The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s nominees this year show that the Cleveland music shrine is less of a testament to one genre than to popular music as a whole. The most notable acts of the bunch are Kraftwerk and Rush, along with two forefathers of hip hop, NWA and Public Enemy.
The nomination class of 2013 is rounded out by Albert King, Chic, Deep Purple, Heart, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, the Marvelettes, the Meters, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Randy Newman and Procol Harum, according to the Guardian.
Fans will be able to vote for their favorite artists out of the 15 nominees. The top five picks will be revealed in December and be inducted on April 18 in Los Angeles. HBO will broadcast the inductions at a date that has not yet been released.
Acts are eligible for nomination 25 years after the release of their first record. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s nomination process has been criticized since the practice began in 1986, in part because of the perceived malleability of the requirements and the large influence a few people – particularly Jann Wenner, the founder of Rolling stone magazine – have over the entire process.
An entire website, NotInHallOfFame.com, is devoted to the cause of unrecognized artists that have greatly contributed to music over the past decades. Those detractors will almost certainly point out the conspicuous absence of the Cure on this year’s ballot but can take solace in the fact that Rush has been nominated. The Canadian prog-rockers have regularly sold out arenas and sold millions of albums while enduring the scorn of snobby music critics since the group’s inception.
“Criteria include the influence and significance of the artists' contributions to the development and perpetuation of rock'n'roll,” writes the Rock Hall’s website.
NWA and Public Enemy are two of the year’s favorites to enter the Hall of Fame in 2013, joining fellow influential hip hop artists Run DMC (inducted in 2009) and the Beastie Boys (2012). Although the artists are most definitely not rock and rollers, their music inspired an entire generation of artists to start their own rap careers and other artists to incorporate hip hop into a sound that wasn’t there before. Today, hip hop is arguably the most popular genre of music.
Music fans of today will almost certainly see Tupac Shakur, the Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z and a slew of others be enshrined in Cleveland in coming years. Without the aggressive NWA and socially conscious Public Enemy, those three in particular could never have become the musical forces they did.
Kraftwerk – seen by critics as the godfather of electro rock – also are on the shortlist for 2013. The German band used synthesizers almost exclusively and was a clear influence on everyone from the Talking Heads to MGMT.