Fans Can Officially Cast Their Vote For 2017 Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Inductees
The nominees for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2017 are: Bad Brains, Chaka Khan, Chic, Depeche Mode, Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), J. Geils Band, Jane’s Addiction, Janet Jackson, Joan Baez, Joe Tex, Journey, Kraftwerk, MC5, Pearl Jam, Steppenwolf, The Cars, The Zombies, Tupac Shakur and Yes.
Nominees are on the ballot for the first time include Bad Brains, Depeche Mode, Electric Light Orchestra, Jane’s Addiction, Joan Baez, Journey, Pearl Jam, Steppenwolf, and Tupac Shakur. Pearl Jam and Tupac Shakur became eligible for nomination this year.
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
To be eligible for nomination, an individual artist or band must have released its first single or album at least 25 years prior to the year of nomination. The 2017 Nominees had to release their first recording no later than 1991.
All inductees are ultimately represented in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, the nonprofit organization that tells the story of rock and roll’s global impact via special exhibits, educational programs and its library and archives.
Jeff Lynne of Electric Light Orchestra
ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA, OR MORE POPULARLY KNOWN AS ELO, WERE FORMED IN BIRMINGHAM ENGLAND IN 1970 WHEN JEFF LYNNE AND ROY WOOD, MEMBERS OF THE MOVE, HAD THE VISION TO START A NEW PROJECT THAT WOULD CREATE MODERN ROCK AND POP SONGS WITH CLASSICAL OVERTONES.
Joined by fellow Move member Bev Bevan, their mission was clear – to pick up where the Beatles left off and carry the torch. And they did just that. Their first single “10538 Overture,” released in 1972, is an unabashed homage to the Beatles, a heavily orchestrated psychedelic gem that sounded like their musical answer to “I Am The Walrus.” Roy Wood left ELO later that year, leaving Lynne as the band’s sole creative force, and he took them to both creative and commercial heights. Their fourth album Eldorado, A Symphony, a concept record about a daydreamer, yielded their first US top 10 single “Can’t Get It Out Of My Head” and became the band’s first gold album. The two albums that followed produced four top 20 hits – “Evil Woman,” “Strange Magic,” “Livin’ Thing” and “Telephone Line” – that are all still classic rock radio mainstays. Their next album was their most ambitious yet, the multi-platinum selling double LP Out Of The Blue, that featured three more hit singles, including the ever popular “Mr. Blue Sky,” and a grandiose tour highlighted by the now famous spaceship stage complete with fog machines and laser displays that made ELO a must-see concert. All told, ELO has sold over 50 million records worldwide and between 1972 and 1986, Jeff Lynne wrote and produced twenty-six Top 40 hits in the UK and twenty in the US. Their legacy is still growing and their success continues today, with Jeff Lynne’s ELO selling out huge shows around the world, and their timeless songs have become staples for music fans of all generations. John Lennon once famously referred to the band as “sons of the Beatles,” but more than 40 years later, it is clear that ELO have carved out their own unique place in rock history.
Selected discography: “10538 Overture,” No Answer (1971) ● “Can’t Get It Out Of My Head,” Eldorado, A Symphony (1974) ● “Evil Woman,” “Strange Magic,” Face The Music (1975) ● “Livin’ Thing,” “Telephone Line,” A New World Record (1976) ● “Turn To Stone,” “Sweet Talkin’ Woman,” “Mr. Blue Sky,” Out Of The Blue (1977) ● “Don’t Bring Me Down,” Discovery (1979)
The J. Geils Band
THOSE WHO KNOW THE J. GEILS BAND ONLY FOR THEIR MTV ERA HITS (“LOVE STINKS,” “CENTERFOLD,” “FREEZE FRAME”) DON’T KNOW THE J. GEILS BAND.
During the long years between the demise of the Butterfield Blues Band and Mitch Ryder’s Detroit Wheels and the rise of Bruce Springsteen, Bob Seger and Tom Petty, the J. Geils Band kept alive a joyful and very American brand of R&B-based rock and roll.
Led by Jerome Geils’ blues guitar and Magic Dick’s virtuoso harp, the bedrock rhythm of bassist Danny Klein and drummer Stephen Jo Bladd, keyboard player/composer Seth Justman, and the inexhaustible Peter Wolf up front, Geils was a party band with heart, brains and a wide range of styles – from deep blues (“Serve You Right To Suffer”) to soul (“Looking For A Love”), doo-wop (“I Do”) and funk (“Flame Thrower”). The band could write a country song so convincing it was covered by Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris (“Cry One More Time”) and even came up with the first U.S. reggae hit (“Give It To Me”). With 1977’s Monkey Island and 1978’s Sanctuary the bad boys from Boston explored darker themes before going for a streamlined, radio-friendly sound with Love Stinks (1980) and Freeze Frame (1981), which hit number one on both the U.S. singles and album charts. Shortly after that, the band broke up. They put in fifteen years of hard work. They went out on top.
Selected discography: “Hard Drivin’ Man,” “Homework,” “First I Look At The Purse,” The J. Geils Band (1970) • “Looking For A Love,” “Cry One More Time,” The Morning After (1971) • Full House (Live) (1972) • “Give It To Me,” “Southside Shuffle,” “Houseparty,” Bloodshot, Ladies Invited (1973) • “Must Of Got Lost,” “Detroit Breakdown,” Nightmares… (1974) • “Love-Itis,” Hotline (1975) • “Where Did Our Love Go,” Blow Your Face Out (Live) (1976) • “Surrender,” Monkey Island (1977) • “One Last Kiss,” Sanctuary (1978) • Love Stinks (1980) • “Centerfold,” Freeze-Frame (1981)
Chaka Khan, 2017 nominee for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. (Image courtesy of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)
CHAKA KHAN (BORN YVETTE STEVENS IN CHICAGO) CAME TO PROMINENCE WITH THE INNOVATIVE FUNK/ROCK GROUP RUFUS IN THE 1970S. AT A TIME WHEN AUDIENCES FOR ROCK AND SOUL WERE SPLITTING INTO DIFFERENT CAMPS, KHAN’S VOICE REPRESENTED THE RACIAL AND SOCIAL INTEGRATION AT THE HEART OF ROCK AND ROLL.
With her incredible vocal range and mastery of dynamics, Khan has recorded durable and powerful music through four decades. Rufus recorded several excellent albums and had a long run of hits. She broke out on her own in 1978 with Ashford & Simpson’s “I’m Every Woman,” where she successfully mixed rock and disco. She continued to master the rhythms of every era from rock to funk to hip hop. Throughout her career, Khan has also showcased her jazz roots on albums like Echoes Of An Era (1982). Her finest solo album, 1984’s I Feel For You, was a creative and exciting mix of funk, synth dance rhythms and hip hop on Prince’s title track and the stunning ballad “Through The Fire.” And she has remained one of the most prolific and eclectic singers around, covering songbook standards and soul classics to equal acclaim and earning the 2008 Grammy for best R&B album with Funk This. Few stars offer such convincing proof that in rock and roll, grit and grace can co-exist harmoniously.
CHIC’S FOUNDING PARTNERSHIP CONSISTED OF SONGWRITER-PRODUCER-GUITARIST NILE RODGERS AND BASSIST BERNARD EDWARDS (1952-1996), ABETTED BY FUTURE POWER STATION DRUMMER TONY THOMPSON (1954-2003). THEY RESCUED DISCO IN 1977 WITH A COMBINATION OF GROOVE, SOUL AND DISTINCTLY NEW YORK CITY STUDIO SMARTS.
Rodgers’ chopping rhythm guitar alongside Edwards’ deft bass lines were the perfect counterpart to melodic arrangements with their two female vocalists Alfa Anderson and Norma Jean Wright (replaced by Luci Martin).
Out-of-the-box chart smashes “Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah),” the Number One “Le Freak” and Number One “Good Times” (ranked on Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Singles Of All Time”) made Chic the preeminent disco band – emphasis on the word ‘band’ – of the late 70s. Their music also extended disco’s tenure at a critical moment, as hip-hop (and later in the 80s, new jack swing) began to take the stage.
Over the years, artists such as Sugar Hill Gang and Diddy have turned to Chic for beats and samples: “Good Times” has been checked everywhere from “Rapper’s Delight” and Blondie’s “Rapture,” to Queen’s “Another One Bites The Dust.” Rodgers and Edwards followed their five years in Chic with careers as top-flight producers for an A-list of megastars. Under Rodgers’ leadership, Chic has continued to tour, releasing live performances of its shows in Japan and Amsterdam.
HOW DOES ANY BAND REMAIN AT THE CUTTING EDGE FOR OVER THREE DECADES?
Depeche Mode have spent their long and unique career exploring new realms of postpunk, electronic textures and futuristic industrial sounds, with one of the all-time charismatic frontmen in Dave Gahan and a songwriting legend in Martin Gore.
Depeche Mode burst from the U.K. town of Basildon in 1981 with the New Romantic synth-blast of Speak And Spell, as tunesmith Vince Clarke brought his sense of pop classicism to the dance floor in hits like “Just Can’t Get Enough” and “Dreaming Of Me.” When Clarke left the group (to make inventive records with his groups Yaz and Erasure), Gore stepped up to become one of his generation’s most influential songwriters, with his own black-leather blend of existential despair, erotic kink, political bite and sly wit. Depeche Mode built a diehard cult – and helped invent the goth subculture – with groundbreaking hits like “Master And Servant” (1985), “Stripped” (1986), “A Question Of Lust” (1986) and “Never Let Me Down Again” (1987) – while their electro reboot of “Route 66” showed off their wry take on the R&B verities. Black Celebration (1986) and Music For The Masses (1987) led to Depeche Mode’s masterwork Violator (1990), blending ominous synths with rock guitar for classics like “Personal Jesus” and “Enjoy The Silence.” Their newfound flair for the blues exploded in the goth-grunge swamp gospel of 1993’s Songs Of Faith And Devotion (“Walking In My Shoes”), as well as, recent global hits like Playing The Angel (2005) and Delta Machine (2013).
Depeche Mode have kept evolving through the Nineties and beyond, remaining a legendarily fearsome live act across the planet, with a foot in the underground and another in the club – but always with an eye on the future.
Selected discography: “Dreaming Of Me,” Speak And Spell (1981) ● “People Are People,” Some Great Reward (1984) ● Black Celebration (1986) ● “Personal Jesus,” Violator (1990) ● Songs Of Faith And Devotion (1993) ● Sounds Of The Universe (2009) ● Delta Machine (2013) Continue reading