The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inducted its class of 2018 Saturday night in Cleveland, rolling out the red carpet for The Cars, The Moody Blues, Bon Jovi, Dire Straits, Nina Simone and Sister Rosetta Tharpe (though as usual, not for these three criminally neglected bands). It was all fairly standard procedure—long speeches, a reunion or two, a no-show or two, and a lot of hair dye. This year was a little different, though, as the Hall also officially recognized singles for the first time, creating a new (and seemingly limitless) category for songs that shaped the course of rock music, from a couple of the earliest to some psych-rock staples of the ‘60s. The first class of singles—all by artists who aren’t in the Hall of Fame—was introduced by Stevie Van Zandt, who called it “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.”
The inaugural class comprised six singles: “Rocket 88,” by Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats (who were actually Ike Turner’s Kings of Rhythm band); “Rumble,” by Link Wray; “The Twist,” by Chubby Checker; “Louie Louie,” by The Kingsmen; “A Whiter Shade of Pale,” by Procol Harum, and “Born to Be Wild,” by Steppenwolf.
As cleveland.com pointed out, the songs aren’t technically being inducted into the Hall, but will have a special display at the museum.
Check out some exclusive recordings of these six foundational singles.
Here’s Steppenwolf performing “Born to Be Wild” on Aug. 27, 1968:
Here’s a rare recording of “Rocket 88,” considered by some the first ever rock single, performed by the James Cotton Blues Band on June 15, 1973.
Here’s Link Wray performing “Rumble,” perhaps the most famous instrumental in rock history, on Nov. 19, 1974:
Here’s cover maestro Joe Cocker performing Procol Harum’s “A Whiter Shade of Pale” on Aug. 20, 1983: