Rockers Get the 'Shaft' from Hayes

03/19/2002 at 12:00 PM EST

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame happily got "Shaft"-ed Monday night in Manhattan, when inductee Isaac Hayes opened the 17th annual ceremony with a rousing rendition of his 1973 Oscar-winning "Theme from 'Shaft.'" Hayes, 59, best known these days as the basso profundo Chef on Comedy Central's "South Park," told the crowd that he got to the Hall by "never giving up on my dream," reports Reuters. Also among the inductees: The Ramones, Talking Heads, the late Chet Atkins, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and singer-songwriter Gene Pitney. Jewel inducted veteran "American Bandstand" favorite Brenda Lee, 58, who sported a blonde bouffant. Facing reporters backstage, Lee (whose '50s hit "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" remains a holiday staple) called her influence on the younger generation "very cool, isn't it?" Jakob Dylan of the Wallflowers inducted Petty and the Heartbreakers (Jakob's father, Bob Dylan, also has something to do with rock). Petty, 51, told the audience: "Rock 'n' roll star is probably the purest, absolute mainstream manifestation of the American dream." For the Ramones, however, the evening was bittersweet. The group's founder, Joey Ramone, succumbed to cancer last year at the age of 49. In tribute, a series of Ramones hits was played -- very quickly -- by the neo-punk trio Green Day. VH1 plans to air a taped version of the show on Wednesday.

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