The Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame inducted its fifth class of inductees on Sunday (June 11) night in Detroit, an eclectic group that ranged from Motown legends to a '60s rock hero and several behind-the-scenes figures.
The four-hour ceremony at the city's Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts was ramshackle but fueled by the warm spirit of a family reunion where everybody was generally happy to see each other -- even somebody like Mitch Ryder, who told the gathering "I'm as confused by you are" by his R&B Hall of Fame inclusion, but nevertheless considered it "quite an honor, one that will last the rest of my life."
Ryder was joined by fellow Detroiters Freda Payne, onetime Motown Funk Brother Dennis Coffey, Gladys Knight & the Pips (represented by Knight's brother and Pip Merald "Bubba" Knight), the Marvelettes, the Impressions, Gerald Austin, Carl Carlton, Motown's first white act the Valadiers and, posthumously, James Brown, Mary Wells and Isaac Hayes. Unsung Heroes inductees included producer-writer Mike Powell, Motowners Sylvia Moy and Carolyn Crawford, Wade "Butterball Jr." Briggs, Skip Mahoney & the Casuals, Fred Goree, Jeff & the Atlantics and Barbara Acklin, and special awards were presented to Martha Reeves, Jackson 5 patriarch Joe Jackson, the Rev. Al Sharpton, the Chi-Lites and others.