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Late-night jam session marks Rock Hall's newest inductions

Simon, Aerosmith, Jackson, Steely Dan take places

NEW YORK — Paul Simon, Aerosmith, Michael Jackson, Queen and Steely Dan were inducted Monday into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, an event marked by a late-night jam session of Steely Dan's "Do It Again" and Burke's "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love."

Also inducted were soul legend Solomon Burke, Ritchie Valens, killed along with Buddy Holly in a 1959 plane crash, the Flamingos doo-wop group, Island Records founder Chris Blackwell and sidemen Johnnie Johnson, who played piano with Chuck Berry, and James Burton, who played guitar with such stars as Elvis Presley and Merle Haggard.

Johnson and Burton were introduced by the Rolling Stones' Keith Richards, who gave his explanation of sidemen to the black-tie audience gathered at the Waldorf Astoria hotel for the 16th annual induction ceremony.

"If you're not mentioned, it means you've done the gig really well," said Richards, who called himself a sideman to Stones' lead singer Mick Jagger. "If you are, it means you screwed it up."

"This is the proudest moment of my life," said Johnson, whom Richards called "an American work of art."

Artists become eligible for induction 25 years after the release of their first record and are represented in a permanent exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame & Museum in Cleveland, Ohio.

Both Simon and Jackson already were members — Simon as part of the 1960s duo Simon & Garfunkel and Jackson as part of the Jackson 5 — and were being honored for their solo work.

Jackson's 1982 "Thriller" is the biggest selling album in history, with sales in excess of 46 million.

"The gift of music has been a blessing from God," Jackson said in a soft voice as he gave his acceptance speech.

Not performing, he walked on and off the stage slowly, leaning heavily on a cane due to a broken foot he said he suffered in a fall at his home last month.

"As you can see, there's not going to be any moonwalking tonight," he said.

Simon, whose solo hits include "Mother and Child Reunion," "Still Crazy After All These Years" and "Graceland," told the crowd he would like a reconciliation some day with his former partner Art Garfunkel, from whom he is estranged.

"I regret the ending of our friendship and hope one day before we die we'll make peace with each other," he said, but added, "No rush."

"I'm just kidding, I'm just kidding," he said.

Burke played a version of his hit "Cry to Me," while surviving members of Queen, 10 years after the death of singer Freddie Mercury from AIDS, gave a rare live performance with a version of their 1977 anthem "We Will Rock You."

Aerosmith, a Rolling Stones-influenced quintet that was formed in Boston 30 years ago, won fame with such 1970s hits as "Dream On" and "Walk This Way."

Fronted by singer Steven Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry, the group has found a new generation of fans since recovering from a drugs-induced derailment in the mid-1980s.

Steely Dan, headed by Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, won the album of the year Grammy as well as their first Grammy ever just last month for their first album in 20 years, "Two Against Nature."