NEW YORK (Reuters) - January 13, 1998

The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac and the Mamas and the Papas were among the 1998 inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Monday.

Also inducted were Lloyd Price, Santana and the late Gene Vincent. Jazz pianist Jelly Roll Morton, who died in 1941, entered the hall of fame as an "early influence," and another New Orleans figure, producer Allen Toussaint, was honored in the nonperformer category.

All the living inductees were present at Monday night's black-tie ceremony, held at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.

Kicking off the evening was a performance of "Black Magic Woman" by first inductees Santana. The group was accompanied by former Fleetwood Mac member Peter Green, who originally wrote the song for his band.

Accepting for the group, Carlos Santana paid tribute to Latin artists such as Ritchie Valens and Jose Feliciano.

"I almost feel like Jackie Robinson," he told reporters backstage, referring to the pioneering black major-league baseball player.

But Tijuana-born Santana, whose band has a reputation for pioneering world music as a bridge between cultures, contended that the group's sound was "not Latin."

"What it is," he said, "is African music... All the music that I love comes from Africa."

Inducted with him were group members Jose Chepito Areas, David Brown, Mike Carabello, Gregg Rolie and Michael Shrieve.

Next up was Fleetwood Mac, the veteran Anglo-American band whose 1977 album "Rumours" is one of the biggest selling in music history. The group's best-known lineup reunited last year for a hit album and concert tour, but has since disbanded.

Before the group performed the "Rumours" track "Say You Love Me," drummer and co-founder Mick Fleetwood, spoke of the band's legacy of "lunacy, heartache, happiness, unhappiness and, thank God, a sense of healing."

Four of the five members from that lineup were present: Fleetwood, Christine McVie, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. Co-founder John McVie was absent. Green, who started the band in 1967 as a British combo influenced by the Chicago blues, did not perform on the song.

Backstage, Nicks said she would be happy being remembered as "just a great old rock 'n' roll lady." As for the band's future, Buckingham said members were "playing it by ear."

For the first time -- and possibly the last -- the seven past and present members of the Eagles overcame long-held animosities to perform the hits, "Take it Easy" and "Hotel California."

Co-founders Don Henley and Glenn Frey performed with Don Felder, Timothy B. Schmit and Joe Walsh -- who together comprised the group's latter lineup. They were joined by Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner, who had co-founded the group in 1970 but subsequently left.

A philosophical Henley accepted the award "not for being famous, but for doing the work," saying "accomplishment enriches life while fame always comes with a price."

Frey said the band differed from many in the rock world in that the Eagles were "a very laid-back band who played music in a very high stress situation. We got along fine, we just differed a lot."

The group originally split up after releasing the troubled 1979 album "The Long Run," and reunited several years ago for a hugely successful album and tour.

Backstage, Frey and Walsh said coverage of the group's disputes over the years had been "overplayed."

"We broke up in 1980 but the music never stopped, and it all goes back to the music," Frey added. "It's not about individuals."

The three surviving members of the Mamas and the Papas, who had not appeared on a stage together in 20 years, sang "California Dreamin'," the biggest of their late-60s string of hits. Later the trio -- Cass Elliot died in 1974 -- faced questions about their own internal dramas.

Asked about any enduring hard feelings, Denny Doherty deadpanned, "Oh yes, yeah we hate each other's guts."

Michelle Phillips quickly added "We wouldn't be a proper rock band otherwise."

Phillips said it was "good to know" the band had the music industry's respect, and Elliot's daughter, Owen, said that Cass "would really be stoked by all this" adding that her infamously hefty mother was "watching somewhere, in a size 6."

Gene Vincent was inducted by John Fogerty, who performed an a cappella version of Vincent's trademark "Be-Bop-A-Lula." Vincent, who was wearing black leather, smashing instruments and trashing hotel rooms years before anyone heard of punk rock, may have been rock 'n' roll's first bad boy. He died at the age of 36
in 1971.

The 1998 ceremony returned to New York after two years in Cleveland, home of the $100 million glass-and-steel Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, perched on the edge of Lake Erie.

Artists become eligible for inclusion 25 years after releasing their first recording. Criteria for selection include influence and significance of the artist's contribution to rock 'n' roll.

Thanks to Dana for posting this to the Ledge and to Anusha for sending it to us.