Los Angeles Times
Randy Newman, Public Enemy, N.W.A, Donna Summer and — to the delight of progressive rock fans around the world — Rush are among the names on the final nominees list for 2013 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which for the first time will be announced at a ceremony to be held next year in Los Angeles.
Joining them are the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Chic, Deep Purple, Heart, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Albert King, Kraftwerk, the Marvelettes, the Meters and Procol Harum.
The broad diversity of music styles represented by this year’s round of nominees was noted by Joel Peresman, president and chief executive of the Rock Hall Foundation, in announcing the names.
“The definition of ‘rock and roll’ means different things to different people, but as broad as the classifications may be, they all share a common love of the music,” Peresman said in a statement. “This year we again proudly put forth a fantastic array of groups and artists that span the entire genre that is ‘rock and roll.’”
This year’s round of inductions could remedy some longstanding gripes about the Hall’s membership.
Newman has been long overlooked despite being one of the most critically acclaimed songwriters of the rock era. “I’m already bitter that I’m not in it,” he told the Los Angeles Times mockingly in 1995. “It’s a Hall of Shame.”
Progressive-rock fans have long (and loudly) bemoaned the absence of Rush, Yes, Emerson, Lake & Palmer and other bands that specialized in expanding the structures of the rock song form in the 1970s and since. Genesis is the only band considered part of the prog-rock community to be included in the Hall of Fame, but its presence has as much to do with the breakout solo successes of members Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins as to its own legacy.
Likewise, disco fans have lobbied heavily for the inclusion of Summer into the Rock Hall, an effort that picked up the support of Elton John earlier this year after she was again among the nominees who didn’t make the final cut.
Upon her death in May, John said, “That she has never been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a total disgrace, especially when I see the second-rate talent that has been inducted.” John famously campaigned successfully to get his friend and piano-playing influence Leon Russell inducted last year. Summer’s death could make some voters more inclined to vote in her favor this year, and Deep Purple also has a posthumous factor at work this year — founding member Jon Lord died in July.
Inducting N.W.A or Public Enemy, or both, would bolster hip-hop’s representation at the Hall. To date, the Beastie Boys, Run D.M.C. and Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five are the only rap acts to be inducted. Compton, Calif.’s N.W.A is the first West Coast rap act to be nominated.
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