lead singer Ronnie Spector omitted former spouse and producer, Phil Spector, from her acknowledgements. Spector is scheduled to go on trial in the death of actress Lana Clarkson.

Singer James Brown and Ahmet Ertegun, Atlantic Records founder and Hall of Fame creator, both deceased members, also were honored.

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