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At the ceremony on Friday night, held at Brooklyn, N.Y.’s Barclays Center, Letterman paid tribute to Pearl Jam in a heartfelt and funny speech, which honored the band and poked fun at Ticketmaster.
“What an honor and a privilege it is … for me to be out of the house,” he joked.
Letterman went on to remember meeting the members of Pearl Jam in the 1980s. “These guys in Pearl Jam were something more than a band,” he said. “They would recognize injustice, and they would stand up for it.”
Referring to the time Pearl Jam accused Ticketmaster of charging fans too much for tickets in the ‘90s, Letterman said, “They risked their careers by going after those beady-eyed, bloodthirsty weasels Ticketmaster. … And because they stood up to them, I’m happy to say, every concert ticket in the United States of America today is free.”
“I know them as friends, as well as cultural icons,” added Letterman.
Folk icon and activist Joan Baez, Journey, Electric Light Orchestra, Tupac and Yes all entered the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame at Friday’s ceremony. Producer and disco pioneer Nile Rodgers received the Award for Musical Excellence.
The show will air April 29 on HBO.
Watch Letterman’s speech below.
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