Imagine a year when the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame nominees are announced and everyone shut up?
Well, that’ll never happen, but most people seem fairly cool with this year’s inducted artists, who were announced by Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers at a press conference yesterday. Let’s take a quick look at this year’s nominees-who will officially be inducted next spring.
Albert King: One of two posthumous honorees (he died in ’92,) blues guitarist King didn’t have any major hits, but he was a major influence on guitar heroes past and present. His songs have been covered by the likes of Cream and Jimi Hendrix.
Heart: The legendary rock band fronted by the Wilson sisters, Ann & Nancy. When hard rock was all the rage in the mid Seventies, Heart offered virtually the only commercially successful female-led alternative. After a few years in the wilderness, Heart reinvented themselves as a power ballad-slingin’ outfit and scored a lengthy string of top 40 hits, including “These Dreams,” “Alone” and “What About Love.” Although the hits dried up around 1993 or so, Heart remains a solid touring act to this day.
Randy Newman: Sardonic songwriting legend best known commercially for the #2 smash “Short People” in 1978, the song “I Love L.A.” (if you were alive for the 1984 Olympics, you heard this song every 7 seconds on TV) and for scoring a ton of childrens’ films, including Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, Monsters Inc. and Cars. He is a five-time Grammy Award nominee, and over his career, he has been nominated for 20 Academy Awards. He had a serious Susan Lucci thing going on until he picked up his first Oscar in 2002. He won his second in 2011.
Public Enemy: Led by the booming voice of Chuck D., Public Enemy’s fiercely political music enlightened a generation of music fans while also pushing the envelope artistically. Songs like “Fight The Power,” “Don’t Believe The Hype” and “Welcome To The Terrordome” were fiery but funky, and led to three consecutive platinum albums, all of which are regarded as must haves for any hip-hop: 1988’s It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, 1990’s Fear of a Black Planet, and 1991’s Apocalypse ’91-The Enemy Strikes Black. Chuck has also led the charge for artists’ rights, served as a political pundit, and was one of the first artists to realize the power of the internet, after leaving powerhouse Def Jam in the late Nineties. Court jester/hot mess Flavor Flav is also in the group, but don’t hold that against them.
Rush: The act that many people thought would never get into the HOF, thanks to an assumed bias against prog-rock, Canada’s Rush is one of the most consistently successful rock bands in music history. Although their top 40 success has been limited they consistently sell out arenas and have done so for almost four decades. Highly regarded for their complex compositions, squawking synthesizer solos, and the impossibly high voice of Geddy Lee, Rush has scored 14 Platinum albums in the U.S., third only to The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. The collective scream you heard in the middle of the afternoon yesterday was the sound of millions of Rush fans orgasming over the band’s (well-deserved) induction.
Donna Summer: The widely-acknowledged “Queen of Disco” the late Donna Summer was much more than a disco artist. Since debuting in the early Seventies with the hit “Love To Love You Baby,” the vocalist tackled not only disco, but everything from new wave (“The Wanderer”) to show tunes (“Don’t Cry for Me Argentina.”) She worked with everyone from Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson to Bruce Springsteen, and (because we’re pop culture nerds) she even played Steve Urkel’s aunt on a few episodes of the hit series Family Matters. Her recordings with producers Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte are classics that still get played on radio and in clubs today, and it’s hard to imagine that there would have been a Madonna-the most successful female artist in music history-without Donna Summer. Sadly, Donna passed away last May.
Speaking of Quincy, the legendary bandleader and producer will be one of two non-performer inductees, along with artist manager/record producer Lou Adler (perhaps best known for Carole King’s Tapestry.)
These artists will be officially inducted in a ceremony on April 18th, and the ceremony will be broadcast on HBO a month later.