Every year the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announces nominees to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, and Little Richard are just a few of the first musicians ever to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1986 when it opened.
This year, 14 nominees have been chosen to be on the ballot, eight of which are on the ballot for the first time (Sheryl Crow, Missy Elliot, Joy Division/New Order, Cyndi Lauper, George Michael, Willie Nelson, The White Stripes, and Warren Zevon.)
Every year, the ballot of nominees is sent to more than 1,000 artists, historians, and various members of the music industry. Each artist or band has to have released their first recording intended for the public at least 25 years before the year they’re nominated.
There’s also a fan vote through April 28th, allowing fans to vote online or in person at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland, Ohio. Five artists will be selected from the voting results to be a part of the “fans’ ballot.” This ballot will join the others and help select the 2023 Inductees.
John Sykes, Chairman of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, said, “These artists have created their own sounds that have impacted generations and influenced countless others that have followed in their footsteps.”
The inductees will be announced in May, and the ceremony will occur this fall, with details to be announced.
Whether you choose to vote or not, here’s a look inside the nominees’ fruitful careers.
British singer-songwriter Kate Bush is known for her late 20th-century wide-ranging work, touching on genres including art, progressive, experimental-pop, rock, and avant-garde.
Bush grew up in an artistic family, playing the violin and piano as she performed traditional English and Irish songs at home with her parents and older brothers. At 14, Bush wrote her first musical composition. At 16, she was introduced to David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, who helped her sign a record deal with EMI Records.
Bush released her first single, “Wuthering Heights,” and her first two albums, “The Kick Inside” and “Lionheart,” in 1978, at just twenty years old. She’s collaborated with many musicians, including Gilmour, Prince, Eric Clapton, Elton John, and Peter Gabriel.
Bush went on a 12-year hiatus after directing and starring in “The Line, the Cross & the Curve” in 1993. Bush returned in 2005 with the release of “Aerial,” which garnered the best reviews of her career. In 2014, Bush played 22 concerts, going on stage for the first time in 35 years. Her concerts were magical and extravagant, with dancers, puppets, and illusionists.
Bush was named the Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2013 for her services to music. She also won an NME Award for Best Female Singer in 1979 and a Brit Award for British Female Solo Artist in 1987.
Sheryl Crow of Memphis, Tennessee, started playing piano at five and could play by ear at six. She grew up with a mother who played piano and a father who played trumpet, both performing in jazz bands. Crow composed her first song at 13 and learned guitar by playing with local rock bands.
Crow majored in performance, teaching, and music composition at The University of Missouri and graduated in 1984. She then moved to St. Louis to teach music to children with learning disabilities.
In 1986 Crow moved to Los Angeles, California, to begin pursuing her career. She sent an audition tape to Michael Jackson and was chosen to be a backup singer for him on the Bad World Tour. Over the years, Crow has also worked with Stevie Wonder, Stevie Nicks, Keith Richards, Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Rod Stewart, Foreigner, Sting, and Don Henley.
Crow joined what became The Tuesday Night Music Club, where she and other songwriters would attempt to write one song at each meeting. Crow’s song “Leaving Las Vegas” was written during the first session Crow ever attended. The song would later be released on her 1993 album, “Tuesday Night Music Club.”
The 1993 song “All I Wanna Do” gave Crow her most success, winning three Grammys in 1994. She won Best Record, Best Pop Performance By a Female, and Best New Artist. In 1996, Crow took home the Grammys for Best Rock Album (“Sheryl Crow”) and Best Female Rock Vocal Performance for “If It Makes You Happy.”
Redefining hip-hop, rap, and pop artist Missy Elliott is a multi-faceted addition to the music industry, acting as a songwriter, rapper, singer, and producer.
At 20 years old, Elliott’s group Sista was signed to Jodeci band member DeVante Swing’s Mob Records Label. Though the group broke up due to financial reasons, being signed at a young age was a great stepping stone for Elliott’s career.
Elliott has since taken over a male-dominated genre and used her talents to empower and work with women. In her 1997 remix of “Not Tonight,” Elliott featured women artists, including Angie Martinez, Lil Kim, Left Eye of TLC, and Da Brat. Elliott also performed at Lilith Fair in 1998, a music festival featuring solo female artists and female-fronted bands.
Elliott has also worked with Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, Beyoncé, Whitney Houston, Jay-Z, Nelly, and Mary J. Blige. Timbaland is a childhood friend of Elliott’s, and together they co-wrote and co-produced songs for Aaliyah and Jodeci.
Elliott has won 19 awards, including four Grammys, six BET Awards, Billboard Women in Music Innovator, two American Music Awards, and eight MTV Music Video Awards.
“The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly,”) (1997), Elliott’s musical debut, went platinum and was Grammy nominated for Best Rap Solo Performance. Her next album, “Da Real World” (1999), made it onto the Billboard Rhythm and Blues Chart for almost a full year.
In 1997, Elliott founded The Goldmind INC record label, where she’s previously signed 13 artists.
Elliott helped craft the 1990s and 2000s Virginia Beach sound, her visionary style creating something that hadn’t been heard before.
British heavy metal band Iron Maiden was founded in 1975 by bassist and main songwriter Steve Harris. Their live debut was in 1976 at St Nicks Hall in Poplar, London. The group released their debut self-titled album in 1980 and released seven more albums in the eighties.
Iron Maiden was the first metal band on MTV in 1981, and in 1982 they released “The Number of the Beast,” which is widely hailed as one of the best metal albums of all time. They’ve acted as a heavy mental blueprint, influencing how other metal bands would sound, look, and act. Despite being met with accusations of satanic imagery, Iron Maiden continued to thrive, largely without the acknowledgment of mainstream media.
Iron Maiden has sold over 100 million copies of their 16 full-length studio albums and performed at over 2,000 concerts. Some of these concerts were groundbreaking, as they performed in Poland during the Cold War, South America in the early nineties, the Middle East and India in 2007, and Indonesia in 2011. They’ve had 23 different members over 13 lineups.
The group won a Grammy in 2011 for Best Metal Performance for “El Dorado.”
Iron Maiden continues to push boundaries as they release new music and perform in 15 countries this May through October, using pyrotechnics, stage sets, and special effects to create a mind-blowing experience.
Joy Division/New Order
Joy Division was founded in Salford, England, in 1976 by Bernard Sumner (lead guitarist/keyboardist) and Peter Hook (bassist) after they attended a Sex Pistols concert. The group also included vocalist, guitarist, and lyricist Ian Curtis and drummer Stephen Morris. This 1970s punk and post-punk band touched on themes of love and loss, pain and pleasure.
Curtis passed away in 1980, leaving the group to ache in agony, losing one of their own. The band regrouped over the next few months and brought in Gillian Gilbert, who would be the keyboardist and guitarist of the new group, New Order.
The previous members of Joy Division transformed from punk into synth-heavy dance beats, going more mainstream with their song “Elegia,” featured in the 1986 romantic comedy “Pretty in Pink.” The use of synthesizers and drum machines created a musical environment in which listeners could feel the beat and dance along.
Joy Division went on an eight-year hiatus and returned in 2001 with the album “Get Ready.” They’ve since released several albums and are touring this June through October.
Eclectic singer-songwriter Cyndi Lauper, best known for her female party anthem “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” uses her vibrant and flamboyant style accompanying her four-octave singing range to attract listeners.
Lauper began writing songs at 12 years old and began studying under a vocal coach after a vocal cord injury in 1977 at the age of 23. In the same year, Lauper and John Turi formed the rockabilly group Blue Angel, allowing Lauper to perform her original music for the first time. The group dissolved five years later in 1982, but ultimately led to the 1983 release of Lauper’s first solo work, the album “She’s So Unusual,” under the CBS imprint Portrait Records. The album included songs “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and “Time After Time.” “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” grew in popularity following her music video for the song, which appeared on MTV frequently.
In recent years, Lauper wrote the 2013 score for the Broadway musical “Kinky Boots,” which won a Tony for Best Score and Best Musical, Lauper becoming the first solo woman to win Best Musical. She also wrote music for the SpongeBob SquarePants Broadway musical in 2017.
In 2015, Lauper was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. She has won two Grammys (Best New Artist in 1985 and Best Musical Theatre Album for “Kinky Boots” in 2014,) an Emmy (“Mad About You”), and a Tony, almost achieving EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) status.
Lauper has also consistently been an ally to the LGBTQIA community, co-founding True Colors United, a nonprofit with the mission to address youth homelessness in the United States, with queer youth making up 40% of the homeless youth population in America.
Songwriter, vocalist, producer, and philanthropist George Michael was a powerhouse musician with a sense of authenticity and strong vocals, becoming the most-played artist on British radio stations from 1984-2004.
Growing up in London, Michael and his friend Andrew Ridgeley dropped out of high school and formed the group Executive. They played a few gigs but ultimately didn’t make it until they formed the group Wham! in 1981. Wham! Released “Fantastic!,” their first album, in 1983, after being signed by Innervision Records.
In 1984, the group released “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” which became a worldwide hit. Michael was featured in the recording of Band-Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas,” with proceeds supporting Ethiopian famine relief in the same year. “Careless Whisper” was released as a solo project in the same year.
Their worldwide success led them to be the first Western pop group to perform in China in 1985. In total, Wham! released three albums from 1983-1986, leading up to Michael going solo, releasing the album “Faith,” which sold 25 million copies and won him a Grammy for Album of the Year in 1989. He also won a Grammy the following year for Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal for “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me).”
Elton John released the song “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me” in 1974, which was later recorded featuring Michael. The duo performed it at Live Aid in 1985 and released it in 1991. The song became a number 1 hit, and the proceeds went to supporting those with AIDS and the Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity, which supports families who have a child with a terminal illness. Michael also released “Red Hot and Dance,” a charity album for AIDS.
In 1987, Michael released the controversial song “I Want Your Sex,” which caused many radio stations not to play the song or only play it at night. Michael went on national television in 1998, coming out as gay.
Michael continued his success in the 2000s and 2010s, releasing new music, performing on talk shows, going on tour, and creating a social commentary protesting the approaching Iraq War.
On Christmas Day in 2016, Michael passed away due to heart and liver disease.
One of the most popular country singers of the 20th century, singer-songwriter, guitarist, political activist, and actor Willie Nelson, has a lifetime full of achievements, with over 60 years in the music industry. Releasing his 73rd album this year, Nelson has proved time and time again his music is worth listening to.
Nelson learned the guitar from his grandfather and started playing at local dances at 10 years old. He became a disc jockey in the 50s and began writing and performing his original songs. In 1961 Nelson went to Nashville, where he played bass for Ray Price, a country, rhythm, and blues singer who achieved commercial success using Nelson’s 1960s songs. Patsy Cline and Ray Price also performed Nelson’s songs.
Nelson was signed to Liberty Records in 1962, where he released his first two singles, “Touch Me,” and “Willingly,” which made it to the country’s top 10 charts.
Nelson partnered up with Waylon Jennings in the 1970s and pioneered outlaw music, a movement meant to break out from the constraints of the typical Nashville country sound.
Over the years, Nelson has collaborated with Ray Charles, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Sheryl Crow, and Snoop Dog and formed the supergroup Highwaymen, composed of Nelson, Jennings, Johnny Cash, and Kris Kristofferson.
Nelson has won 12 Grammys, ranging from Best Country Vocal Performance, Male for “Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain” in 1976, to Best Country Album for “A Beautiful Time” this year.
Nelson is the Co-Founder of Farm-Aid, a musical festival to raise money for farmers. He is also the Co-Chair of NORML, which supports the legalization of marijuana and dedicates his time to support animal welfare and LGBTQIA rights.
Rage Against the Machine
Part of a cultural, political, and economic revolution, Rage Against the Machine used hip-hop, heavy metal, punk, funk, and rock music to challenge oppressive systems of power.
Formed in Los Angeles in 1991, the group included Zack de la Rocha (vocalist,) Tom Morello (guitarist,) Tim Commerford (bassist,) and Brad Wilk (drummer.) They self-released a 12-song cassette tape that led to them being signed to Epic Records. They then made their debut self-titled album in 1992.
Their politically charged lyrics and representation of social activism challenged the status quo. The group has released several social commentary songs, including “Killing in the Name,” about police brutality, “People of the Sun,” about Mexican citizens under tyranny, and “Freedom,” about Leonard Peltier, a Native American leader who was imprisoned.
The group was nominated for seven Grammys and won two, one for Best Hard Rock Performance for “Guerrilla Radio” in 2001 and Best Metal Performance for “Tire Me” in 1997.
Though Rage Against the Machine never formally broke up, they made their last appearance in 2011.
Seattle grunge band Soundgarden combined several genres, including alternative, metal, and punk, igniting a movement.
Bassist Hiro Yamamoto, guitarist Kim Thayil, and singer-songwriter and drummer Chris Cornell formed the group in 1984. In 1986, Matt Cameron joined, taking over drums and allowing Cornell to focus on singing. The group released their debut EP, “Screaming Life,” in 1987 and their follow-up, “Fopp EP,” in 1988.
With Cornell’s four-octave voice and experimental instruments, Soundgarden became the band from their scene to release an album on a major label when they signed with A&M Records to release the album“Louder than Love” in 1989.
Soundgarden won two Grammys in 1995, for Best Hard Rock Performance for “Black Hole Sun” and Best Metal Performance for “Spoonman.”
Soundgarden’s final album, “Down on the Upside,” was released in 1996, and they performed their last 90s show the next year at Honolulu’s Blaisdell Arena.
The group made their return in 2010, performing at Chicago’s Lollapalooza. They toured from 2011-2017, leading up to the tragic death of Cornell.
With 6 Grammy nominations, 18 platinum and gold albums, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, R&B group The Spinners have made their mark with careers stretching over 6 decades.
Formed in the Detroit metropolitan area in 1955, the Spinners were originally called the Domingoes. The original group included Henry Fambrough, Robert ‘Bobbie’ Smith, Robert ‘Steel’ Smith, Billy Henderson, and Pervis Jackson. There have been many line-ups over the years, with eighteen different members.
In 1961, the group was signed by Harvey Fuqua’s Tri-Phi Records, after which they recorded their first hit, “That’s What Girls Are Made For.” The song reached 27 on the Top 100 charts. Tri-Phi Records was bought by Motown Records in 1963.
In 1970, Stevie Wonder gave The Spinners his song “It’s a Shame,” which made it onto the Billboard pop chart.
Convinced to leave Motown Records and join Atlantic Records by Aretha Franklin, the group released their first Atlantic album, titled “The Spinners,” in 1972, with the help of producer Thom Bell. Their songs addressed love and heartbreak, releasing songs “I’ll Be Around,” “Could It Be I’m Falling in Love,” and “Then Came You.”
Though the group’s fame lessened as they entered the 80s, the impact they made previously is enough to garner a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nomination.
The Spinners’ latest album was released in 2021, under the name “Round the Block and Back Again,” their first studio album since the 80s.
A Tribe Called Quest
Wildly claimed to be one of the most progressive rap groups of the 90s, A Tribe Called Quest used their voices to have freedom of expression within their songs.
The group was formed in Queens, New York in 1985. Members Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, and Jarobi White named themselves Crush Connection and, later, Quest. In 1988, Jungle Brothers named the group A Tribe Called Quest.
Starting in 1990, A Tribe Called Quest released three albums within four years, including “People’s Instinctive Travels and The Paths of Rhythm,” “The Low End Theory,” and “Midnight Marauders.”
Mixing hip-hop, alternative rock, and jazz, the group sampled jazz recordings from the sixties and seventies, creating a sound that attracted listeners from all areas.
A Tribe Called Quest broke up in 1998 but came back from 2006-2017, performing at festivals, concerts, and talk shows. Their last performance was in 2016 at Bestival in England, and their last video came out in 2018 for the song “The Space Program.”
The White Stripes
Detroit-duo The White Stripes combined punk, Mississippi Delta blues, and country, creating a raw sound like nothing else of the time. Jack and Meg White were behind the name and were formed on Bastille Day in 1997 after Meg started learning how to play the drums, something Jack had been doing for years.
Their first live performance was in the same year, at the Gold Dollar bar in Detroit. Here they began to play with local bands, also in the Michigan underground garage rock scene.
The White Stripes joined the independent Sympathy for the Record Industry label and released their self-titled debut album in 1999. In 2001, the band released the album “White Blood Cells,” which catapulted them to fame. Their video for “Fell in Love with a Girl” was featured regularly on MTV and remains an iconic throwback song.
The White Stripes won their first Grammy in 2006 for Best Alternative Music Album for “Get Behind Me Satan.” Meg revealed she had “acute anxiety” in 2007, which led to a tour cancellation. In 2008, the group won two more Grammys for “Icky Thump,” including Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals and Best Alternative Music Album.
Their last performance was during the final episode of “Late Night With Conan O’Brien,” in 2009, and they officially disbanded in 2011.
Poetic and sometimes comedic singer-songwriter Warren Zevon was one of the most significant songwriters of the 70s. Greatly respected by Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, and Neil Young, Zevon used his time to create music that would attract and inspire others.
Zevon was a classically trained pianist, starting his career in the 60s, composing songs in commercials, writing pop songs, and singing in the duo Lyme & Cybelle. He released his self-titled album in 1976, which was widely praised by Linda Ronstadt and other artists. His next album, “Excitable Boy,” in 1978, featured “Werewolves of London,” a well-known hit of the decade.
In 2002, Zevon was diagnosed with lung cancer and spent the last few months of his life recording “The Wind,” his last album. Featuring Emmylou Harris, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, and many more artists, it was made clear that Zevon created a successful life in which he was admired and loved.
Zevon passed away in 2003, two weeks after “The Wind” was released. It won two Grammys for Best Contemporary Folk Album and Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals for “Disorder In The House.”
All of the above artists have achieved a tremendous amount of success spanning decades. No matter their genre or background, these artists and groups maintained success charged by their raw talent.
Fans can vote for their favorite nominees here.
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