By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame honored the second British invasion on Monday night, inducting the Clash, The Police and Elvis Costello and the Attractions on an emotional night at the Waldorf Hotel.

Australian hard rock band AC/DC and the Righteous Brothers were also honored at the 18th annual induction for the hall, but the British influence dominated as did anti-war sentiments expressed by a number of star musicians.

"It's a very good night to be British," said Sir Elton John, a 1994 Hall of Fame inductee, in introducing Elvis Costello and the Attractions.

"Three of the greatest bands in the last 30 years to come out of Britain are being honored tonight."

The Clash, a seminal rock band that laced the high energy punk message of rebellion with social and political consciousness, accepted their honors without vocalist-guitarist Joe Strummer, who died of heart failure last December at age 50.

Strummer wrote most of the biting lyrics for the group in his songwriting collaboration with guitarist Mick Jones, and his influence and the band's was invoked repeatedly.



In contrast to the recent Grammy Awards, artists were not discouraged from making political statements during the ceremonies, and worries over an impending U.S.-led military action against Iraq moved many musicians to speak.

"They were the most influential band in our lives," said Tom Morello, guitarist for Audioslave and previously for Rage Against the Machine, in introducing a video montage of the Clash. "They really changed me personally and politically."

"At the center of the Clash hurricane stood Joe Strummer. When he played, he played like the world could be changed by a 3-minute song. He always stood up for the underdog. He played with such conviction that he gave us courage."

"When people take to the streets to stop the war, the spirit of the Clash is there."

Clash member Jones singled out a boyhood friend when giving his list of thank-you's and said he had joined a convoy to act as a human shield in Baghdad.

As the Beatles and Rolling Stones helped launch the first British invasion in the early 1960s, the punk movement brought about another musical resurgence in Britain in the next decade that influenced the sound on both sides of the Atlantic.

The Police, fronted by lead singer Sting, added reggae rhythms to their new wave sound, and Elvis Costello evolved from angry young man through a succession of styles influenced by a wide range of music his vocalist father exposed him to.



American drummer Stewart Copeland kept The Police from being an all-British band, but Sting's distinctive voice stamped the group as English.

Also inducted into the hall, which is located in Cleveland, were musician "sidemen" Benny Benjamin, the drummer for the Motown studio band the Funk Brothers, country music pianist Floyd Cramer and rock saxophonist Steve Douglas.

AC/DC enlivened the show with a performance of their hard-rock anthem, "You Shook Me All Night Long." The Righteous Brothers, Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield, kicked off the night with their classic, "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin,"' the most played record in U.S. radio history.

Elvis Costello and the Attractions also performed, as did The Police, playing together for the first time in 18 years and turning out "Roxanne," "Message In A Bottle," and "Every Breath You Take."

Neil Young introduced record industry executive Mo Ostin, who received a lifetime award in the nonperformer category.

The Canadian rocker deviated from his praise of the Warner Brothers record chief to get something off his chest.

"We're having a good time tonight, but we're going to kill a lot of people next week," he said. (taken from REUTERS.COM)