Rock Hall of Fame inductees unveiled

ABBA, Genesis, the Stooges in next class

Well, this certainly is a disparate crop.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Class of 2010 is all over the musical map, celebrating snarling punk (the Stooges), pure pop (ABBA), Invasion-era Britpop (the Hollies), prog-cum-pop rock (Genesis) and pioneering reggae (Jimmy Cliff).

And the list of nonperformer inductees includes a name slightly familiar in Hollywood: Asylum Records and Geffen Records founder David Geffen.

Protopunks the Stooges careened out of Michigan in the late 1960s as anti-hippies. Fronted by the charismatic and unpredictable Iggy Pop, the band released three albums from 1969-73; none hit the Billboard 200, but all three rank in the top 200 of Rolling Stone’s list of the greatest albums of all time.

The inclusion of sugary Swedish quartet ABBA in the hall is bound to rile purists. The group had a slew of pop hits during the ’70s, including the ubiquitous No. 1 single “Dancing Queen.” Its popularity was rekindled in recent years by the dizzying success of “Mamma Mia!” — the stage musical named after one of the band’s hits that became an international sensation and was turned into a feature film that grossed more than $600 million worldwide.

The Hollies, the harmonizing British Invasion group led by Graham Nash and named after Buddy Holly, enjoyed huge success in the U.K. and had a half-dozen top 10 hits stateside from 1966-74. The group’s biggest U.S. hit was “Long Cool Woman (in a Black Dress),” a melding of film noir lyrics and Creedence Clearwater Revival sound that reached No. 2.

English group Genesis began as an art rock collective in the late ’60s and morphed into one of the biggest pop-rock acts of the ’80s. The band’s sound took a decidedly commercial turn with the 1975 exit of original frontman Peter Gabriel. With drummer Phil Collins handling lead vocals, the group scored seven consecutive top 15 albums in the U.S., including a run of a half-dozen top 5 singles in a row. Looking at its first several albums, Genesis can be called the first prog-rock band named to the hall.

Jamaica native Cliff brought international attention to the island’s music with the soundtrack to the 1972 movie “The Harder They Come,” in which he also starred. He joins late countryman Bob Marley as the only reggae acts in the hall.

Also elected as nonperformers are six Brill Building songwriters responsible for numerous timeless hits: the husband-and-wife teams of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil (“You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ ”) and Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich (“Be My Baby”), along with Otis Blackwell (“Don’t Be Cruel”), Jesse Stone (“Shake, Rattle and Roll”) and Mort Shuman (“Viva Las Vegas”). Shuman’s songwriting partner Doc Pomus was inducted in 1992.

This year’s performer nominees had to release their first single no later than 1984. Seven nominees didn’t make the cut: Darlene Love, Donna Summer, Kiss, Laura Nyro, LL Cool J, Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Chantels.

The Rock Hall inductees will be honored March 15 during a ceremony at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York.
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