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Patti Smith inducts the Velvet Underground

"A silver mylar pillow floats solemnly from the pale hands of Andy Warhol through the Factory window, across the grainy New York skyline, and the sounds embodying that unheld work of art was perhaps the work of art itself ... the Velvet Underground. They were the stark, elusive balloon that burst upon a deflated scene, injecting that scene with a radiance that connected poetry, the avant garde and rock and roll. They were a band of opposites, shooting freely from pole to pole without apology, with dissonant beauty, trampling the flowers of peace makers, training the black in a white world ... white in a black world ... they opened wounds worth opening with brutal innocence, without apology. Cutting across the grain ... gritty, urbanic and in their search for the kingdom, for laughter, for salvation, they explored the darkest areas of the ??? and they re-emerged and they delivered us. All of these things, all of these things can be deemed romantic, but one aspect can be truly romanticized ... their work ethic ... and the body they delivered up, which is being acknowledged this night. They are the Velvet Underground and their work is the clipper ship. They are the Velvet Underground and we salute them, and more than them, their captain, Sterling Morrison, who no doubt, in viewing these proceedings might have a bit of mythical contempt for us all. But would also feel a secret pride and may John Cale, Maureen Tucker, and Lou Reed share that pride, and may they be ... as the heroes of the song ... Waltzing Matilda, who, when the sun rose and they made believe, sha-la-la-la-la, sha-la-la-la-la. Not one regretted a thing. We welcome the Velvet Underground to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame."

The Velvet Underground