Photo courtesy of Loudwire: Pearl Jam was one of this year’s inductees.
On December 20, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame finally announced their 2017 Hall of Fame inductees. This year’s class is comprised of Pearl Jam, Tupac Shakur, Joan Baez, Yes, ELO, Nile Rodgers and Journey.
Every year the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame chooses its class from a ballot process voted on by living inductees to the Hall, members of the music industry and other artists. Since 2012, fans also collectively were provided a ballot to vote for their top five artists. An artist is only eligible to be inducted 25 years after their first release. This would make Pearl Jam and Tupac first ballot hall of famers, however, the rest of the inductees have been around for a much longer time. Most have been nominated more than once.
Founded in Seattle, Washington, Pearl Jam became a great success getting their roots from classic rock and metal. Pearl Jam’s iconic sound revolves around their three guitarists, creating a layered and expansive sound that is acclaimed by both musicians and critics. Their debut album, Ten, was wildly successful, selling more than 13 million copies in the US. One of the songs off of Ten, “Alive,” is considered one of the best songs of the decade.
The other first ballot hall of famer is none other than Tupac Shakur, commonly styled as “2Pac”. Although hip-hop artists do not have a significant presence in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 2Pac’s influence was significant enough to grant him a spot in the hall.
Following the induction of NWA in last year’s 2016 ceremony, Tupac Shakur was not only inspired by artists such as Ice Cube and Dr. Dre, but also came to rival their accomplishments in the world of gangster rap. Inspiring artists such as Eminem and Kendrick Lamar, Tupac gave gangster rap a whole new meaning, while selling over 75 million records.
Tupac became an iconic figure with the album 2Pacalypse Now, which brought him a massive new fan base. His hit song from the album, “California Love,” went to number one on the charts. Tupac, unfortunately, was shot to death in 1996. However, his music moved a whole generation and gave a voice to groups of underprivileged people in the US.
YES is another band that has made their way into the Rock Hall of Fame this year. Songs such as “I’ve Seen All Good People” rocked the 70’s along with “Roundabout.” Their progressive rock style combines classic rock with blues, jazz, and pop, creating an amazing and unique sound. YES continued to tour during the 80’s with hit songs like, “Owner of a Lonely Heart” and maintained their style. The band’s determination has continued throughout the years and continues today surpassing many other influential bands longevity-wise.
Joan Baez beat other nominees such as The Cars and Janet Jackson to land a spot in the 2017 inductee class. Her influence went as far as the civil rights movement during the 60’s, where her rendition of “We Shall Overcome” was played during rallies. She continued to create gold albums in the 70’s, with songs such as “Diamonds & Rust” and her cover of “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.” She was an icon who not only made inspiring music, but also fought for human rights, which helped her land a spot in this year’s class.
The band ELO (Electric Light Orchestra) possessed a style similar to the Beatles and had a certain sound that got them a spot alongside the other inductees. Mixing in an orchestra to many of their songs, their creativity gave the band popularity and much success. Their album, Eldorado, went gold and the band later produced more top hit songs such as “Evil Women” and “Telephone Line.” Later, the band released Out of the Blue, an album that went multi-platinum and had other hit songs like “Turn to Stone.” Having 20 top hits in the US and twenty six top hits in the UK, ELO was popular everywhere and has a style like no other.
The last, but certainly not least, performer inducted into the hall of fame is Journey. One of the most popular bands during the 70’s and 80’s, one could ask what took them so long to enter the Hall of Fame. Coming out of San Francisco, Journey, joined with vocalist, Steve Perry to become one of the most iconic rock bands of all time. Steve Perry’s voice became one of the most recognizable rock vocals of the 1980’s. They conquered the 80’s with their album Escape featuring the classic song, “Don’t Stop Believing.” Journey has had tons of other popular hits, including “Faithfully,” “Send Her My Love,” “Wheel in the Sky,” and “Any Way You Want It.”
Nile Rodgers received this year’s Award for Musical Excellence. He has helped artists such as INXS, David Bowie, Duran Duran, and was the founder of the funk band Chic. He released some solo work during the 90’s and continues with music today. His latest endeavor was with Daft Punk, providing guitar parts on their 2013 album, Random Access Memories.
The induction ceremony is to take place on Aug. 27, at the Barclays Center. The inductees will celebrate with former inductees, who will welcome them into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
By Noah Freedman