Pearl Jam, Tupac Shakur and Joan Baez Will Join the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame



As only the sixth hip-hop artist to join the hall of fame, Tupac Shakur also builds on the hall’s modest representation of rap music. Like the induction of N.W.A earlier this year, the honoring of Shakur — still revered as one of hip-hop’s fiercest and most gifted lyricists — could give the show’s broadcast a moment of excitement, although it is unclear who would accept the award for him. Shakur was killed in 1996, and his mother, the activist Afeni Shakur, died in May.

By admitting Journey, Electric Light Orchestra and Yes, the Rock Hall followed the playbook it has used with artists like Kiss and Rush — finally admitting megaselling but unfashionable acts that had long been ignored by the hall’s most conservative voters.

Journey, whose “Don’t Stop Believin’” has become one of rock’s most enduring power ballads, was nominated for the first time, despite having been eligible for 16 years. Electric Light Orchestra was also up for the first time, while Yes, an icon of progressive rock, was on its third nod. Artists become eligible 25 years after the release of their first recording.


Joan Baez performing with Bob Dylan during a civil rights rally in 1963 in Washington.

Rowland Scherman/National Archives/Newsmakers

The induction of Journey raises the possibility of a reunion with the former lead singer, Steve Perry, who has not been with the band since 1998. (Since 2007, Journey has played with the Filipino singer Arnel Pineda, whom the band found through cover videos on YouTube; Mr. Pineda will not be inducted.)

Ms. Baez may be most familiar to younger listeners today for her cameo at a Taylor Swift concert last year. But her involvement raises a very intriguing possibility, if an especially remote one: an induction speech by Bob Dylan. Could the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame book the man the Nobel Prize organizers could not?

Ms. Baez’s arrival also points to an unfortunate characteristic of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: its few female members. She is the only woman among the inductees this year, and she is only the third to be inducted over the last four ceremonies, after Linda Ronstadt in 2014 and Joan Jett the following year.

The hall has frequently been criticized for failing to admit more women; it was one of Steve Miller’s many complaints at his induction earlier this year. And among the 13 nominated acts who did not make the cut for the class of 2017 are Janet Jackson and Chaka Khan.


Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam performing in May at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Chad Batka for The New York Times

Other nominees this year who were not inducted include the Zombies, the Cars, the MC5, Steppenwolf and the J. Geils Band, all critics’ favorites; Depeche Mode and Jane’s Addiction, giants of alternative rock; the electronic pioneers Kraftwerk; the soul singer Joe Tex; and Bad Brains, whose furious speed had a major influence on the development of hard-core punk.

But one particular nominee stands out for its repeated rejection. Chic, the disco-funk group led by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards that had hits including “Le Freak” and “Good Times,” was turned down for an 11th time, more than any other group in the hall’s history. (It took the Stooges seven nominations before they finally made it, in 2010.)

Despite being turned down so definitively by the hall’s 900 voters — or perhaps as a consolation prize — the hall has chosen Mr. Rodgers for its award for musical excellence, a loosely defined prize that replaced the sidemen category in 2011. The award was last given to Ringo Starr and 10 members of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band.

The award is chosen by a separate subcommittee from the voters who select inductees. Todd Mesek, a spokesman for the hall, said that Mr. Rodgers’s selection was “a reflection of his work as the driving force behind Chic, his solo projects, his contributions to music over five decades and his influence on artists ranging from Diana Ross and David Bowie to Daft Punk and Keith Urban.”

“While Chic hasn’t been able to garner the votes necessary to be inducted,” Mr. Mesek continued, “we felt it was important to recognize the breadth and impact of Nile’s career.”

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