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The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced its nominees for the Class of 2013 today, so let the debate begin: Who should have made or missed the cut? Which name comes as the biggest surprise, and who can claim the much-delayed “duh”?
Among the wildly diverse list, is it longtime snub-ees Deep Purple and Rush being nominated for the first time or rap icons N.W.A and Public Enemy, for not only making the 2013 ballot but being the only acts to do so in their first year of eligibility?
Meanwhile, the Cleveland-based Rock Hall also said late Wednesday that next year’s induction ceremony will return to Los Angeles for the first time in two decades.
But let’s start with rest of the spectrum-spanning list of nominees: The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Chic, Heart, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Albert King, Kraftwerk, The Marvelettes, The Meters, Randy Newman, Procol Harum and Donna Summer.
As for artists that leap out of the pack, two polar-opposite acts made the ballot for just the second time: Iconoclastic rocker-cum-Disney ditty-meister Newman (first nommed in 2005) and — in a likely nod/wink to the recent EDM explosion in the U.S. — German electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk will vie for plaque-dom for the first time since 2003.
But for those who don’t follow the annual circus that is the Rock Hall noms and inductions, the inclusion of Deep Purple and Rush probably is a head-scratcher: “You mean, they aren’t already in?”
Nope. Neither had even been nominated.
British behemoth Deep Purple might have received some sentimental votes after the death of keyboardist, songwriter and co-founder Jon Lord in July. As for Rush, often called the world’s most popular cult band despite amassing two dozen gold or platinum albums, its long-overdue inclusion is a bone-toss to keep the Canadian trio’s rabid fans from launching a mulleted mutiny. The bands have been eligible for the Rock Hall since 1993 and 1998, respectively.
To be eligible for nominations, acts must have released their first single or album no later than 1987. A group of 600 artists, music historians and industry members will choose 2013’s inductees.
The 28th annual Rock and Rock Hall of Fame induction ceremony is set for April 18 at the Nokia Theatre in the LA Live complex. Los Angeles-based Newman and N.W.A might be sentimental hometown favorites for enshrinement as the show makes its first trip back to the West Coast since 1993, having done time in New York and Cleveland. The ceremony will be open to the public. Tickets will go on sale early next year.
Said Tim Leiweke, president and CEO of LA Live owner AEG, “We are honored to partner with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to bring the induction ceremony back to Los Angeles and Nokia Theatre to introduce this year’s inductees in the heart of the music industry.”
HBO will televise the ceremony on an unspecified date.
In the very-veteran category, King — who died in 1992 — will try to follow 2012 inductee and fellow blues guitar legend Freddie King into the Hall. Venerable New Orleans funksters The Meters return to the noms ballot for the first time in 16 years. Prog forebears Procol Harum of “A Whiter Shade of Pale” fame get their first nom in after more than two decades of eligibility. The Marvellettes, the Motown girl group that tops the charts with its first hit, “Please Mr. Postman,” also get their first nom, and Chicago blues rockers The Paul Butterfield Blues Band get their second.
Acts on last year’s ballot who missed the 2013 cut are The Cure, Eric B. & Rakim, Rufus with Chaka Khan, The Spinners and War.
Aside from N.W.A and Public Enemy, the 1980s fared particularly poorly in the latest nominees list. Missing along with The Cure are such Reagan-era radio faves as Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, New Order, The Smiths, INXS and XTC. Also on the outside looking in, as always, is the metal genre — pop, hair or hard: No Ronnie James Dio, Def Leppard, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, The Scorpions, Motley Crue, Bon Jovi or Slayer.
Also missing are such ’80s-rooted alt-rock and punk acts as Jane’s Addiction, X, The Replacements and Sonic Youth.
And as Deep Purple and Rush crack the list for the first time, aficionados of classic rock continue to bemoan the lack of love for such never-nominated acts as The Cars, Bad Company, Cheap Trick, Dire Straits, The Steve Miller Band, Jethro Tull, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Thin Lizzy, Yes, The Doobie Brothers, The Moody Blues, Steppenwolf, Journey and Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Kiss was nominated once, in 2010.
Among the acts that will be eligible for the first time in 2014 are Nirvana, Traveling Wilburys, Morrissey, Melissa Etheridge, Phish and The Offspring.
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