Peter Gabriel, Cat Stevens, plus Kiss - thumbing their noses at critics who disdained them - have become the new Rock and Roll Hall of Fame entrants, leading a host of classmates.
The role of honour also included Nirvana, Hall & Oates, Linda Ronstadt and Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band.
The original four members of Kiss did not perform at Brooklyn's Barclays Centre in New York due to a dispute between active original members Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley and retired members Peter Criss and Ace Frehley. But the original four made peace and saluted each other in heartfelt induction speeches.
"This is a pivotal moment for all of us," said Gene, the bass player and reality TV star. We are humbled that that the fans gave us the chance to do what we loved doing."
The theatrical quartet put on make-up, belched blood, shot fireworks out of Ace's guitar and sang about wanting to Rock And Roll All Nite. They were not trendy, but Rage Against The Machine's Tom Morello said Kiss inspired him and their concert was the first he attended. He even fought high school bullies who ridiculed him for liking Kiss.
"Tonight proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the high school bullies and critics were wrong," he said. "Kiss fans were right."
Paul, to the cheers of the Barclays crowd, called for fans to be involved in the Rock Hall induction process.
Linda Ronstadt, the sexy siren of the Los Angeles country-rock scene of the 1970s, could not make it to her induction. Now retired, she suffers from Parkinson's disease and does not travel much. Glenn Frey, who played with fellow future Eagle Don Henley in Linda's back-up band, saluted her with an induction speech.
"From that first rehearsal, I felt we were working on a style of music that had never been heard before," he said.
Cat Stevens, the 1970s era singer of Morning Has Broken and Wild World, was inducted by Art Garfunkel, who said his break-up with Paul Simon helped pave the way for Stevens' entry into the charts.
"Thanks so much to my fans for believing," said Cat, who gave up music and converted to Islam, going by the name Yusuf. "I can still see some sceptical faces, but my fans believed."
He performed Father And Son, Wild World and Peace Train, joined by a robed choir in the final song.
Bruce's 1999 entrance into the Rock Hall without the E Street Band was a sore point for some of its members. But they got their due in the sidemen category, although it was a posthumous honour for sax player Clarence Clemons and keyboard player Danny Federici.
Springsteen told stories, many familiar to fans who have seen them on stage, of the formation of the band, which includes his wife Patti Scialfa. David Sancious, who was with the band only briefly, was the only one to live on E Street, he said.
"We suffered aging, illness and death together," Bruce said. "We took care of each other when trouble knocked, and we hurt each other in big and small ways. In the end we stuck with each other."
Peter was inducted by Coldplay's Chris Martin, who later sang with him on Washing Of The Water.
Chris said he turned to the Bible for inspiration in his speech, "the book of Genesis", referring to the band with which Gabriel started and with which he was inducted into the Hall in 2010.
"An angel of the Lord descended and appeared to Phil the Collins," he said, telling Genesis' drummer that Peter was starting a solo career.
He credited Peter with creating a cathedral of sound and "he helped John Cusack get back his girlfriend in the movie Say Anything". That movie's climactic moment featured Peter's song In Your Eyes and Peter performed a soaring version to celebrate his induction.
Peter said aspiring musicians should surround themselves with brilliance and, noting his early failures as a drummer, should not be afraid to try different things.
"Dream big, and let your imagination guide you, even if you end up dressing as a flower or a sexually-transmitted disease," said Peter, known for his theatrical outfits during early Genesis days.
Nirvana were being inducted in their first year of eligibility. The trio's Smells Like Teen Spirit hit like a thunderclap upon its 1991 release, briefly making the Pacific Northwest rock's hottest scene before the band ended abruptly with singer Kurt Cobain's suicide in 1994.
The first two artist managers were inducted into the Hall: the late Brian Epstein, of the Beatles, and Andrew Loog Oldham of the Rolling Stones.