This week in 1988, [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]the Beatles[/lastfm] were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They were part of the third class to be inducted into the Hall — which is probably the only time the Beatles have ever been third-class. How come they didn’t get in first?

The Beatles weren’t part of the Hall’s first class of inductees in 1986 for a simple reason: artists are eligible for induction 25 years after the release of their first record. In 1986, the Beatles hadn’t yet qualified.

That first induction class had plenty of stars without the Beatles: [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Elvis Presley[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Buddy Holly[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Chuck Berry[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Fats Domino[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]James Brown[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Jerry Lee Lewis[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Ray Charles[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Sam Cooke[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]the Everly Brothers[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Robert Johnson[/lastfm], and [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Little Richard[/lastfm] were a part of it. Joining the Beatles in the class of 1988: [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]the Beach Boys[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Bob Dylan[/lastfm], and [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]the Supremes[/lastfm], among others.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame has a fine rule of thumb voters are instructed to use: can you tell the story of pro football without talking about this athlete? If you can, they’re not Hall-worthy. The first half-dozen Rock and Roll Hall of Fame classes encompass rock’s timeless royalty — you can’t tell rock’s story without them. Alas, the same doesn’t seem true of most latter-day honorees — although historians yet unborn will tell us for sure.

[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Paul McCartney[/lastfm] did not attend the Beatles’ induction in 1988, but [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]George Harrison[/lastfm] and [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Ringo Starr[/lastfm] were there, along with [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Yoko Ono[/lastfm] and her sons. Here’s their acceptance speech.

Experience more Rock Flashbacks.


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