CaribWorldNews, NEW YORK, NY, Tues. Mar. 16, 2010: Jamaican Grammy-winning reggae legend and actor, Jimmy Cliff, last night brought the house down as he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Cliff turned the Waldorf Astoria ballroom into a dancehall as he thrilled with three of his all-time favorite hits. After graciously thanking the Museum organizers for the honor, Cliff got down to what truly makes him great as he kicked off his set with `You can Get It If You Really Want,` before moving on to the inspirational, `Many Rivers To Cross.`
As the guests, who shelled out $1,200 for the event got to their feet and thunderous applause echoed in the ball room as Mr. Cliff pulled his final note of the song, he was joined by Haitian Grammy-singer Wyclef Jean.
Jean, who moments earlier had inducted the man he called his inspiration and a the only living reggae legend into the Hall of Fame, pulled out his guitar and joined Cliff on the tune that catapulted the St. James native to worldwide fame.
The two rocked out on `The Harder They Come,` as Jean urged all to get up. The audience needed little encouragement as they took to their feet and turned the formerly mundane event into a rocking party.
Earlier in the night, Jean had shared with the audience his love of Cliff and his music and reminisced on a night the singer shared with him and his wife in a tiny New Jersey apartment after a day of recording.
`I was always a Jimmy Cliff groupie,` said Jean, while acknowledging the many Jamaicans watching the proceedings via live TV and the Jamaican roots to Haiti through Dutty Boukman. Cliff, in accepting the award, was humble, thanking the Hall of Fame Museum for honoring a non-American who sings a new genre of music that was introduced to the world from Jamaica.
He became emotional as he paused to thank his grandmother and other relatives, before moving on to thank music producer, Chris Blackwell, who signed him in the 1970s to Island Records and the people of Jamaica, the Caribbean, Africa and South America.
`It is good to be here tonight,` said Cliff. `I see it as a stepping stone for higher glory.`
Cliff was only one of 5 performers inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last night. They included Abba and Genesis.