2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees Beastie Boys The Cure Donna Summer Donovan Eric B. & Rakim Guns 'N Roses Heart Joan Jett and The Blackhearts Freddie King Laura Nyro Red Hot Chili Peppers Rufus with Chaka Khan The Small Faces/The Faces The Spinners War
This year's nominees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame embody the broad scope of what ‘rock and roll’ means,” said Joel Peresman, President and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation.
“From vocal groups to hip hop, from singer-songwriters to hard rocking artists, this group represents the spirit of what we celebrate at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” Peresman said.
Ballots will be sent to more than 500 voters, who will select artists to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the 27th Annual Induction Ceremony. 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 2012 Nominees had to release their first recording no later than 1986.
All inductees are ultimately represented in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, the nonprofit organization that exists to educate its audiences on the global impact of the rock and roll art form via the museum, as well as its education programs and library and archives.
The 27th annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is April 14, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. Leading up to the ceremony, the museum will host 10 days of special events, including tours of the newly redesigned museum, the unveiling of a major new exhibit, and the grand opening of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s new library and archives. The library and archives will be the world’s most comprehensive repository of written and audio-visual materials relating to the history of rock and roll.
The ceremony will again be open to the public. Individual tickets for the Induction Ceremony will go on sale to the public in December 2011.
Get it today: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: The First 25 Years by Holly George-Warren
About the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2012 Nominees
At different times over the past three decades, the Beastie Boys have been shaven-head punks, hip-hop bad boys, Seventies-funk students, political activists and style icons. Most important: they have had one of the richest, most important careers in hip-hop and rock, introducing rap to a huge new audience and then pushing the frontiers of what a hip-hop group could do. Their 1986 debut album Licensed To Ill – a supremely bratty, hard-punching, pitch-perfect mix of rap and hard rock – was hip-hop’s first number one album, and remains near the top of the Billboard catalog charts to this day. The single “(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party!),” became a teenage party anthem of the 1980’s; a generation of hip-hop fans memorized hits like “Brass Monkey” and “Paul Revere,” songs which are now part of the rap canon. Their follow-up, 1989’s Paul’s Boutique, was one of the high points of hip-hop’s golden age of sampling, piling hilarious, streetwise rhymes over everything from Loggins & Messina to the Ramones. In the 1990’s, they came full circle musically, picking up their instruments and bringing back hardcore punk and funk into their music repertoire. They recorded three classic albums, Check Your Head, Ill Communication and Hello Nasty, and smash hits like “Sabotage” and “Intergalactic.” Along the way, they’ve kept experimenting with what a hip-hop band can be: becoming the most politically active group of their generation with the Tibetan Freedom Concerts; recording classic videos; putting their fans behind the camera with their film Awesome I F**king Shot That; and recording three new studio albums in the last decade, 2004’s To The Five Boroughs, 2007’s The Mix-Up and 2011’s Hot Sauce Committee Part Two.
More black eyeliner has been spilt to the music of the Cure than any band in rock history. With pale, droopy-haired frontman-guitarist Robert Smith as their dark, brilliant tune-smith and unlikely sex-symbol, along with Lol Tolhurst and later Roger O’Donnell on keyboards, Porl Thompson on guitar, Simon Gallup on bass and Boris Williams on drums, they’ve challenged conventions while influencing two generations of emo and goth bands. Forming in Crawley, England during the New Wave late ‘70s, the band quickly developed a unique sound, mixing the skeletal punk of Wire and the darkest of the Doors to create alluring, textural art-pop. As the ‘80s progressed, Smith’s writing brightened as his craft sharpened and the Cure developed into one of the greatest singles bands of the decade with brilliant songs like “Let’s Go To Bed” and “Lovecats.” In the late ‘80s, they jumped from clubs to arenas and stadiums, winning the radio play they’d long deserved with 1987’s “Just Like Heaven,” (which took an “alternative” sound to the mainstream before people were even using the term alternative) and their 1992 smash “Friday I’m In Love.” They’ve had some hiatuses over the years and a changing line-up, but they always return to prove the durability of their sound and image. Not only is it impossible to imagine artists like Marilyn Manson or bands like My Chemical Romance without their example, it is hard to see how goth-tinged phenomena like the Twilight movies could have an audience if Robert Smith had not stamped his black-fingernailed imprint on rock and roll and pop culture.
The first British folk troubadour who truly captured the imaginations of early Beatles-era fans on both sides of the Atlantic, Donovan Leitch made the transition from a scruffy blue-jeaned busker into a brocaded hippie traveler on Trans Love Airways. As a folkie on the road with Gypsy Dave, Donovan became a Dylanesque visual presence on the BBC’s Ready Steady Go! starting in 1964, and released several classics: “Catch The Wind,” “Colours,” Buffy Ste.-Marie’s “Universal Soldier,” “To Try For The Sun” and more. That changed in 1966, as he came under the production arm of UK hitmaker Mickie Most, and was signed by Clive Davis to Epic Records in the states. Donovan ignited the psychedelic revolution virtually single-handedly when the iconic single “Sunshine Superman” was released that summer of ’66 (and the LP of the same name, with “Season Of The Witch”). His heady fusion of folk, blues and jazz expanded to include Indian music and the TM (transcendental meditation) movement. Donovan was at the center of the Beatles’ fabled pilgrimage to the Maharishi’s ashram in early ’68 (where, it is said, he taught guitar finger-picking techniques to John and Paul). Donovan’s final Top 40 hit with Most was “Goo Goo Barabajagal (Love Is Hot)” in the summer ’69, backed by the Jeff Beck Group. In the ’70s and ’80s, Donovan continued to record and tour sporadically, including songs for Franco Zeffirelli’s Brother Sun, Sister Moon (finally issued in 2004). During the 1990s, Rick Rubin (after working with Johnny Cash) produced Donovan’s Sutras. The 2008 documentary film, Sunshine Superman: The Journey Of Donovan is an essential overview of his career.
ERIC B. & RAKIM
When emcee extraordinaire Rakim and his right-hand man, producer Eric B., arrived on the scene in the mid-Eighties, they ushered in a revolution. Before them, acts like RUN DMC and LL Cool J were rap’s vanguard – rock-solid leading man types who built their songs around bold, direct declarations. Rakim dared to dream bigger. A sophisticated, cerebral character, he explored unheard-of levels of wordplay in his lyrics, packing each line with internal rhymes and complex syllable patterns that fans and fellow artists spent weeks analyzing. The two friends from Long Island were barely out of their teens when they recorded their debut single, “Eric B Is President” (1986). Eric B. looped up a hard-hitting, funky James Brown sample, setting the stage for Rakim to unspool three verses of inspired poetry: “I came in the door/I said it before/I never let the mic magnetize me no more/But it's biting me, fighting me, inviting me to rhyme...” That endlessly quotable song scored them a major-label deal in no time. They emphatically delivered on its promise with their first LP, Paid In Full (1987), and continued to sharpen their skills on Follow The Leader (1988), the tougher-sounding Let The Rhythm Hit ‘Em (1989) and their swan song, Don’t Sweat The Technique (1992). All four albums were hugely influential – it is difficult to imagine contemporary stars like Jay-Z and Eminem existing at all without them. Eric B. & Rakim parted ways after six years as a duo, but the body of work they created in that time remains monumental.
GUNS ‘N ROSES
Guns N’ Roses may have began as just another long-haired band trying to make it on the L.A. Sunset Strip club scene, but when they unleashed their debut LP Appetite For Destruction on the world in 1987 they instantly established themselves as one the most dynamic and explosive hard rock bands in history. In many ways, they became the Rolling Stones for a new generation. While their peers produced glossy songs that romanticized the party atmosphere of mid-1980s Los Angeles, frontman Axl Rose, guitarist Slash, drummer Steven Adler, rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin and bassist Duff McKagan wrote about the gritty realities of the scene, most memorably on their masterpiece “Welcome To The Jungle.” The massive single “Sweet Child O’ Mine” showed their gentler side, while “Mr. Brownstone” was a brilliant cautionary tale about the dangers of heroin. In 1991, inspired by Queen and Elton John, they released the highly ambitious Use Your Illusion albums on the same day. Epic singles “November Rain” and “Civil War” proved how quickly the band had evolved in a few short years, and they were soon packing stadiums all across the globe. When the tour wrapped in late 1993, the band paid tribute to their 1970s hard rock, punk and glam heroes by recording an album of covers called The Spaghetti Incident. The band took a long break starting in 1994, but in the new millennium Axl Rose brought a brand new line-up of Guns N’ Roses on the road and in 2008 they released their long-awaited album Chinese Democracy. In recent years, Axl has welcomed original members Duff McKagan and Izzy Stradlin onto his stage - but he remains committed to the new line-up and they remain a touring juggernaut.
With a mix of hard rock riffs and lush, driving harmonies, Heart emerged from the Pacific Northwest with one of the most original sounds of the 1970s. Behind Ann Wilson’s powerhouse voice—one of the best in rock—and Nancy Wilson’s percussive guitar playing, along with guitarist Roger Fisher, bassist Steve Fossen, guitarist/keyboard player Howard Leese and drummer Michael DeRosier, Heart recorded a series of albums that stand as the best mix of hard rock and folk rock of their era: Dreamboat Annie, Little Queen, Dog And Butterfly and Bebe Le Strange. All those records included hit singles that remain standards of rock radio: “Magic Man,” “Crazy On You,” “Heartless” and “Barracuda.” Over their long career, Heart has released six Top 10 albums and twenty Top 40 singles. The first women to front a hard rock band, Ann and Nancy Wilson were pioneers, claiming the stage in a way that inspired women to pick up an electric guitar or start a band. When MTV transformed mainstream rock in the 1980s, Heart adapted and recorded some of the signature songs of the era: “Alone,” “What About Love” and “These Dreams.” In the 1990s, they returned to their roots with Desire Walks On and The Road Home, and in the last decade, they’ve released two of the strongest albums of their careers: Jupiters Darling and Red Velvet Car. Live, they have always been one of the most exciting and consistent hard rock bands on the scene.
JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts created a consistent and potent mix of hard rock, glam, punk, metal and garage rock that sounds fresh and relevant in any era. Their biggest hit, “I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll” (#1 in 1982) is a rock classic – as pure and simple a statement about the music’s power as “Roll Over Beethoven.” “It’s a feeling thing, it’s emotion. You don’t think about it. If you start thinking rock ‘n’ roll, you’re f**ked. That’s when you’re homogenized. That’s when it’s boring. And that’s when it’s bullshit,” said Jett. From her days as a founding member of the all-female Runaways, Jett has made loud, hook-laden records that convey toughness and fun. Sporting black leather and a shag to create a sexy and androgynous look, Jett took over a role formerly reserved for male rockers. She formed the Blackhearts in 1982 and their classic four-piece sound muscled past the synthesizer sound that dominated the 1980s. Three of their albums—I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll, Album and Up Your Alley – reached the Top 20, behind songs written by Jett and manager Kenny Laguna. The band’s cover versions, from songs by Gary Glitter to Tommy James, were key to their success – they made connections between every era of rock and roll. They toured incessantly and can always be counted on for a powerhouse live show. In the 1990s, Jett’s no-nonsense attitude and guitar sound was a major influence on the riot grrrl movement, and she went on to produce Bikini Kill and record with L7. Her success inspired renewed interest in the Runaways, who were dismissed in their day as a gimmick. She was the executive producer for a feature film on the band, the Runaways, in 2010.
Guitarists ranging from Eric Clapton and Mike Bloomfield, to Peter Green, Jeff Beck and Carlos Santana have all acknowledged their debt to Freddie King (1934-1976), the “Texas Cannonball.” His ’60s classics, “Have You Ever Loved A Woman,” “Hide Away,” “You’ve Got To Love Her With A Feeling” and “The Stumble” are part of the DNA of modern electric blues. Born in Texas, young Freddie arrived in Chicago with his family in 1950, a perfect moment to start learning from Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Jimmy Rogers and all of the legendary post-war bluesmen. Over the next ten years, as the First Great blues revival took shape, Freddie developed a style all his own. In 1961, he miraculously charted six R&B Top 30 hits on the King/Federal label that were heard from coast-to-coast and were profoundly influential on both sides of the Atlantic. Three covers are indelibly etched: “Hideaway” featuring Clapton (on John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, the ‘Beano’ LP of 1966), “The Stumble” and “Someday, After Awhile (You’ll Be Sorry)” (both featuring Green, on Mayall’s A Hard Road, ’67) and “Have You Ever Loved A Woman” (a staple for Clapton ever since the first Derek & the Dominos album). Freddie King thrived on rock, jazz and blues scenes and at festivals starting in the late ’60s and ’70s, even getting name-checked by Grand Funk Railroad on “We’re An American Band” (“Up all night with Freddie King/ I got to tell you, poker’s his thing”). Right up through his death, all too soon at age 42, Freddie influenced Stevie Ray and Jimmie Vaughan, and the next generation of disciples who would take electric blues into the ’80s, ’90s and beyond.
Bronx-born singer, songwriter and pianist Laura Nyro (1947-1997) was still a teenager in 1966 when she recorded her debut album, and Peter, Paul & Mary cut “And When I Die.” At age 19, Laura played the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, which brought her to the attention of first-time manager David Geffen. He led her to Columbia, Laura’s record label for the next 25 years, starting with 1968’s iconic Eli And The Thirteenth Confession. Other artists scored hit after hit with her songs, led by the 5th Dimension’s “Stoned Soul Picnic” and “Sweet Blindness” in 1968 (then “Wedding Bell Blues” in ’69 and “Blowin' Away” in ’70). Over two consecutive weeks in October 1969, Blood, Sweat & Tears entered the Hot 100 with “And When I Die,” and Three Dog Night followed with “Eli’s Coming.” In 1970-71, Barbra Streisand charted three consecutive times with Laura Nyro songs, “Stoney End,” “Time And Love” and “Flim Flam Man.” Laura’s 1971 LP with Labelle, Gonna Take A Miracle, an entire program of R&B covers, produced in Philadelphia by Gamble & Huff, remains a classic four decades later. Elton John acclaimed her influence to Elvis Costello: “The soul, the passion, the out-and-out audacity of her rhythmic and melody changes was like nothing I’d ever heard before.” Laura’s tragic death of ovarian cancer at age 49 robbed popular music of one of its purest lights.
RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS
Formed in the sin-and-glamour capital of America – Hollywood, California – in 1983, the Red Hot Chili Peppers are one of the most flamboyant, commercially successful and musically influential bands of rock’s last quarter century. Singer Anthony Kiedis, bassist Michael Balzary a/k/a Flea, guitarist Hillel Slovak and drummer Jack Irons were high school pals who combined their passions for Jimi Hendrix, Seventies R&B and hardcore punk with sexual exuberance and local skateboard culture, immediately becoming famous for their outrageous (often near-naked) live shows and incendiary jamming. After Slovak’s death in 1988 and other personnel changes, the Chili Peppers – with guitar prodigy John Frusciante and drummer Chad Smith – broke through with 1991’s BloodSugarSexMagik, a multi-platinum fusion of metal and rap that was pivotal in bringing modern black street culture and music to the Nirvana generation. The Chili Peppers’ hits have run the melodic and emotional gamut from the fierce hip hop of BloodSugar’s “Give It Away” and the 1992 Number Two ballad “Under The Bridge,” one of the best pop songs ever written about the grip of addiction, to the heavy riffing of “Scar Tissue” and the gorgeous melancholy of “Otherside” on 1999’s Californication. The Chili Peppers’ 2006 two-CD set, Stadium Arcadium, went right to Number One, an ambitious collection that added Sixties-pop harmonies, blazing psychedelia and progressive-rock dynamics to their heavy California soul. After their longest hiatus ever, the Chili Peppers returned in the summer of 2011 with a new album, I’m With You (which debuted at Number One in 17 countries), and a new tour that will take them through 2013.
RUFUS WITH CHAKA KHAN
“I’m every woman,” Chaka Khan declared in one of her best-known songs. Of course, the artist born Yvette Marie Stevens is unique, a woman whose soulful, stylish vocals defy categorization. Funk queen, rock goddess, jazz singer, disco diva – Khan has been called, and transcended, all of the above. Yet it is her ability to capture, with effortless emotional authenticity, all aspects of the female – and human – experience that is most remarkable, and can make it too easy to take her for granted. Has any singer conveyed lust more joyfully or infectiously than Khan did on “Sweet Thing,” by Rufus, the groundbreaking Chicago band she joined as a teenager? Khan’s distinct blend of raw sensuality and elegance, ferocity and tenderness helped define that group’s sound in the mid-to-late ‘70s, yielding singles that proved as irresistible to pop fans as they did to R&B purists (not to mention one of the most exhilarating live albums ever released, 1983’s Stompin’ At The Savoy). She then became one of the few band vocalists, male or female, to launch an even more high-profile solo career, collaborating with countless giants – Stevie Wonder, Steve Winwood, Ray Charles and Quincy Jones, to name just a few – and influencing pop stars and critical favorites from Mary J. Blige to Ledisi. (It is impossible to imagine the contemporary hip-hop-soul diva without Khan’s earthy, rhythmically savvy template.) 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 & roll, grit and grace can co-exist harmoniously.
THE SMALL FACES/THE FACES
Founded in London in 1965, the Small Faces were two great bands in one: visionary mods who were creative peers and commercial equals of the Beatles, the Who and the Rolling Stones, then reborn in the early Seventies with a shortened name and a thrilling inventive hard-rock sound. Together, the Small Faces and Faces have been a lasting inspiration on artists like the Black Crowes, the Jam’s Paul Weller, the Replacements and Oasis. Named for their diminutive stature and mod slang for a snappy dresser, bassist Ronnie Lane, organist Ian McLagan, drummer Kenney Jones and singer Steve Marriott recorded an explosive series of U.K. hit singles and classic albums, mostly written by Marriott and Lane, that set the standard for Sixties soul-inflected pop and English psychedelic romanticism. Marriott’s Cockney-Otis Redding wail was a profound influence on heavy-rock singers like Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant. When Marriott quit in early 1969, Lane, Jones and McLagan recruited singer Rod Stewart and guitarist Ron Wood, both from the Jeff Beck Group. Fusing R&B, country roots and Fifties rock, the Faces made joyful roots music with arena muscle, cutting their own immortal body of work (1972’s “Stay With Me,” Lane’s elegiac gem “Ooh La La”) while conquering America with boozy-brother showmanship. The Faces broke up in 1975 when Stewart went solo full-time and Wood joined the Stones. (Lane died in 1997.) But in their exuberance and pioneering spirit, the Small Faces and the Faces have always been one band: brilliant, unprecedented and as influential as ever.
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 despite their Motor City origins. Before settling into the classic five-man lineup of the late Billy Henderson, Pervis Jackson, and lead singer Philippé Wynne, and surviving members Henry Fambrough and Bobbie Smith, 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 #1 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, #1 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 and Bobbie Smith leading the group today is one of the eternal joys of classic R&B.
Raised on gospel music in the church, Boston’s LaDonna Andrea Gaines was performing in the European tour of Hair in the early ’70s, when she decided to settle in Germany. In 1975, she began a long-term association with Munich songwriters-producers Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte. They heard her lyric “love to love you baby” and, at the request of Casablanca Records president Neil Bogart, turned it into a 17-minute opus of orgasmic delight (Donna said she was evoking Marilyn Monroe). The song was Summer’s U.S. chart debut and first of nineteen #1 Dance hits between ’75 and 2008 (second only to Madonna). Summer made chart history in 1978-80, as the only artist who ever had three consecutive double-LPs hit #1: Live And More, Bad Girls and On The Radio. She was also the first female artist with four #1 singles in a 13-month period: “MacArthur Park,” “Hot Stuff,” “Bad Girls” and “No More Tears” (with Barbra Streisand). Her first U.S.-recorded LP, 1982’s self-titled Donna Summer, produced by Quincy Jones, featured Bruce Springsteen, Roy Bittan and many American rockers. “She Works Hard For The Money” kept Donna on top in 1983, followed by the Top 10 “This Time I Know It’s For Real” in ’89. As recently as 2009-2010, she had #1 U.S. Dance Club hits with “I’m A Fire,” “Stamp Your Feet” and “Fame (The Game).” Endless covers and sampling of her music by producers and DJs have kept the five-time Grammy Award-winning Queen Of Disco’s pioneering body of work on the front-line.
War starts with its six African-American founding members: the late Papa Dee Allen and Charles Miller, survivors Harold Brown, B.B. Dickerson, Lonnie Jordan and Howard Scott. They were gigging around L.A. for nearly a decade (first as the Creators, later as Nightshift) before hooking up with Eric Burdon (ex-Animals) and Danish harmonica player, Lee Oskar in 1969. Burdon and producer-manager, Jerry Goldstein, named them War and they backed it up with a steamy Afro-Latin R&B groove on their debut hit “Spill The Wine.” The partnership with Burdon lasted less than two years, as each went their own way in 1971. It was the start of a long string of Top 10 pop/R&B crossover hits that established War’s status through the decade – “Slippin’ Into Darkness,” “The World Is A Ghetto,” “The Cisco Kid,” “Why Can’t We Be Friends?,” “Low Rider” and “Summer” – always with a timely social message grounded by their distinctively breezy Southern California vibe. As the ’80s arrived, rappers and DJs (from Beastie Boys and 2Pac to Ice-T and De La Soul) discovered innumerable samples waiting to be found in War’s music (cf. Rap Declares War). Numerous personnel shifts altered the lineup in the ’80s and ’90s, but War (with Goldstein’s lifelong tutelage) has continued to please loyal fans with their unique fusion of rock, R&B, Caribbean and Afro-Latin flavors. In 2008, War released their first new album recording in 14 years, Greatest Hits Live.