Fans Can Officially Cast Their Vote For 2017 Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Inductees
The nominees for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2017 are: Bad Brains, Chaka Khan, Chic, Depeche Mode, Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), J. Geils Band, Jane’s Addiction, Janet Jackson, Joan Baez, Joe Tex, Journey, Kraftwerk, MC5, Pearl Jam, Steppenwolf, The Cars, The Zombies, Tupac Shakur and Yes.
Nominees are on the ballot for the first time include Bad Brains, Depeche Mode, Electric Light Orchestra, Jane’s Addiction, Joan Baez, Journey, Pearl Jam, Steppenwolf, and Tupac Shakur. Pearl Jam and Tupac Shakur became eligible for nomination this year.
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
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 2017 Nominees had to release their first recording no later than 1991.
All inductees are ultimately represented in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 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.
Jeff Lynne of Electric Light Orchestra
ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA, OR MORE POPULARLY KNOWN AS ELO, WERE FORMED IN BIRMINGHAM ENGLAND IN 1970 WHEN JEFF LYNNE AND ROY WOOD, MEMBERS OF THE MOVE, HAD THE VISION TO START A NEW PROJECT THAT WOULD CREATE MODERN ROCK AND POP SONGS WITH CLASSICAL OVERTONES.
Joined by fellow Move member Bev Bevan, their mission was clear – to pick up where the Beatles left off and carry the torch. And they did just that. Their first single “10538 Overture,” released in 1972, is an unabashed homage to the Beatles, a heavily orchestrated psychedelic gem that sounded like their musical answer to “I Am The Walrus.” Roy Wood left ELO later that year, leaving Lynne as the band’s sole creative force, and he took them to both creative and commercial heights. Their fourth album Eldorado, A Symphony, a concept record about a daydreamer, yielded their first US top 10 single “Can’t Get It Out Of My Head” and became the band’s first gold album. The two albums that followed produced four top 20 hits – “Evil Woman,” “Strange Magic,” “Livin’ Thing” and “Telephone Line” – that are all still classic rock radio mainstays. Their next album was their most ambitious yet, the multi-platinum selling double LP Out Of The Blue, that featured three more hit singles, including the ever popular “Mr. Blue Sky,” and a grandiose tour highlighted by the now famous spaceship stage complete with fog machines and laser displays that made ELO a must-see concert. All told, ELO has sold over 50 million records worldwide and between 1972 and 1986, Jeff Lynne wrote and produced twenty-six Top 40 hits in the UK and twenty in the US. Their legacy is still growing and their success continues today, with Jeff Lynne’s ELO selling out huge shows around the world, and their timeless songs have become staples for music fans of all generations. John Lennon once famously referred to the band as “sons of the Beatles,” but more than 40 years later, it is clear that ELO have carved out their own unique place in rock history.
Selected discography: “10538 Overture,” No Answer (1971) ● “Can’t Get It Out Of My Head,” Eldorado, A Symphony (1974) ● “Evil Woman,” “Strange Magic,” Face The Music (1975) ● “Livin’ Thing,” “Telephone Line,” A New World Record (1976) ● “Turn To Stone,” “Sweet Talkin’ Woman,” “Mr. Blue Sky,” Out Of The Blue (1977) ● “Don’t Bring Me Down,” Discovery (1979)
The J. Geils Band
THOSE WHO KNOW THE J. GEILS BAND ONLY FOR THEIR MTV ERA HITS (“LOVE STINKS,” “CENTERFOLD,” “FREEZE FRAME”) DON’T KNOW THE J. GEILS BAND.
During the long years between the demise of the Butterfield Blues Band and Mitch Ryder’s Detroit Wheels and the rise of Bruce Springsteen, Bob Seger and Tom Petty, the J. Geils Band kept alive a joyful and very American brand of R&B-based rock and roll.
Led by Jerome Geils’ blues guitar and Magic Dick’s virtuoso harp, the bedrock rhythm of bassist Danny Klein and drummer Stephen Jo Bladd, keyboard player/composer Seth Justman, and the inexhaustible Peter Wolf up front, Geils was a party band with heart, brains and a wide range of styles – from deep blues (“Serve You Right To Suffer”) to soul (“Looking For A Love”), doo-wop (“I Do”) and funk (“Flame Thrower”). The band could write a country song so convincing it was covered by Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris (“Cry One More Time”) and even came up with the first U.S. reggae hit (“Give It To Me”). With 1977’s Monkey Island and 1978’s Sanctuary the bad boys from Boston explored darker themes before going for a streamlined, radio-friendly sound with Love Stinks (1980) and Freeze Frame (1981), which hit number one on both the U.S. singles and album charts. Shortly after that, the band broke up. They put in fifteen years of hard work. They went out on top.
Selected discography: “Hard Drivin’ Man,” “Homework,” “First I Look At The Purse,” The J. Geils Band (1970) • “Looking For A Love,” “Cry One More Time,” The Morning After (1971) • Full House (Live) (1972) • “Give It To Me,” “Southside Shuffle,” “Houseparty,” Bloodshot, Ladies Invited (1973) • “Must Of Got Lost,” “Detroit Breakdown,” Nightmares… (1974) • “Love-Itis,” Hotline (1975) • “Where Did Our Love Go,” Blow Your Face Out (Live) (1976) • “Surrender,” Monkey Island (1977) • “One Last Kiss,” Sanctuary (1978) • Love Stinks (1980) • “Centerfold,” Freeze-Frame (1981)
Chaka Khan, 2017 nominee for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. (Image courtesy of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)
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.
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.
HOW DOES ANY BAND REMAIN AT THE CUTTING EDGE FOR OVER THREE DECADES?
Depeche Mode have spent their long and unique career exploring new realms of postpunk, electronic textures and futuristic industrial sounds, with one of the all-time charismatic frontmen in Dave Gahan and a songwriting legend in Martin Gore.
Depeche Mode burst from the U.K. town of Basildon in 1981 with the New Romantic synth-blast of Speak And Spell, as tunesmith Vince Clarke brought his sense of pop classicism to the dance floor in hits like “Just Can’t Get Enough” and “Dreaming Of Me.” When Clarke left the group (to make inventive records with his groups Yaz and Erasure), Gore stepped up to become one of his generation’s most influential songwriters, with his own black-leather blend of existential despair, erotic kink, political bite and sly wit. Depeche Mode built a diehard cult – and helped invent the goth subculture – with groundbreaking hits like “Master And Servant” (1985), “Stripped” (1986), “A Question Of Lust” (1986) and “Never Let Me Down Again” (1987) – while their electro reboot of “Route 66” showed off their wry take on the R&B verities. Black Celebration (1986) and Music For The Masses (1987) led to Depeche Mode’s masterwork Violator (1990), blending ominous synths with rock guitar for classics like “Personal Jesus” and “Enjoy The Silence.” Their newfound flair for the blues exploded in the goth-grunge swamp gospel of 1993’s Songs Of Faith And Devotion (“Walking In My Shoes”), as well as, recent global hits like Playing The Angel (2005) and Delta Machine (2013).
Depeche Mode have kept evolving through the Nineties and beyond, remaining a legendarily fearsome live act across the planet, with a foot in the underground and another in the club – but always with an eye on the future.
Selected discography: “Dreaming Of Me,” Speak And Spell (1981) ● “People Are People,” Some Great Reward (1984) ● Black Celebration (1986) ● “Personal Jesus,” Violator (1990) ● Songs Of Faith And Devotion (1993) ● Sounds Of The Universe (2009) ● Delta Machine (2013)
IF YOU’VE SEEN JOAN BAEZ LIVE YOU’LL KNOW THE SIMMERING CHARISMATIC PRESENCE THAT DRAWS YOU INTO HER PERFORMANCE.
It’s a powerful force that saw her cross over from her folk roots into the mainstream, achieving gold albums in the 70’s and also provided a platform for her lifetime’s work, championing civil rights and human rights, highlighting the downtrodden, standing up against discrimination and reminding us it’s not always only rock ‘n roll.
Gifted with a natural singing voice and influenced by an early appreciation of opera, her career really took off following a performance at Newport Folk Festival in 1959, her first self-titled album coming out the following year. In these early days Baez was at the core of the American roots music revival where she championed a barely known at the time Bob Dylan and paved the way for other artists like Joni Mitchell and Emmylou Harris. Although a talented songwriter herself, it’s Joan Baez’s interpretation of other writer’s work that really stands out. At the age of 13 she was taken to see Pete Seeger whose performance inspired her to start learning some of his repertoire and perform publicly. It’s Baez’s version of ‘We Shall Overcome’ that became prominent during the Civil Rights Movement in the 60’s; she marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and performed the song at rallies. As the 70’s got started, her cover of The Band’s ‘The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down’ went to the top of the charts and is arguably the definitive version. She was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 2007.
Joan Baez opened Live Aid in the USA in 1985 and performed on two Amnesty International tours in the same decade. The organisation honored her in 2011 at its 50th Anniversary with the inaugural Joan Baez Award for outstanding inspirational service in the global fight for human rights.
In a career spanning over 55 years and over 30 albums, Joan Baez is still touring and still mesmerizing audiences all over the world. Her social activism has provoked and inspired, encouraging many other performers who followed to stand up for their beliefs.
Selected discography: “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” (1962) ● “We Shall Overcome” (1963) ● “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” (1965) ● “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” (1971) ● “Forever Young” (1974) ● “Diamonds & Rust” (1975) Blessed Are… (1971) ● Diamonds & Rust (1975)
CALL IT WHAT YOU WILL – ARENA ROCK, STADIUM ROCK, CONCERT ROCK – THE MUSIC OF JOURNEY DEFINED THE BIG ROCK AND ROLL SOUND OF THE LATE 1970S AND EARLY 1980S.
Formed in San Francisco in 1973, the group was initially a combination of ex-Santana members Neal Schon and Gregg Rolie, and ex- Frumious Bandersnatch members. The band was steeped in the psychedelic and jazz fusion sounds of San Francisco and pushed out into the territory of progressive and hard rock with songs like “Of A Lifetime” and “I’m Gonna Leave You.” In 1977 they found Steve Perry – one of the all-time great rock voices – a singer who could perform ballads and scorchers with equal skill and passion. Between 1978 and 1981, they refined their sound, worked on their songwriting, and eventually released one of the biggest hit albums of the early 1980s, Escape (1981). Pulling from Queen’s melodic rock sound (by specifically working with Queen producer Roy Thomas Baker), the band was soon performing in sold out stadiums around the world. Their biggest hit, “Don’t Stop Believin” is a song that has gone beyond its own place and time and has become a cultural anthem, appearing in everything from the TV show Glee, the final episode of The Sopranos, and even as the finale of the Broadway musical Rock Of Ages. They followed up in 1983 with another album full of radio hits on Frontiers. The opening track “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)” blended all the best elements of their powerful music: synth arpeggios, guitar power chords, thumping bass and drums, and the soaring vocals of Perry. In the late 80s and 90s they only put out two new albums, but each captured their signature sound, although with a decidedly AOR sheen. The band continues to tour the world with their new lead singer Arnel Pineda, and their classic hits continue to rock the world – just turn on “Don’t Stop Believin” in a bar and see what happens.
Selected discography: “Of A Lifetime,” Journey (1975) ● “I’m Gonna Leave You,” Look Into The Future (1976) ● “Lights,” “Wheel In The Sky,” Infinity (1978) ● “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’,” Evolution (1979) ● “Any Way You Want It,” “Walks Like A Lady,” Departure (1980) ● “Don’t Stop Believin,” “Stone In Love,” “Who’s Crying Now,” “Open Arms,” Escape (1981) ● “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart),” “Send Her My Love,” “Faithfully,” “Only The Young,” Frontiers (1983) ● “Girl Can’t Help It,” “I’ll Be Alright Without You,” Raised On Radio (1986) ● “When You Love A Woman,” Trial By Fire (1996)
KRAFTWERK IS THE FOUNDATION UPON WHICH ALL SYNTHESIZER-BASED ROCK AND ROLL AND ELECTRONIC DANCE MUSIC IS BUILT.
Founded in Düsseldorf in 1970 by the band’s two core members, Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider, the group was a part of a new wave of musicians in Germany collectively referred to as Kosimsche Musik (cosmic music) who explored the intersection of rock and roll and the avant-garde. Their first three albums capture the sound of an experimental proto-punk jam band riffing on the sounds of Hawkwind and the Velvet Underground, but their fourth album Autobahn (1974) established the beginning of something entirely new (created with longtime friend and producer Konrad “Conny” Plank). The twenty-two minute title track combined the diverse influences of the Beach Boys and Karlheinz Stockhausen into the creation of an electronic musical odyssey. It also represented a miraculous use of technology through its amalgamation of Moog synthesizers, multi-track recording and traditional instrumentation. The 1977 album, Trans-Europe Express, completed Kraftwerk’s transformation into a synthesized quartet. The album featured some of the funkiest grooves and vocoder melodies ever put on wax. New York City’s burgeoning hip-hop community quickly latched on to the album and DJ Afrika Bambaataa based his track “Planet Rock” (1982) on Kraftwerk’s beats. The years that followed secured Kratwerk’s place as both musical innovators and master songwriters and the albums, The Man-Machine (1978), Computer World (1981) and Electric Café (1986) established the blueprint for the sound and image of modern electronic music. Kraftwerk’s influence can be heard in the synth-pop of Depeche Mode, the electronic-rock integration of U2 and the DJ/Laptop artist vibrations of Deadmau5 and Skrillex.
Selected discography: “Ruckzuck,” Kraftwerk (1970) ● “Tanzmusik,” Ralf Und Florian (1973) ● “Autobahn,” Autobahn (1974) ● “Showroom Dummies,” “Trans-Europe Express,” “Metal On Metal,” Trans-Europe Express (1977) ● “The Robots,” “Neon Lights,” The Man-Machine (1978) ● “Pocket Caculator,” “Computer Love,” Computer World (1981) ● “Techno Pop,” “Musique Non-Stop,” Electric Café (1986) ● “Dentaku,” “Radioactivity,” The Mix (1991) ● “Expo 2000,” Expo 2000 (1999) ● “Aerodynamik,” “Tour De France,” Tour De France Soundtracks (2003)
Ballots will be sent to an international voting body of more than 800 artists, historians and members of the music industry. Factors such as an artist’s musical influence on other artists, length and depth of career and the body of work, innovation and superiority in style and technique are taken into consideration.
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame will again offer fans the opportunity to officially participate in the induction selection process. Continuing through 11:59 p.m. EST on December 5, 2016, fans can visit rockhall.com to cast votes for who they believe to be most deserving of induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. (I did and, as of this writing, Journey is leading the group with 102,791 fan votes, followed by Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) 100,502 votes; The Cars with 91,825 votes; Yes with 90,611 votes, Pearl Jam with 75, 604 votes and Steppenwolf with 63314 votes. Go Journey!!) 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 2017 inductees. Fans will need to login with a Facebook account or email to vote. Voting is capped at one ballot per day.
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2017 inductees will be announced in December 2016. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2017 Inductions, presented by Klipsch Audio, will be held at Barclays Center in Brooklyn in April 2017. HBO will also once again broadcast the ceremony in 2017. 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 & Roll Hall of Fame, its Induction Ceremony events and the Rock & 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.
Follow the Rock Hall on Facebook, Twitter (@rock_hall) and Instagram (@rockhall) and join the conversation at #RockHall2017.
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