Taylor Swift officially kicked off the 36th annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame festivities with a tribute to Carole King, singing a show-opening cover of “Will You Love Me Tomorrow.”
That song holds a special place for the 79-year-old singer-songwriter, also famed for hits like “You’ve Got a Friend” and “It’s Too Late,” “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” was a monster hit for the Shirelles in 1960, when King was only a songwriter and not yet recording artist; she re-recorded it for her solo album “Tapestry,” which in the early ’70s became what was then one of the biggest albums of all time.
Taylor Swift starting off the show to induct Carole King. pic.twitter.com/lOGefhnIGP
— Dr. Bryan McGeary (@BMcgeary) October 31, 2021
Swift’s reverent performance came in front of a crowd of 12,000 at the ceremony, held at Cleveland’s Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.
Swift and Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson shared the stage honoring King, commemorating her second induction into the hall. King and Hudson appeared together on the cover of Variety this summer, talking about their experience writing a new song for the Aretha Franklin biopic “Respect,” in which Hudson starred. King said in that interview that, while she rarely leaves the state of Idaho anymore, she would be making an exception for the Hall of Fame.
King previously presented Swift with the American Music Award for artist of the decade in 2019. “Over the years, I have known some great songwriters and I have also known some great singers and performers,” King said in her speech on that telecast. “It’s rare to see all those talents in one person… She is one of the only modern pop artists whose name (sometimes) appears as the sole songwriter in her song credits. Her lyrics resonate across all generations, her songs touch everyone and her impact around the world is extraordinary.”
Still to come tonight: Drew Barrymore will be on hand to induct the Go-Go’s. Bassett will be the presenter for Turner, whom she famously portrayed in the film “What’s Love Got to Do With It.” Christina Aguilera, Mickey Guyton, H.E.R. and Keith Urban (stepping in for Bryan Adams) will perform Turner’s songs. Paul McCartney will induct Foo Fighters, with a planned set that will include a Beatles song, Variety has learned. Also, a medley of Rolling Stones songs honoring the late Charlie Watts is set to be performed. A source tells Variety that Foo Fighters rehearsed “nothing but Rolling Stones songs” prior to their pop-up show Thursday night at Cleveland’s House of Blues. Among that set of songs, the band jammed to “Tumbling Dice.”
Additionally, the Go-Go’s let one out of the bag with an interview on Sirius XM Friday, saying that Eminem will be attending. Sources confirm that Eminem is on hand to induct LL Cool J into the Hall. Also, Pharrell Williams taped a tribute to inductees Kraftwork. Lionel Richie will induct executive Clarence Avent into the Hall tonight as well, having flown in earlier in the day one day after performing at his Las Vegas residency at the Wynn Las Vegas Resort.
Congratulations to James’s dear friend @Carole_King, who’s being inducted tonight into the @RockHall of Fame for the SECOND time! She’s already there as a songwriter, and now she’s being recognized for her talent as a performer. Long may she reign!#CaroleKing #RockHall2021 pic.twitter.com/n1uaE5WOAO
— James Taylor (@JamesTaylor_com) October 30, 2021