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Jackson 5, Bee Gees lead class of ’97 into rock’s Hall of Fame

May 7, 1997 GMT

CLEVELAND (AP) _ The heart of rock ‘n’ roll beat in Cleveland Tuesday _ for the first time. And the class of 1997 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees made sure the beat was loud and strong.

George Clinton’s Parliament-Funkadelic, the Bee Gees and even presenter Brian Wilson played and partied Tuesday night at the annual induction ceremony.

It was the first time in 12 years of inductions that the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum got to host the annual ceremony. Until this year, the inductions were held in New York or Los Angeles _ cities with a far more visible standing in the music industry.

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It may be Cleveland’s only chance for a while _ rock hall officials have said they don’t intend to make the ceremony a fixture here.

``Having the inductions in Cleveland is a little like having the Academy Awards in Salt Lake City,″ said William Hulett, the hall’s chief executive officer.

The list of this year’s honorees reads like a 1970s pop chart: the Jackson 5, Bee Gees, Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills and Nash, along with Parliament-Funkadelic.

The Young Rascals and Buffalo Springfield, who broke onto the charts from 1966 to 1968, rounded out the performers from the class of ’97.

Wearing a long wig of white, purple and green, Clinton’s Parliament-Funkadelic kicked off the evening with a thumping version of their hit ``Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof Off the Sucker).″

``Time will be ended before funk,″ Clinton said after being inducted by the Artist formerly known as Prince.

``This is what George is all about to me and mine,″ the Artist said. ``Fourteen people singing knee-deep in harmony.″

Brian Wilson, introducing the Bee Gees, took a stab at singing the trio’s hit ``Too Much Heaven″ before bringing on the kings of disco.

``We are the enigma with a stigma,″ said Barry Gibb, the lead singer on many of the group’s disco hits. ``We live with it, we’ve suffered with it. We think we’ve come out of it.″

The group played a medley of their hits after being inducted.

Felix Cavaliere of the Young Rascals recalled that the band’s No. 1 hit ``People Got To Be Free″ was inspired by the shootings of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. He called on younger musicians to write music that would ``reach out and heal.″

Gospel singer Mahalia Jackson and bluegrass band leader Bill Monroe were to be inducted posthumously as early influences. Sydney Nathan, founder of King Records, was to be enshrined as a nonperformer.

Most of the honorees were in attendance, including Michael Jackson, although Joni Mitchell was a no-show.

Fellow inductee Graham Nash accepted the award for her, saying she was spending time with a daughter she gave up for adoption 32 years ago but with whom she has recently reunited.

The ceremonies at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel were being taped by the VH1 music channel for broadcast Friday and Saturday.

But for those who couldn’t wait for the broadcast and didn’t want to pay $1,250 for a ticket to see the live performances and awards ceremony, access was free via the Internet. Live reports and a chat room were available at the city’s World Wide Web site and the Rock Hall site.

Stephen Stills was to be enshrined twice: as a member of Buffalo Springfield and of Crosby, Stills and Nash.

``I never thought both bands would get inducted in a million years,″ he said. ``I thought they would cancel each other out.″