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Joan Jett Thanks Nirvana, Fellow Inductees Green Day in Hall of Fame Acceptance Speech

Mike Coppola, Getty Images

Joan Jett insisted that she didn’t intend to become emotional in accepting her Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction with the Blackhearts tonight – but it wasn’t so easy.

“I was really going to try not to cry and be tough,” she said. “Hey, Mom and Dad, did you ever think that Christmas guitar would lead to this? I come from a place where rock ‘n’ roll means something. it means more than music, more than fashion, more than the pose. Rock ‘n’ roll is an idea and an ideal. Sometimes, because we love the music and we make the music, we forget the political impact it has around the world.”

Jett, the first artist inducted this evening in Cleveland, thanked a long list of fellow rockers along the way – highlighted by those who took up the punk torch in later years, like Nirvana and fellow 2015 inductees Green Day. She opened tonight’s ceremony with a three-song set that included the Blackhearts hits “Bad Reputation” and “Crimson and Closer” as well as an update of “Cherry Bomb,” a key track from her time in the groundbreaking Runaways. “If we did nothing else but write ‘Cherry Bomb,’ it would have been great,” Jett said, “but we made some history.”

She was introduced by pop singer Miley Cyrus, who Jett called a “beautiful soul” in her acceptance speech. Cyrus, Dave Grohl and Tommy James – who wrote and originally performed “Crimson and Clover” – were also part of Jett’s opening trio of songs. The Blackhearts appeared at the podium first, including opening-set bassist Gary Ryan. The band’s late drummer Lee Crystal was represented by his widow, who asked, “Don’t you just love rock ‘n’ roll?” Guitarist Ricky Byrd rounded out the classic-era lineup; Blackhearts producer Kenny Laguna was also on hand.

The Pretty Reckless Discuss Joan Jett’s Influence

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