Rock Hall surprise: Steven Van Zandt introduces new category, for singles

Steppenwolf Rock Hall

Steppenwolf is still not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But their “Born to Be Wild” single is.

In recognition of the fact that the course of rock ‘n’ roll history has sometimes been changed by a single song, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame introduced, at tonight’s 33rd annual induction ceremony at Cleveland’s Public Auditorium, a new category, for singles.

It also announced the first six single inductees: “The Twist,” by Chubby Checker; “Rocket 88” by Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats; “Rumble,” by Link Wray and his Ray Men; “Louie Louie,” by The Kingsmen; “A Whiter Shade of Pale,” by Procol Harum; and “Born to Be Wild,” by Steppenwolf.

Steven Van Zandt made the announcement at the ceremony, saying the new category is “a recognition of the excellence of the singles that shaped rock ‘n’ roll, kind of a rock ‘n’ roll jukebox, records by artists not in the Rock Hall — which is not to say these artists will never be in the Rock Hall. They just are not in the Rock Hall at the moment.”

Van Zandt also said: “We all know the history of music can be changed with just one song, one record. In three minutes we suddenly enter a new direction, a movement, a style, an experience. That three-minute song can result in a personal revelation, an epiphany that changes our lives.”

Listen below to “Rocket 88,” considered by some to the the first rock ‘n’ roll record. And click here for my list of the 10 songs by New Jersey artists most deserving of consideration.

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