Red Hot Chili Peppers among the surprising names on just-released list of Rockand Roll Hall of Fame nominees
The nominees are selected by the Rock Hall’s official nominating committee, a 40-person roster of industry insiders including Steven Van Zandt, Paul Shaffer and Touré and chaired by legendary producer Jon Landau. Traditionally, at least five names from the initial list get a coveted spot in the Rock Hall of Fame. Who will it be this year? The nominees are:
The Beastie Boys, The Cure, Donovan, Eric B. & Rakim, Guns ‘N Roses, Heart, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Freddie King, Laura Nyro, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rufus with Chaka Khan, The Small Faces / The Faces, The Spinners, Donna Summer and War.
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 the rock doc Don’t Look Back (and was eventually busted for drugs, declared 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 groups of the moment. 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, respectively).
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 things. Is it interesting to anyone else 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 Gilmer, Texas native) 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 welcome addition to the list, and not just because we’re dying to see her induction day outfit; the unofficial Queen of the 70s, Summer's 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 the 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 15 years for Chinese Democracy, anything is possible. (I kid, ff 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 are also known for their anthems, in particular “Low Rider” and “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” If we’re judging by the number of times an artist’s songs appear in iconic films about the eras 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 to1969, disbanding and reforming with Ronnie Wood and Rod Stewart to form The Faces (active from 1970 to 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, the 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 in 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 music professionals.
The chosen ones will join recent inductees of the Class of 2011: Alice Cooper, Neil Diamond, Jac Holzman, Dr. John, Darlene Love, Art Rupe, Leon Russell and Tom Waits.
The official induction ceremony takes place at the Cleveland Convention Center in April.