Q&A on the News

Q: I’m trying to determine who was the first person or band inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It appears to be in dispute between Chuck Berry and Elvis. Perhaps the first class went in as a group, but someone had to be named first, or perhaps it was the Beatles? They had to be the first band.

—Don White, Atlanta

A: Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley were a part of the first class inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in a ceremony at New York's Waldorf-Astoria on Jan. 23, 1986. The inductees went in as a group but were introduced alphabetically by last name, so Berry was first. "Inductions got underway with a festive Keith Richards ripping off his tux jacket and exposing a flashy leopard-print jacket underneath, appropriate for inducting Chuck Berry: 'It's very difficult for me to talk about Chuck Berry 'cause I've lifted every lick he ever played — this is the gentleman who started it all,' " the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's website (rockhall.com) states. The nine other performers or groups inducted that year were: Presley, Buddy Holly, Fats Domino, James Brown, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, the Everly Brothers and Little Richard. The Beatles were inducted in 1988, two years after the Everly Brothers and one after The Coasters. The Beatles were part of a class that included the Beach Boys, The Drifters, The Supremes and Bob Dylan.

Andy Johnston wrote this column. Do you have a question about the news? We’ll try to get the answer. Call 404-222-2002 or email q&a@ajc.com (include name, phone and city).