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