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David Letterman to Induct Pearl Jam Into Rock Hall Instead of Neil Young

Mike Coppola / Scott Olson / Kevin Winter, Getty Images
Mike Coppola / Scott Olson / Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Pearl Jam have been forced to make a last-minute change to their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction.

The ceremony, scheduled for April 7 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, was originally supposed to see Neil Young inducting the band — a pick that made all kinds of sense, given Young’s longstanding connection and artistic kinship with Pearl Jam. Unfortunately, unforeseen circumstances have led Young to cancel; in his stead, the Hall has turned to retired late-night legend and longtime Pearl Jam fan David Letterman to handle the induction.

“Due to illness, Neil Young is regrettably no longer able to induct Pearl Jam at this Year’s Induction Ceremony,” explained the Hall in a statement. “The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is thrilled that David Letterman has agreed to induct Pearl Jam this Friday night at the 32nd Annual Induction Ceremony.”

As Rolling Stone notes, Pearl Jam performed on Letterman’s Late Show seven times prior to the host’s retirement in 2015 — compared with a grand total of zero visits to the competing Tonight Show — and even delivered a 10-song set before the studio audience in 2006.

Young’s illness is just the latest complication leading up to Pearl Jam’s Rock Hall enshrinement. The band was also caught in the crossfire when ex-drummer Dave Abbruzzese questioned the Hall’s decision to exclude him; they ultimately released a statement honoring the contributions of all five of their drummers over the years, and inviting each of them to attend the ceremony.

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