Neil Young is too ill to induct his longtime friends in Pearl Jam into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Young, who was originally slated to induct the Seattle band at the Rock Hall ceremony in Brooklyn later this week will be replaced by retired late night host David Letterman, according to Rolling Stone. With Neil Young out, band members Eddie Vedder, Jeff Ament, Matt Cameron Stone Gossard, Dave Krusen, and Mike McCready will be inducted into the Rock Hall Class of 2017 by the Late Show host.
The Rock Hall issued a statement regarding Neil Young’s illness and the last minute switch-up:
“Due to illness, Neil Young is regrettably no longer able to induct Pearl Jam at this Year’s Induction Ceremony. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is thrilled that David Letterman has agreed to induct Pearl Jam this Friday night at the 32nd Annual Induction Ceremony.”
— Rock Hall (@rockhall) April 5, 2017
After news of Neil Young’s undisclosed illness began to surface, some fans expressed concern for the rock legend.
Neil Young is sick, and I'm worried.
— joeduke2 (@joeduke2) April 6, 2017
Is anyone else worried about the "illness" that caused Neil Young to drop out of Pearl Jam's Rock Hall induction?
— Ian Gormely (@IanGormely) April 6, 2017
Neil is ill… Good thoughts and healing vibes going out to my favorite musician…. https://t.co/9kDXbKIz5f
— Marilyn Miller (@MarilynMillerMu) April 5, 2017
Hopefully Neil Young is okay. Feel like he wouldn't miss this even if he was just "ill." https://t.co/5jLlTH1FOt
— Kyle Moler (@Kyle_Moler) April 5, 2017
There is no word on what type of illness Neil Young is dealing with, but in a statement to rock website Pitchfork, Young’s manager said the rock legend has not been feeling well, but that his illness is “nothing major.”
While he will no longer be part of the lineup, Neil Young was the perfect choice to induct Pearl Jam into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 1995, Neil was inducted into the famous rock organization by Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, so fans were looking forward to seeing him return the favor.
Neil Young’s friendship with Pearl Jam goes back more than 20 years. Young jammed with the group at the 1993 MTV Video Music awards, where they played Neil’s song “Rockin’ in the Free World” for the crowd.
— Northside Festival (@NorthsideFest) January 31, 2017
Young also famously collaborated with members of the band on his 1995 album Mirror Ball. In an interview with Guitar World, Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready reflected on working with Neil Young on the certified gold album.
“I was completely honored to be playing with him,” McCready said of Young. “We’re enamored of him… “We’d be jamming, and I’d look over and say to myself, ‘That’s Neil Young, and he’s playing leads. That’s the sh*t!’ I could only wish to be that good. I think he’s a genius. There’s a complexity to his playing, a complexity of emotions…He made me look at how I play, and I’d like to eventually play like him. He always hits the right note. I don’t think it’s a thinking process for him; he just does it.”
— Strummer (@strummer06) August 17, 2016
While Neil Young will be a no-show at Pearl Jam’s Rock Hall induction, the band will be in comfortable company with Letterman. The Seattle band performed on David’s Late Show a whopping seven times over 20 years, even famously playing a 10-song set for the show’s audience in 2006. Lead singer Eddie Vedder also appeared as a solo artist during Letterman’s final week of shows in 2015, playing the classic, “Better Man” before the late night legend retired.
As Letterman fills in for Neil Young at the 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony, Jackson Browne will induct folk legend Joan Baez, and Rush alums Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson will be on hand to present the progressive rock band Yes at the star-studded ceremony. The ceremony will take place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, on April 7 and will air on HBO on April 29.
Take a look at the video below to see Vedder inducting Neil Young into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995.
[Featured Image by Peter Bregg/Getty Images]