The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced the latest inductees on Tuesday morning with a total of six new members who were voted in out of the nineteen nominees and one special inductee who, in essence, was also among the nominated.
All three of the 70’s rock acts, Journey, Yes and the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) are now members. People will be critical of the Journey selection, calling them corporate rock, but the truth is that their music has endured and the band has managed to make the often impossible transition from an iconic lead singer in Steve Perry to a near perfect replacement, Amel Pineda.
The induction of Yes finally breaks the lockout for progressive/art rock groups that has been in effect for many years. While we have said that the Moody Blues should be in first, they are yet to be even be nominated and Yes, with their abundant list of members who have been as successful solo as when with the group, are a very appropriate replacement. Now let’s get to work on the Moody Blues, King Crimson and Emerson, Lake and Palmer.
It is no surprise that Pearl Jam and Tupac Shakur will be inducted. They were, by far, the best of the first-time eligibles this year and it was expected they would get in. Now, let the “he’s not rock” complaints begin about Tupac.
…and, while they’re at it, there will be additional choruses of “she’s not rock” with the one surprise inductee on this year’s list, Joan Baez. As the biggest and most influential of the women in the folk music revival of the 60’s, Baez was also a major voice in the protest movement and has stayed involved with causes right up until today.
Baez, herself, was surprised, saying in a statement “I never considered myself to be a rock and roll artist but as part of the folk music boom which contributed to and influenced the rock revolution of the Sixties, I am proud that some of the songs I sang made their way into the rock lexicon. I very much appreciate this honour and acknowledgement by the Hall of Fame.”
Then there is the seventh inductee who was chosen outside of the voting system and will be inducted under the “Award For Musical Excellence”. Nile Rodgers has been nominated eleven times with his band Chic but failed to get in. We have said many times that, if they can’t put in Chic, they should certainly find a way to induct Rodgers, not only for his work with the group but also for his long list of artists for which he has done production from David Bowie to Duran Duran to Daft Punk.
For Rodgers, though, it is a bit bittersweet. While he is appreciative of his naming, he would have liked to have gone in with his band. “I’m quite flattered that they believed that I was worthy, but my band Chic didn’t win. They plucked me out of the band and said, ‘You’re better than Chic.’ That’s wacky to me … I am flattered and I think it’s cool, but I feel like somebody put me in the lifeboat and told my family they can’t get in.”
As far as who will actually be inducted from groups with such long histories:
Electric Light Orchestra – Bev Bevan, Jeff Lynne, Richard Tandy and Roy Wood
Journey – Jonathan Cain, Aynsley Dunbar, Steve Perry, Gregg Rolie, Neal Schon, Steve Smith and Ross Valory
Pearl Jam – Jeff Ament, Matt Cameron, Stone Gossard, Dave Krusen, Mike McCready and Eddie Vedder
Yes – Jon Anderson, Bill Bruford, Steve Howe, Tony Kaye, Trevor Rabin, Chris Squire, Rick Wakeman and Alan White
There is a strong chance that there will be some reunions when the actual inductions are held on April 7 at the Barclays Center in New York.
Unlike the past few year where past members were shunned by current lineups, there has been interest expressed in Steve Perry coming back with Journey for the night and John Anderson and Rick Wakeman joining Yes.
Those that were nominated but did not get in:
Bad Brains (1st Nomination, 10th Year Eligible)
The Cars (2nd Nomination, 14th Year Eligible)
Chic (11th Nomination, 15th Year Eligible)
Depeche Mode (1st Nomination, 11th Year Eligible)
J. Geils Band (4th Nomination, 22nd Year Eligible)
Janet Jackson (2nd Nomination, 10th Year Eligible)
Jane’s Addiction (1st Nomination, 5th Year Eligible)
Chaka Khan (3rd Nomination, 2nd Nomination as a solo artist, 14th Year Eligible as solo artist)
Kraftwerk (4th Nomination, 26th Year Eligible)
MC5 (2nd Nomination, 26th Year Eligible)
Steppenwolf (1st Nomination, 26th Year Eligible)
Joe Tex (5th Nomination, 27th Year Eligible)
The Zombies (2nd Nomination, 27th Year Eligible)