Chaka Khan To Induct Lionel Richie & Etta James Into Apollo Hall Of Fame

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    Chaka Khan On Elev8Chaka Khan will induct Lionel Richie, Etta James and others into The Apollo Hall of Fame this summer.

    The Apollo Theater, one of the nation’s greatest cultural treasures, announced the lineup for its seventh annual Spring Gala Benefit Concert, at which they will induct Lionel Richie and the late Etta James into the Apollo Legends Hall of Fame. Proceeds from the gala benefit, to be held on Monday, June 4, 2012, will go toward the non-profit Theater’s education and community engagement programs.

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    In addition to performances honoring Richie and James, this year’s program will include tributes to three musical icons that have passed this year. Ten-time GRAMMY® Winner Chaka Khan will perform a tribute to the late superstar Whitney Houston; Eddie Levert, in honor of Soul Train creator Don Cornelius; and Valerie Simpson for her husband and legendary songwriting partner Nick Ashford. The evening will be hosted by celebrated comedian and former host of Showtime at the Apollo, Sinbad, with American Idol’s Ray Chew serving as musical director.

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    Lionel Richie and Etta James join past Apollo Legends Hall of Fame inductees—all legendary musicians, artists, and entertainers whose paths to fame included the Apollo—Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Quincy Jones, Patti LaBelle, Smokey Robinson, James Brown, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Little Richard, and Ella Fitzgerald. Each Apollo Legends Hall of Fame inductee is honored with a plaque in the Apollo Walk of Fame, installed under the Theater’s iconic marquee on 125th Street.

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    Lionel Richie’s first Apollo appearance was in the early 1970s, with The Commodores, who were opening  for Smokey Robinson and The Miracles. “The Apollo is such an important part of music history in this country, and my own personal history,” Mr. Richie said. “When they called and said they were putting me on that list of names, I was thrilled. It’s an honor to be a part of the Apollo Legends Hall of Fame.”

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