Ex-Beatle George Harrison was due posthumous honors for his solo career, with ZZ Top, Traffic and the Dells also joining the hall at its annual induction ceremony.
Prince reeled off a string of hits in the 1980s, including "When Doves Cry," "Little Red Corvette," "Kiss" and "Raspberry Beret." A restless perfectionist, the Minneapolis-based singer often played every instrument on his discs.
He declared war on the music industry in the 1990s, even renouncing his own name for a while.
The outrageous rappers OutKast and soulful singer Alicia Keys were to induct Prince, itself a tribute to his eclectic mix of styles.
Seger, who still lives in the Detroit area, burst from regional to national fame with the hits "Night Moves," "Old Time Rock & Roll" and "Like a Rock," the latter a longtime Chevy commercial theme.
"It feels great. We're all real excited. It's wonderful," he said recently. "The best part about it is I don't have to explain to people anymore why I'm not in there."
Michigan's governor declared Monday "Bob Seger Day" in the state.
Browne co-wrote "Take it Easy" for the Eagles, then was successful on his own with "Doctor My Eyes," "The Pretender" and "Running on Empty."
The "No Nukes" concert organizer has mixed the political with the personal throughout his career.
Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne, two fellow members of the Traveling Wilburys, were on hand to salute Harrison. The guitarist joins John Lennon and Paul McCartney as Beatles also honored by the Rock Hall as solo artists.
Harrison's biggest hit, "My Sweet Lord," came in a burst of pent-up creativity following the Beatles' breakup. He recorded infrequently in the decade before his November 2001 cancer death, but a well-received posthumous disc came out in 2002.
Hirsute blues-rockers ZZ Top were an early MTV staple with the boogie hits, "Legs" and "Sharp-Dressed Man," helped by the presence of little-dressed women in their videos.
And they were a ready-made trivia question: the one member of the trio who didn't wear a beard down to his chest was named (Frank) Beard.
Traffic featured teen prodigy organist Steve Winwood, who later went on to solo success. The pastoral, jazzy Traffic had hits with "Glad" and "Low Spark of High Heeled Boys."
The Dells, a vocal harmony quintet that hit with "Oh What a Night" in 1955, were the inspiration for the film "The Five Heartbeats." With only one personnel change, a group formed in high school is still performing together more than 50 years later.
Rolling Stone magazine founder Jann Wenner was to receive a lifetime achievement award.
Highlights of the awards ceremony will be shown on VH1 on Sunday.
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