Metallica's Lars Ulrich, the Black Keys and Rob Thomas are the first announced "special guests" for this year's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, with the late songwriter and producer Bert Berns named to receive this year's Ahmet Ertegun Award for Lifetime Achievement.
The ceremony takes place April 8 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, with Cheap Trick, Chicago, Deep Purple, Steve Miller and N.W.A. being inducted. Tickets go on sale to the public at 9 a.m. Feb. 5 via Ticketmaster.com, while a citiprivatepass.com pre-sale runs from 10 a.m. Feb. 1 through 10 p.m. Feb. 4. HBO will again film the show for broadcast later in the month.
The Rock Hall has not revealed what performing or presenting role the guests will have at the ceremony. Ulrich, however, has been an outspoken advocate of Deep Purple's inclusion in the hall and is widely expected to be inducting the group. More presenters and performers will be announced in the future.
A special exhibit dedicated to this year's inductees will open at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland in conjunction with the ceremony.
New York native Berns began his career in 1960 as a $50 a week songwriter for Robert Mellin Music, scoring his first hit the following year with the Jarmels' "A Little Bit of Soap." He went ton to pen enduring favorites such as the Isley Brothers' "Twist and Shout," the Exciters' "Tell Him," Solomon Burke`s "Cry To Me" and "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love," the Strangeloves' "I Want Candy," the McCoys' "Hang on Sloopy," Erma Franklin's "Piece of My Heart" and more.
As a staff producer at the Atlantic, Bang and Shout labels he presided over hits for the Isleys, Burke, the Drifters, Lulu, Them, Van Morrison, Barbara Lewis and others. Berns died of heart failure on Dec. 30, 1967 in New York at the age of 38 and is the subject of the stage musical Piece of My Heart: The Bert Berns Story, the biography Here Comes the NIght: The Dark Soul of Bert Berns and the Dirty Business of Rhythm and Blues" and the documentary BANG -- The Bert Berns Story.