Swift, Obama pay tribute at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony

CLEVELAND: Taylor Swift serenaded Carole King, former US president Barack Obama praised rapper Jay-Z and Paul McCartney paid tribute to the Foo Fighters last Saturday at a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony that also honoured Tina Turner and The Go-Go's.

Mr Obama, speaking via video, called Grammy winner Jay-Z the "embodiment of the American Dream" for his rise from a poor New York neighbourhood to a billionaire songwriter, record executive and businessman.

The 51-year-old seemed overwhelmed by the tributes.

"That's a lot. Trying to make me cry in front of all these white people!" he joked.

"Growing up we didn't think we could be inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. We were told that hip-hop was a fad."

Swift opened the show with a pop version of Will You Love Me Tomorrow while Jennifer Hudson sang A Natural Woman in honour of the singer-songwriter King, 79, who led the audience in a singalong of her hit You've Got A Friend.

"I can't remember a time when I didn't know Carole King's music," said Swift, calling her 1971 Tapestry album "a watershed moment for humans in the world with feelings".

The ceremony in Cleveland, Ohio, was packed with A-listers including Dr Dre, Eminem, Jennifer Lopez, Lionel Richie and Keith Urban.

Christina Aguilera led a medley of Turner's biggest hits.

Turner, who now lives quietly in Switzerland, was unable to attend the ceremony but sent thanks by video.

"If they're still giving me awards at 81, I must be doing something right," she said.

Turner was first given the honour in 1991 with her former husband Ike Turner, but on Saturday, she was celebrated for her even bigger solo career in the 1980s and 1990s.

King and Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl were also two-time honourees.

King had previously been inducted with her songwriting partner, the late Gerry Goffin, while Grohl was a member of grunge band Nirvana which was inducted in 2014.

McCartney said he and Grohl were both "ordinary, kind of goofy" kids who had somehow fallen into rock and roll music.

Female 1980s rock band The Go-Go's, rapper LL Cool J, German electronic pioneers Kraftwerk and the late Billy Preston were also inducted. - REUTERS