The Cars, Chicago, Cheap Trick, Deep Purple, Janet Jackson, Nine Inch Nails, N.W.A. and more are among the nominees for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016.
Others include Chaka Khan, Chic, The J.B.’s, Los Lobos, Steve Miller, The Smiths, The Spinners and Yes.
To be eligible for nomination, an individual artist or band must have released its first single or album at least 25 years prior to the year of nomination. The 2016 Nominees had to release their first recording no later than 1990.
Ballots will be sent to an international voting body of more than 800 artists, historians and members of the music industry.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will again offer fans the opportunity to officially participate in the induction selection process. Beginning October 8th and continuing through December 9th fans can visit rockhall.com to cast votes for who they believe to be most deserving of induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The top five artists, as selected by the public, will comprise a “fans’ ballot” that will be tallied along with the other ballots to choose the 2016 inductees.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2016 inductees will be announced in December.
All inductees are ultimately represented in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, the nonprofit organization that tells the story of rock and roll’s global impact via special exhibits, educational programs and its library and archives.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2016 Inductions, presented by Klipsch Audio will be held in New York in April 2016 and HBO will again broadcast the ceremony later in 2016. Venue and ticket on-sale information will be announced at a later date. Klipsch Audio, a leading global speaker and headphone manufacturer, is a strategic partner and presenting sponsor of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, its Induction Ceremony events and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Main Stage. Klipsch’s renowned products deliver the power, detail and emotion of the live music experience throughout the iconic museum.
About the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2016 Nominees:
Founded in Boston in 1976 by singer-guitarist-songwriter Ric Ocasek and singer-bassist Benjamin Orr, the Cars were the ultimate New Wave dream machine: a hook-savvy super-charged quintet that fused 60s pop, 70s glam and avant-rock minimalism into a decade of dashboard-radio nirvana. Their epic ride of 13 Top 40 singles across six classic studio albums – including four straight Top 10 LPs – drove the fury and intellectual adventure of punk rock out of the underground, firmly and forever into the American mainstream. Former hippie-folk compatriots, Ocasek and Orr were a natural yin-yang; Orr polished the terse, melodic grip and experimental vigor in Ocasek’s songs with vocal-dreamboat magnetism. Guitarist Elliott Easton’s rockabilly and surf-rock flourishes, Greg Hawkes’ ingenious keyboard science and drummer David Robinson’s futurist-Charlie Watts backbeat completed the design, already honed to maximum appeal on the Cars’ 1978 self-titled debut album. That record’s first three tracks, “Good Times Roll,” “My Best Friend’s Girl” and “Just What I Needed,” were all hit singles. Heartbeat City was the Cars’ commercial apex, a Number 3 album that featured the ravishing ballad, “Drive,” sung by Orr with broken-heart perfection. The group broke up in the late 80s. But the Cars’ visionary bravado was evident in the 90s alternative-rock boom. Nirvana played “My Best Friend’s Girl” at their last-ever show in 1994, while Ocasek became a producer-of-choice for younger bands such as Weezer and Bad Religion. Orr’s death in 2000 seemed to end any hope for a Cars reunion – until 2011, when the surviving members issued Move Like This, a new studio album that proved the Cars always sound like this year’s model, in every decade.
Chaka Khan (born Yvette Stevens in Chicago) came to prominence with the innovative funk/rock group Rufus in the 1970s. At a time when audiences for rock and soul were splitting into different camps, Khan’s voice represented the racial and social integration at the heart of rock and roll. With her incredible vocal range and mastery of dynamics, Khan has recorded durable and powerful music through four decades. Rufus recorded several excellent albums and had a long run of hits. She broke out on her own in 1978 with Ashford & Simpson’s “I’m Every Woman,” where she successfully mixed rock and disco. She continued to master the rhythms of every era from rock to funk to hip hop. Throughout her career, Khan has also showcased her jazz roots on albums like Echoes Of An Era (1982). Her finest solo album, 1984’s I Feel For You, was a creative and exciting mix of funk, synth dance rhythms and hip hop on Prince’s title track and the stunning ballad “Through The Fire.” And she has remained one of the most prolific and eclectic singers around, covering songbook standards and soul classics to equal acclaim and earning the 2008 Grammy for best R&B album with Funk This. Few stars offer such convincing proof that in rock and roll, grit and grace can co-exist harmoniously.
Cheap Trick had perfected an extremely individual yet classic rock and roll band sound by the time it released its first album in 1977. It has never changed it much. It didn’t need to. Cheap Trick’s records and concerts display a singular musical consistency over almost 40 years. Remaining interesting, sometimes hilarious, in that way is also pretty much unparalleled – and indispensable to understanding them. Cheap Trick is led by Rick Nielsen’s classic and perpetually fresh guitar and the sweet power of Robin Zander’s vocals. The group’s original lineup with Tom Petersson on bass and the amazing Bun E. Carlos as the powerhouse drummer influenced pretty much every other hard rockin’ band that came afterwards. They somehow bridge the gap between the fierce clowning of early punk and the accidental- on-purpose humor of metal, without ever sounding a bit like either. Their first five albums – Cheap Trick, In Color, Heaven Tonight, Dream Police, All Shook Up – made in a rock and roll tsunami from 1977 to 1980, are about as great as any such sequence in rock history and they hold up beautifully all these years later. Their American breakthrough, Live At Budokan, is in the running for best live album of all time. Some of their studio albums are better than others, but they have never made anything like a bad one. And they will all rock you ‘til your eyes bulge out. Promise.
Chic’s founding partnership consisted of songwriter-producer-guitarist Nile Rodgers and bassist Bernard Edwards (1952-1996), abetted by future Power Station drummer Tony Thompson (1954-2003). They rescued disco in 1977 with a combination of groove, soul and distinctly New York City studio smarts. Rodgers’ chopping rhythm guitar alongside Edwards’ deft bass lines were the perfect counterpart to melodic arrangements with their two female vocalists Alfa Anderson and Norma Jean Wright (replaced by Luci Martin). Out-of-the-box chart smashes “Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah),” the Number One “Le Freak” and Number One “Good Times” (ranked on Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Singles Of All Time”) made Chic the preeminent disco band – emphasis on the word ‘band’ – of the late 70s. Their music also extended disco’s tenure at a critical moment, as hip-hop (and later in the 80s, new jack swing) began to take the stage. Over the years, artists such as Sugar Hill Gang and Diddy have turned to Chic for beats and samples: “Good Times” has been checked everywhere from “Rapper’s Delight” and Blondie’s “Rapture,” to Queen’s “Another One Bites The Dust.” Rodgers and Edwards followed their five years in Chic with careers as top-flight producers for an A-list of megastars. Under Rodgers’ leadership, Chic has continued to tour, releasing live performances of its shows in Japan and Amsterdam.
Fusing jazz and rock together in a time when the Beatles were still crashing onto the American shores and psychedelic rock was taking over the basements of teenagers; Chicago Transit Authority broke onto the scene unapologetically in 1969 with their self-titled double album, Chicago Transit Authority. A brazen mix of soulful rock, pop and jazz coupled with protester’s chants from the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention; the album received critical acclaim and later produced the classic singles “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” and “Beginnings.” As the band began touring, under pressure from the city of Chicago, they shortened their name to simply, Chicago, and later released their second self-titled album, Chicago, in 1970. The center track, “Ballet For A Girl In Buchannon,” is a seven-part, 13-minute suite of pure melodic perfection composed by James Pankow who merged his love of classical, long song styles with Chicago’s signature sound. It yielded two unexpected singles “Make Me Smile” and “Colour My World” that quickly took the charts by storm reaching the Top 10 on Billboard’s Hot 100. From their inception through to the late 1970’s, Chicago mastered the art of making melodic jazz tinged rock with a keen pop sensibility. The group had a long string of jazz-rock mega hits including: “Make Me Smile,” “Saturday In The Park,” “25 Or 6 To 4,” “Feelin Stronger Every Day,” “If You Leave Me Now” and many others. Chicago’s early lineup created such an unmistakable sound. With over 21 Top 10 singles, five consecutive Number One albums, 11 Number One singles, fans that stretch across the globe and countless bands that have followed in their wake, Chicago’s legacy is unquestionable.
If there were a “Mount Rushmore Of Hard Rock” it would only have three heads: Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. They are the Holy Trinity of hard rock and metal bands. Deep Purple combined outstanding musicianship with dozens of FM radio smashes. Three separate incarnations of the band have made spectacular albums culminating with Deep Purple In Rock, which along with Led Zeppelin II and Black Sabbath’s Paranoid created the genre of hard rock music. Deep Purple have sold over 100 million albums and their flagship track “Smoke On The Water” eclipses “Satisfaction,” “Born To Run” and “Smells Like Teen Spirit” as the Number One Greatest Guitar Riff Of All Time. It is the riff that inspired tens of millions of guitarists to pick up the instrument and only Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony gives it a run for the money as far as recognizability and badassed-ness. Genius guitarist Ritchie Blackmore fused countless powerhouse riffs with a deep knowledge and appreciation of classical music. Keyboardist Jon Lord kept pace on the classical and rock fronts and cemented the guitar/keyboard axis that defined the band’s sound, and along with Zeppelin and Sabbath gave birth to an entire genre. Ian Gillian’s vocal range was unparalleled and the boiler room rhythm section of Roger Glover and Ian Pace cemented the classic lineup. Original vocalist Rod Evans and the David Coverdale/Glen Hughes lineups also created masterpieces of their own. Deep Purple are and were a band of supremely talented musicians and songwriters. They are one of the titans and pioneers of their genre, and one of the hardest pillars in the Temple Of Rock. Their groundbreaking albums and eardrum breaking live shows are the stuff of legend.
“Ladies and gentlemen, there are seven acknowledged wonders of the world. You are about to witness the eighth!” The introduction to the 1970 single “These Are The J.B.’s” was certainly audacious, but it was all too appropriate for a group that came on like an unstoppable force of nature. Initially assembled when James Brown needed to scramble to put together a new backing band, the J.B.’s quickly became the heaviest funk ensemble on Earth, recording and touring behind the “Hardest Working Man in Show Business” and also releasing material under their own name. The first version of the group featured Cincinnati brothers Bootsy and Catfish Collins, Bobby Byrd and Jabo Starks; this lineup recorded “The Grunt,” with an unforgettable squeal that would later become the crucial element in multiple records by Public Enemy. When horn giants Fred Wesley, Maceo Parker and St. Clair Pinckney rejoined the James Brown team, the J.B.’s went nuclear, with a series of hits including “Pass The Peas,” “Gimme Some More,” and the Number One, gold-selling R&B smash “Doing It To Death.” And if all that weren’t enough, as the J.B.’s gradually peeled away from Brown, they became the backbone of George Clinton’s Parliament-Funkadelic and kept the funk flag flying for the next generation.
“No, my first name ain’t ‘Baby,’ it’s Janet – Miss Jackson, if you’re nasty.” With innovation and bravado, Janet Jackson brushed aside the challenges of being a superstar’s sibling and became one of pop music’s dominant figures. The youngest member of the Jackson clan, she was first in the spotlight as a child actress on the TV series “Good Times” and “Fame.” But it was with the five-times-platinum Control album in 1986 that she staked her claim as an R&B powerhouse. Working with the visionary production team of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, she fused melodic dance-pop with more aggressive beats, influenced by industrial and hip hop sounds, and helped usher in the new jack swing era. Such juggernauts as Rhythm Nation 1814 and janet.secured Jackson’s position as a global icon, as she explored themes of social justice and daring sexuality in her lyrics. With over 160 million records sold, she is one of the best-selling artists in history, and she still holds the record for the most consecutive Top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 by a female artist with 18. Jackson’s sonic and visual style loom large over the generation that followed, including Beyonce´, Britney Spears, Lady Gaga and Rihanna – as evidenced in the last few months by the likes of J. Cole and Missy Elliott contributing to her latest singles.
East L.A. rockers Los Lobos (Spanish for “the wolves”) are responsible for bringing a Latino sensibility to the American rock market. Fusing classic American styles, such as R&B, blues and rock, with cumbia, Tejano and Mexican norten~a music, the group had already won a Grammy Award for Best Mexican-American / Tejano Performance by the time they became international pop sensations in the late 80s.
Multi-instrumentalists David Hidalgo and Louie Pe´rez bonded in high school over a shared fascination with more obscure music ranging from progressive rock to jazz to singer-songwriter styles. By 1973, they were joined by guitarist Cesar Rosas and bassist Conrad Lozano, and the quartet honed their act performing at countless weddings and parties. Between day jobs, they headed to the studio, appearing on and recording a series of albums and EPs from 1976 to 1983, before their 1984 major label debut How Will the Wolf Survive?. The album highlighted the group’s fluency in a variety of musical styles, while introducing listeners to their poignant songwriting – the title track examined illegal immigrant life in America. Keying into issues facing Mexican-Americans and Mexican immigrants, Los Lobos faces thematic challenges head-on, indicting politics with their subtle yet powerful lyrics. The group amplifies their Mexican roots, singing in Spanish and Spanglish and employing traditional instruments including the guitarro´n (large six-stringed bass guitar). Los Lobos’ chart-topping version of Hall of Fame Inductee Ritchie Valens’ “La Bamba” extended their popularity, while more than 20 albums have shown the band’s versatility over more than three decades and helped make them a truly international act, touring with rock royalty including Bob Dylan, U2 and the Grateful Dead. Los Lobos continues to tour and release hit records that seamlessly fuse distinct cultural traditions with inimitable personality.
Steve Miller was a mainstay of the San Francisco music scene that upended American culture in the late 60s. With albums like Children Of The Future, Sailor and Brave New World, Miller perfected a psychedelic blues sound that drew on the deepest sources of American roots music and simultaneously articulated a compelling vision of what music – and, indeed, society – could be in the years to come. Then, in the 70s, Miller crafted a brand of pure pop that was polished, exciting and irresistible – and that dominated radio in a way that few artists have ever managed. Hit followed hit in what seemed like an endless flow: “Take The Money And Run,” “Rock’n Me,” “Fly Like An Eagle,” “Jet Airliner” and “Jungle Love,” among them. To this day, those songs are instantly recognizable when they come on the radio – and impossible not to sing along with. Their hooks are the very definition of indelible. Running through Miller’s distinctive catalog is a combination of virtuosity and song craft. His parents were jazz aficionados – not to mention close friends of Les Paul and Mary Ford – so, as a budding guitarist, Miller absorbed valuable lessons from that musical tradition. When the family moved to Texas, Miller deepened his education in the blues, eventually moving to Chicago, where he played with Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Buddy Guy and Paul Butterfield. In recent years, Miller has immersed himself in the blues once again. And, as always, whether he was riding the top of the charts or exploring the blue highways of American music, he is playing and singing with conviction and precision, passion and eloquence, and making records that are at once immediately accessible and more than able to stand the test of time.
N.W.A’s improbable rise from marginalized outsiders to the most controversial and complicated voices of their generation remains one of rock’s most explosive, relevant and challenging tales. From their Compton, California headquarters, Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, MC Ren and DJ Yella would – by force of will and unrelenting tales of street life – sell tens of millions of records, influence multiple generations the world over and extend artistic middle fingers to the societal barriers of geography, respectability, caste, authority and whatever else happened to get in their way. As enduringly evergreen as the Beatles and as shockingly marketable as the Sex Pistols, N.W.A (Niggaz Wit Attitudes) made a way out of no way, put their city on the map and solidified the disparate elements of gangsta rap into a genre meaty enough to be quantified, imitated and monetized for generations to come. But two decades before Rolling Stone would rank them 83rd on their “100 Greatest Artists Of All Time” list, they were just five young men with something to say. Five men, at least twice that many opposing points of view among them and well over a hundred million records collectively sold over the last 29 years, N.W.A, and its extended family tree of platinum satellites (J.J. Fad, The D.O.C, Above The Law, Michel’le, Yo-Yo, Da Lench Mob, Del the Funky Homosapien, Hieroglyphics, Snoop Dogg, Warren G, Nate Dogg, The Dogg Pound, The Lady of Rage, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, 2Pac, Westside Connection, Eminem, 50 Cent, The Game, Kendrick Lamar – an unmatched assemblage of talent) helped set the stage for hip hop’s emergence as one of this planet’s most dominant musical life forms.
Nine Inch Nails
Trent Reznor is a study in contradictions: a self-described “computer dweeb” with sharply defined biceps, he makes music that juxtaposes the brutal and delicate, chaos and order, nihilistic despair and spiritual rapture. With Nine Inch Nails, he has taken the sounds and sights of transgressive art — monkey messiahs, shiny boots of leather, serial killers — into the mainstream, transmuting alienation into community. Nine Inch Nails began in Cleveland in the late 80s as a studio project for Reznor, but blossomed onstage with his live band during the first Lollapalooza tour in 1991, which found NIN laying waste to its instruments in the afternoon sun as dismayed fellow musicians and converted fans looked on. The 1994 breakthrough album, The Downward Spiral, combined the mechanized funk and discordant noise of industrial rock with Reznor’s belief in melody and song structure. It debuted at Number Two on the Billboard album chart and spawned the Top 40 hit “Closer” — with its promises of animalistic sex as a way of being nearer to God — as well as “Hurt,” later covered by Johnny Cash. A mud-splattered, star-making performance at Woodstock 94 delivered Nine Inch Nails to the arena level. A series of carefully wrought tours — including a co-headlining trek with David Bowie in 1995 — followed, accompanied by visuals as transformative as they were simple. In recent years, Reznor’s penchant for futurism has included distributing music for free on the Internet as well as working for Beats Music and Apple to find a way to restore value to purchasing music. Nine Inch Nails returned in 2013 with Hesitation Marks.
The Smiths are among the most important and influential bands ever to come out of England. They link the musicality and pop ambition of the Beatles to such inheritors as Oasis, Blur, the Stone Roses and, really, every English rock band that has risen up in the wake of their emergence in the early 80s. They defined a sound and a style that was simultaneously stripped-down and eloquent, powerfully expressive of their fervent belief that everyday people – which is why they were called the Smiths – lived emotional lives of great drama, passion and meaning. The Smiths – singer Morrissey, guitarist Johnny Marr, bassist Andy Rourke and drummer Mike Joyce – formed in Manchester, England, in 1982, four working-class kids who defied the musical trends of their times. Against the foppery of the so-called “new romantics” and the bloodless, synthetic dance pop of the era, the Smiths offered spare guitar-bass- drums arrangements that spoke directly to the fears and yearnings of their fans. Though he avoided contrivance and showiness, Marr became the English guitar hero of the 80s and beyond – a player capable of finding a sound to suit every musical circumstance. And Morrissey, of course, became a rock star despite himself. Unapologetically literate and fearless about exploring feelings of isolation, embarrassment and longing in his lyrics, he became an icon for the disaffected. The Smiths broke up at the height of their popularity in 1987. They forged a legacy that continues undiminished to this day. Every year, offers for the band to reunite are held out, so far to no avail. But whether or not the Smiths ever get back together, their impact can be felt in the countless bands they have helped shape – as well as in their own undeniable music, which has lost none of its ability to inspire, provoke and move.
One of the world’s most beloved R&B vocal groups, the Spinners were a hitmaking machine at Atlantic Records, where they came to define the Philadelphia Sound that dominated pop and urban radio and dance clubs in the 70s. With a stage act that rivaled Motown’s best groups, and a track record of hits that resonated around the world, the Spinners were second to none. Before settling into the classic five-man lineup of Billy Henderson, Pervis Jackson, Bobbie Smith, Henry Fambrough and lead singer Philippe´ Wynne, the Spinners spent nearly two decades in their native Detroit. This included stints in the 60s on Harvey Fuqua’s Tri-Phi label and later on Motown’s V.I.P. imprint. At Aretha Franklin’s behest, they moved to Atlantic in 1972, where they were teamed with Philadelphia producer-songwriter Thom Bell and the Sigma Sound Studios crew. Bell’s track record with the Delfonics and the Stylistics made him the perfect choice for the Spinners, who exploded at Atlantic with four Number One R&B hits in less than 18 months: “I’ll Be Around,” “Could It Be I’m Falling In Love,” “One Of A Kind (Love Affair)” and “Mighty Love.” In fact, there were 15 consecutive Top 10 R&B singles over their first five years at the label. During this time, the Disco era brought massive crossover hits with “Then Came You” (with Dionne Warwick, Number One pop), “They Just Can’t Stop It (The Games People Play)” and “The Rubberband Man.” In the decades to follow, the Spinners’ trunk full of hits found new fans on every continent, and such artists as Elton John, David Bowie and Elvis Costello have all sung their praises. To see Henry Fambrough leading the group today is one of the eternal joys of classic R&B.
Yes is the most enduring, ambitious and virtuosic progressive band in rock history. By fusing the cinematic soundscapes of King Crimson with the hard rock edge of The Who and the soaring harmonies and melodies of Simon and Garfunkel, they took progressive rock from a small audience of aficionados to radio airwaves and football stadiums all over America. Hits like “Roundabout” and “I’ve Seen All Good People” appealed to rock fans who did not even think they liked prog rock, while album-side length epics like “Close To The Edge” and “The Gates Of Delirium” represent the genre at its absolute finest. Steve Howe remains one of the most underrated guitarists in rock history, while keyboardist Rick Wakeman, bassist Chris Squire and drummers Bill Bruford and Alan White will always be regarded as musicians simply without peer. Frontman Jon Anderson is an alto tenor singer who still hits the highest of high notes 45 years after forming the group. While many of their contemporaries wilted once punk hit, Yes managed to change with the times, and they reemerged in the 80s as an MTV-ready commercial force, landing massive hits on the charts like “Owner Of A Lonely Heart.” While prog giants like Pink Floyd, Genesis and Emerson Lake & Palmer retired years ago, Yes continues to tour (albeit with some new members) at a pace that would leave bands half their age breathless.
Author: Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.