Ceremony is due to take place this Friday (April 7)
The Rock Hall made the announcement today (April 5) on Twitter, revealing that retired late night talk show host David Letterman has agreed to take Young’s place. Young is said to have an undisclosed illness. It was announced in January that Young would induct the band.
They wrote: “Due to illness, Neil Young is sadly unable to induct @PearlJam @ this year’s ceremony. We’re thrilled David Letterman has agreed to step in.”
Young and Pearl Jam have had a long friendship and working partnership, with the band joining forces to play Young’s ‘Rockin’ In The Free World’ at the 1993 MTV Video Music Awards. Pearl Jam regularly cover the song on tour and members of the group played on Young’s 1995 album ‘Mirror Ball’.
Jackson Browne and Rush members Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson, will also introduce folk legend Joan Baez and progressive rock band Yes into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Electric Light Orchestra, Journey, and Tupac Shakur will also be inducted.
Last year saw NWA, Cheap Trick, Chicago, Deep Purple and Steve Miller all inducted. NWA’s induction proved controversial in some circles with Kiss frontman Gene Simmons hitting out at the decision to induct a rap act.
Meanwhile, Pearl Jam recently invited all five of their drummers to their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
Only founding member Dave Krusen and current drummer Matt Cameron are to be formally inducted alongside frontman Eddie Vedder, bassist Jeff Ament, and guitarists Stone Gossard and Mike McCready.
Matt Chamberlin, Dave Abbruzzese, and Jack Irons were snubbed by the Hall of Fame and will not be formally inducted. Dave Abbruzzese drummed with the band from the 1991 tour behind ‘Ten’ and contributed to the recording of 1994’s ‘Vitalogy’.