The singer-songwriter kicked off Thursday's 28th annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles with a performance of "I Love L.A." He was joined by Jackson Browne, John Fogerty and Tom Petty.
"I didn't think it would happen until I died or something," the 69-year-old said backstage after his induction.
Newman is among this year's eight inductees, which also includes rockers Heart and Rush, rap group Public Enemy, disco queen Donna Summer, bluesman Albert King, and producers Quincy Jones and Lou Adler.
Adler was inducted during Thursday's extravaganza by Richard "Cheech" Marin and Tommy Chong before being serenaded by Carole King with "So Far Away.
With his guitar around his neck, John Mayer inducted the late King into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame before joining Gary Clark Jr. for King-tinged jam session.
"Albert King is why guitar-face was invented," said Mayer.
The event marks the first time since 1993 that the Cleveland, Ohio, institution has held its induction ceremony on the West Coast. It will be broadcast May 18 on HBO.
Follow AP Entertainment Writer Derrik J. Lang at http://www.twitter.com/derrikjlang. AP Entertainment Writer Ryan Pearson also contributed to this report.