Donna Summer, Rush, Public Enemy, Randy Newman and Albert King form a list of two long overlooked bands, an Academy Award winning songwriter, a rap supergroup, a disco diva, a blues great and two great producers/executives comprise the 2013 class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
After twelve years of being overlooked for even a nomination, Rush makes it in on their first try. The Canadian group has long been held up by fans of both the band and rock music as a perfect example of an artist that fully deserved to be in but was constantly overlooked. Perhaps this is a good omen for the long list of bands that have been ignored for many years such as KISS, Yes, the Moody Blues, Emerson Lake and Palmer, King Crimson and Deep Purple, the last of which were also nominated for the first time this year after 18 years of being ignored, but failed to get enough votes.
Heart had been eligible since 2002 but only received their first nomination last year. Ann and Nancy Wilson finally are recognized for their influence on the music world in proving that women can rock as hard as men and be successful. There lengthy career has included their breakout in the 70’s along with a resurgence during the 90’s.
Randy Newman made it in on his second try. Although eligible for 22 years, he was only nominated in 2005 and for this year’s inductees. Newman’s songs run from scathing political satire (see this year’s I’m Dreaming) to music for children’s movies such as Toy Story and Monsters, Inc. He has been nominated for twenty Academy Awards, winning for the songs If I Didn’t Have You and We Belong Together. He also has three Emmys (for the shows Cop Rock and Monk) and six Grammys.
Public Enemy is the fourth rap artist to make the hall after Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Run-DMC and the Beastie Boys, proving that the genre has a lot of admirers to offset the detractors that claim it doesn’t fit. Adam Yauch said of the group “I put them on a level with Bob Marley and a handful of other artists – the rare artist who can make great music and also deliver a message.” While the Hall hasn’t announced what members throughout the group’s history will be inducted, it would be assumed that original members Chuck D, Flavor Flav, Professor Griff, DJ Lord and Khari Wynn would be included along with later members like Terminator X.
Donna Summer was the Queen of Disco whose sound influenced an entire genre. The fact that she isn’t being inducted until after her death is a true heartbreak, especially considering that this was her fifth nomination, missing out in 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012. Along with producer Giorgio Moroder, she led the way to the use of electronic instruments in disco/dance music (I Feel Love) and a heavy rock beat (Hot Stuff). She also stood out from the rest of the disco crowd by continuing to record and have hits well past the time when the style became passe, including four top ten hits throughout the 80’s. Even during the 2000’s, she scored four dance chart toppers.
Albert King was eligible for nomination and induction the longest of any of those being inducted, going all the way back to 1988. 2013 was his first actual nomination and he made it in. King was a late bloomer in the music world, not really gaining notice until the mid-60’s. He gained notoriety with the rock fans by playing at the Fillmore and other venues with the likes of Cream and Jimi Hendrix. He influenced a whole generation of artists from Eric Clapton to Stevie Ray Vaughan. Along with Summer, King is being inducted posthumously.
Those not receiving enough votes for induction were the previously mentioned Deep Purple, Chic (who were on their seventh nomination), Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Kraftwerk, the Marvelettes, the Meters, N.W.A., the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and Procol Harum.
Two additional men are being inducted with the Ahmet Ertegun Award for Lifetime Achievement. It is amazing that the first, Quincy Jones, is not already a member. His mark is on so many of the most important recordings of the era and that does even take into account his work as a musician. Jones has arranged for everyone from Count Basie to Dinah Washington, worked on sessions with Frank Sinatra and Ray Charles, written over 40 film scores including In Cold Blood and In the Heat of the Night and produced such landmark albums as Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Bad.
The other is Lou Adler who has been a manager (Jan and Dean), a songwriter (Sam Cooke’s Only Sixteen) and the executive who founded Dunhill Records (Mama’s and the Papa’s, Grass Roots) and Ode Records (Carole King, Cheech and Chong). Adler also produced the Monterey International Pop Festival and The Rocky Horror Picture Show along with owning L.A.’s famed Roxy Theater.
The official induction ceremony is April 18 at the Nokia Theater and will be broadcast on HBO starting May 18.
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