Punk poet Patti Smith brought her earthy growl to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Monday (March 12), inducted as a member with the Ronettes, Van Halen, R.E.M. and the institution's first hip-hop act, Grandmaster Flash.

Shy, and fighting back tears as she thought of family members, Smith recalled how her late husband, Fred "Sonic" Smith, told her before he died that she would someday make the rock hall.

"He asked me please to accept it like a lady and not to say any curse words," she said, "and make certain to salute new generations."

The bohemian poet straddled the hippie and punk rock eras. Her album "Horses" set a standard for literate rock and she had radio hits with "Because the Night," co-written with Bruce Springsteen, and the anthem "People Have the Power." She sang the Rolling Stones' classic "Gimme Shelter" and "Because the Night."

The annual ceremony at New York's Waldorf Astoria Hotel ballroom was televised live for the first time on VH1 Classic and streamed on aol.com.

With jewelry dangling from his hair, a mustachioed Keith Richards inducted the Ronettes, the New York City girl group who sang 1960s era pop symphonies like "Be My Baby" and "Baby I Love You." He recalled hearing them the first time on a tour together in England.

"They could sing all their way right through a wall of sound," Richards said. "They didn't need anything. They touched my heart right there and then and they touch it still."

Lead singer Ronnie Spector thanked a list of people from Cher to Springsteen to her publicist -- but made no mention of ex-husband Phil Spector, the producer whose gigantic "wall of sound" is synonymous with the act. Phil Spector's trial for the murder of an actress at his suburban Los Angeles mansion is due to start next week.

After the Ronettes sang a trio of their hits, bandleader Paul Shaffer came to the microphone to read a note from Phil Spector, who said "I wish them all the happiness and good fortune the world has to offer."

Hall officials paid tribute to one of the institution's founders, record executive Ahmet Ertegun, who died in December. One of his top artists at Atlantic, Aretha Franklin, sang the first million-seller she made with Ertegun, "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)."

Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, including vocalist Melle Mel, leads the rap revolution at the rock hall. Their Reagan-era hit "The Message" was a milestone message from urban America. Jay-Z was lined up for the induction speech.

With 25 years needing to pass between an act's first recording and rock hall eligibility, it means the vanguard of hip-hop stars will become eligible in coming years.

Van Halen was expected to cash in on its induction with a summer concert tour with ex-lead singer David Lee Roth back in the fold to sing songs like "Panama" and "Jump."

But the tour plans were canceled, and guitarist Eddie Van Halen said earlier this month that he was entering rehab for unspecified reasons.

Roth wasn't expected at Monday's ceremony following an apparent tiff over what he would perform. He wanted to sing "Jump" and backing band Velvet Revolver, which had planned "You Really Got Me," said it couldn't get it together in time.

"We offered him opportunities to play and sing a Van Halen song of his choice with our house band, including his own guitar player, or a song with Velvet Revolver, and he refused those opportunities," said Joel Peresman, president and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. "We made every effort and the decision not to come was solely his, not ours."

The only Van Halen members who were expected to attend were Roth's replacement Sammy Hagar and bassist Michael Anthony, who was just kicked out of the band.

No such drama was anticipated for R.E.M., only a happy reunion: drummer Bill Berry, who had left the band in 1997 after suffering an aneurysm onstage two years earlier, rehearsed to perform on Monday.

R.E.M. largely invented the indie rock scene out of Athens, Ga., in the early 1980s. Critical hits like ``Radio Free Europe'' gave way to mainstream hits like "Losing My Religion" in the early 1990s. The band is still active as a trio with Michael Stipe, Peter Buck and Mike Mills.