James Burton Goes Into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards presided over James Burton’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Monday night (March 19) at The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. Burton, joining Chuck Berry pianist Johnnie Johnson in the second round of “sideman” inductees, was a stand-out guitarist for Elvis Presley, Ricky Nelson, Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris. He played lead guitar on Dale Hawkins’ 1957 classic, “Susie-Q.” Performing on countless recording sessions for more than 40 years, Burton played a major role in popularizing a Telecaster-generated electric guitar sound that remains a part of country music to this day. His many credits include sessions with Frank Sinatra, George Harrison, The Byrds, Wanda Jackson, Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, The Monkees, Elvis Costello, The Ventures and Mark Chesnutt. Richards, who spearheaded a campaign for the creation of the sideman category, referred to Burton as “the original guitar man.” The induction ceremony airs at 5 p.m. ET today (March 22) and 9 p.m. ET Saturday (March 24) on VH1.