The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum


back to profile

Ray Charles inducts Billy Joel

"Ah, that's nice.  Thank you.  Oh, you know - you sure know how to make an old man feel good.  I tell you, ladies and gentlemen, I must be honest with you - I'm totally out of place.  I don't speak too much; I don't know anything about talking.  Singing is my business, as you well know.  Thank you.  But I'm here to say something to you that, sincerely from my heart, you know... My friend, Billy Joel, I want you to know, first of all, I genuinely love an respect this man.  He's ultra-talented - that's number one.  Now, some of you are gonna say, "Well, wait a minute, now - where do you come off... Why do you feel like that, Ray?"  Well, I'll give you just a little insight into my brain.  First of all, if you think about a man who has maybe 37, 38 huge hits, 13 of 'em went in the top 10, three of 'em were Number One, that gives you what they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.  And, you know, Billy Joel said, he said, "I want to - I want to play my music from my experience," you know, which said to me he wanted to play his music according to the life that he saw around him, what was important to him.  Beautiful man.  Piano man, they call him.  I like that.  "Just the Way You Are," yeah, OK, man, I hear that.  And you know - I don't want to bring myself too much into this, but I have to say, to me - this is just to me - he wrote one of the most beautiful songs that we sung together, called "Me and My Baby Grand," you know.  And I guess I'll leave you with this thought, because he said it himself.  He said, "Yeah, but it's still rock and roll to me."  I like that.  All right.  All right.  Did y'all hear and see all of that?  I would like to say, ladies and gentlemen, it is truly my privilege to introduce a man, as I said earlier, that I truly love and admire, into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Mr. Billy Joel.  You're inducted, Brother.  You're inducted now.  I got you!"