It was 36 years ago Sunday tonight (January 23rd, 1986) that the first inductees entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in a ceremony held at New York City’s Waldorf-Astoria. The inaugural class of the Hall of Fame featured rock’s forefathers: Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Fats Domino, Buddy Holly, the Everly Brothers, Ray Charles, James Brown, Sam Cooke and Jerry Lee Lewis. Included in the Non-Performer category were Sun Records founder Sam Phillips and seminal disc jockey Alan Freed, whom many credit for actually coining the phrase “Rock And Roll.”
Also inducted that night in the Early Influence category were blues icon Robert Johnson, country’s Jimmie Rogers, and boogie-woogie pianist Jimmy Yancey. Columbia Records’ legendary A&R man John Hammond, who was responsible for discovering Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and many others, received the Hall’s first Lifetime Achievement Award.
The emotional inductions included Keith Richards‘ speech inducting Chuck Berry and John Lennon‘s sons Julian and Sean Lennon saluting their father’s hero, Elvis Presley.