Rock ‘n’ roll Hall of Fame announces nominees for induction

Hall of Fame offers fans an opportunity to officially participate in the induction selection process for eligible nominees who released their first recording no later than 1991 The nominees for the 2017 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame were announced on Oct. 18. Nineteen artists are being considered for induction, which will take place in the spring at the Barclays Center. While some performers are being nominated for the first time, a few repeat nominees have appeared on the ballot in hopes of finally being enshrined alongside legends like The Beatles, Elvis Presley and Led Zeppelin. One of the most highly requested bands for induction is the San Francisco-based band Journey.

From 1980 to 1986, the band released some of the most iconic songs of the 1980s, including classics like “Anyway You Want It,” “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)” and one of the most downloaded songs in digital music history, “Don’t Stop Believin’.” Journey has been eligible for induction since 2000, but the band was consistently ignored by the Hall of Fame. When it comes to the question of which members would be inducted, the Hall of Fame is primarily using the lineup that recorded the albums Escape, Frontiers and Trial By Fire. That lineup consists of lead singer Steve Perry, guitarist Neal Schon, bass guitarist Ross Valory, keyboardist and rhythm guitarist Jonathan Cain and drummer Steve Smith.

Joining alongside them will be two of the band’s founding members, original drummer Aynsley Dunbar and original lead vocalist, keyboardist and Hammond organist Gregg Rolie. Rolie also happens to be the only member in Journey to already be in the Hall of Fame. He was inducted in 1999 for performing the same duties as part of Santana’s classic lineup. No members from 1998 onward will be inducted, including their current singer Arnel Pineda. The biggest question of a possible Journey induction involves Perry, as people are wondering whether he will perform with the band for a couple of songs or he will simply give an acceptance speech and the current lineup will perform instead, similar to Deep Purple’s induction earlier this year.

For all of Journey’s success, a group that superseded the band in terms of hits is also being nominated for the first time. The Electric Light Orchestra was formed by avant-garde pop artist Roy Wood and multi-instrumentalist and famed producer Jeff Lynne. Between 1974 and 1986, the band released 20 hit singles in the United States, including classics like “Don’t Bring Me Down,” “Evil Woman” and “Mr. Blue Sky.” In lieu of the band’s successful 2015 comeback album Alone In the Universe and its equally popular tour, the nomination could be seen as the apex of Lynne’s recent winning streak.

In the grand scheme of things, especially when it comes to Lynne’s efforts as a producer, ELO’s induction is definitely warranted. While the current iteration of ELO could be seen as a glorified solo effort, the induction will see Lynne reuniting with Wood and two of his former bandmates, keyboardist Richard Tandy and estranged original drummer Bev Bevan. Alternative rock has dominated the ballot this year; nominees for the Hall of Fame include Bad Brains, Depeche Mode and Jane’s Addiction. Pearl Jam is definitely the biggest nominee in this genre, with 26 years in the public eye and 60 million records sold worldwide.

If one follows the track record of nomination and induction, it is safe to say that Eddie Vedder and company will definitely get an easy vote into the Hall of Fame. Joining Vedder is lead guitarist Mike McCready, rhythm guitarist Stone Gossard, bass guitarist Jeff Ament, current drummer Matt Cameron and original drummer Dave Krusen, Tupac Shakur’s nomination is raising the most eyebrows. The inclusion of rap and hip hop in the Hall of Fame has been a source of controversy, beginning with a highly criticized induction of Grandmaster Flash in 2007.

While it is daft to ignore the massive impact that Shakur has left on music and pop culture, one cannot help but feel that the Hall of Fame should hold off on inducting him for now. It needs to focus on inducting the copious amounts of bands and artists that have yet to even be nominated. A few nominees from previous years have reappeared on this year’s ballot. Their names include the pioneering German electronica group Kraftwerk, the American new wave band The Cars and the funk/disco phenomenon Chic. While some were previously nominated at least once, others have been nominated multiple times in the past decades.

Of all the returning bands, one in particular has fans talking. When it comes to progressive rock, the Hall of Fame has always turned a blind eye to the genre. As of 2016, only three progressive bands have been inducted: Genesis, Pink Floyd and Rush. Among the most requested bands, many of them are progressive. Names like King Crimson, The Moody Blues and Emerson, Lake and Palmer have popped up in discussion. One name that has been receiving a lot of fan support in the last few years was the long running progressive mainstay Yes. Eligible for induction since 1994, the band has long been left out of the Hall of Fame. In 2014, the band finally receive its first nomination.

Unfortunately, the band lost its original bass guitarist Chris Squire to leukemia after losing its first nomination. This year marks the band’s third nomination and, judging by the numbers in the fan poll, it looks like they might actually have a strong chance of finally getting inducted. As for who is getting in, the lineup in the band’s controversial 1991 album Union will be inducted. This includes original vocalist Jon Anderson, guitarists Steve Howe and Trevor Rabin, keyboardists Tony Kaye and Rick Wakeman, drummers Alan White, Bill Bruford and Squire. Similar to Journey, no band members who were part of the band after Union will be inducted. Strangely enough, original guitarist Peter Banks, one time keyboardist Patrick Moraz and second lead singer and three-time band producer Trevor Horn have also been snubbed.

Like Journey, there is a lot of speculation toward who will perform. Anderson, who has lobbied long and hard for induction, has stated that he would be more than willing to put aside his frustrations with Howe to perform together on stage. Whether or not Howe will allow this remains to be seen. But Yes’ induction could blow the doors wide open for other progressive bands to finally receive the accolades they have longed deserved from the industry.

Compared to previous years, this year’s nomination slate is among the most diverse and elaborate that the Hall of Fame has to offer. Fans have the ability to vote for their picks until midnight on Dec. 7. The inductees will be announced shortly after the poll closes.

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