And the nominees are:
Red Hots, Beasties, Blackhearts: Some surprising names on the just-released listof this year's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees
The nominees were selected by the Rock Hall’s official nominating committee, a 40-person roster of industry insiders including Steven Van Zandt, Paul Shaffer and Touré, chaired by legendary producer Jon Landau. Traditionally, at least five names from the initial list get a coveted spot in the Rock Hall. Who will it be this year? The nominees are:
Eric B. & Rakim
Guns ‘N Roses
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Rufus with Chaka Khan
The Small Faces / The Faces
So: let’s talk about it. There’s no doubt that Donovan deserves the nom; the Scottish singer should have reached Dylan-level fame with his chart-topping singles but, instead, ended up a footnote in rock doc Don’t Look Back (and, eventually, busted for drugs, bankrupt and publicly shamed by his family). He still tours, belting out “Sunshine Superman” with as much enthusiasm as ever.
The Beastie Boys and The Cure come as no surprise, either; it’s hard to find a pair of bands more often cited as influences among best-selling bands right now. Both are considered groundbreaking in their respective genres, and both have served as inspirations for their respective social stereotypes (white hip hop enthusiasts and those on the emo/goth faultline, specifically).
Joan Jett and Heart, representing the lady-rock portion of the ballot, are equally badass acts that deserve recognition for always, unapologetically doing their own thing. Is it interesting that both recently got big screen tributes (Jett in the recent Runaways, Heart with a cameo in Bridesmaids)? It is to me! Rent them both and make your nominee pick accordingly.
Laura Nyro, on the other hand, brings a softer sound to the ballot with her sweet jazz-infused sound. Seeing her on the ballot alongside blues legend (and native of Gilmer, Texas!) Freddie King makes us long for a duet between the two mixing their modern takes on traditional styles.
Similarly, The Spinners (sometimes known as The Motown Spinners) are another soul staple that still tour, albeit without former vocalist Philippe Wynne.
Disco queen Donna Summer is a very welcome addition to the list, and not just because we’re dying to see her induction day outfit; the unofficial Queen of the 70s, her songs soundtrack countless memories, as well as films from The Birdcage to Frost/Nixon.
Rufus with Chaka Khan is an interesting choice; technically two different artists, the band Rufus and diva Chaka Khan were actually early collaborators, getting involved when Khan was only eighteen. Fun fact: Stevie Wonder wrote the song “Tell Me Something Good” specifically for Khan to sing with Rufus.
Representing yet another genre shift on the ballot, Eric B. & Rakim were one of the first self-made, NYC-based duos to shift the way the public saw and heard hip hop. While both have gone on to fruitful solo careers, their 1987 album “Paid in Full” still stands as one of the most solid debut albums ever.
It’s no surprise that popular rock act Guns ‘N Roses got a nom; if the world’s willing to wait fifteen years for “Chinese Democracy,” anything is possible. (I kid. Of course, GNR are the 80s, and a party’s not a party without someone throwing on “Paradise City” and rocking out, Can’t Hardly Wait-style.)
War, as well, are known for their anthems, in particular “Low Rider” and “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” If we’re judging by number of times an artist’s songs appear on iconic films about the era they represent, War is hands-down winning a spot in the Hall.
The Small Faces (also known as The Faces) are another curious pick, with the dual nomination of both incarnations of the group. The Small Faces proper produced blues-inspired Brit-rock from 1965-1969, disbanding and reforming with Ronnie Wood and Rod Stewart to form The Faces (active from 1970-1975). Without The Faces, would we have Rod Stewart’s recent series of “Songbooks”? A thing to consider.
Well, that’s about it—wait there’s one more? Oh, Red Hot Chili Peppers. Best of luck to them.
While it’s certainly an honor just to be considered, the best news hasn’t come yet: the final list of inductees will be announced in November, after another review (this time, by a broader network of 500 musicians, producers, press and professionals).
The final five (or more) will join recent inductees, the Class of 2011: Alice Cooper, Neil Diamond, Jac Holzman, Dr. John, Darlene Love, Art Rupe, Leon Russell and Tom Waits.
Final picks will be announced in November, with the official induction ceremony taking place at the Cleveland Convention Center in April.