Recent changes to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nominating committee seems to have benefitted longtime snubs and older fan favorites. Last year, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, which handles its annual nominations, dismissed more than a dozen of its members. The changes have led to the committee focusing part of its attention on acts that have populated snub lists for decades. For the Class of 2016, that included inducting Cheap Trick, Chicago, Steve Miller and Deep Purple, while nominating The Cars and Yes. For this year’s nominations, the committee has finally acknowledged seven influential acts from previous decades for the first time.
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To be eligible for this year’s ballot, each nominee’s first single or album had to be released in 1991 or earlier. Some of the nominees have appeared on previous ballots, but this is the first appearance for Bad Brains, Depeche Mode, Electric Light Orchestra, Jane’s Addiction, Joan Baez, Journey, Pearl Jam, Steppenwolf, and Tupac Shakur. It’s Pearl Jam and Shakur’s first year of eligibility, while Chic earned a Hall of Fame record with 11 ballot appearances. It’s the fifth for Joe Tex, the fourth for the J. Geils Bands and Kraftwerk and the third for Yes.
In a change of tradition, the Hall of Fame has announced the individual members of each band that will be honored. Pearl Jam have had five drummers, but only current drummer Matt Cameron and founding member Dave Krusen will be inducted should they make it in. Electric Light Orchestra has had many musicians come and go over the years, but just Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood, Bev Bevan and Richard Tandy made the cut.
The classic Steve Perry lineup of Journey is listed along with founding keyboardist/singer Gregg Rolie. As far as Yes, original singer Jon Anderson is on the ballot along with drummers Bill Bruford and Alan White, keyboardists Tony Kaye and Rick Wakeman, guitarists Steve Howe and Trevor Rabin and bassist Chris Squire. Keyboardist Vince Clarke left Depeche Mode after their first album Speak & Spell, but he is listed along with the rest of the band.
It took Donna Summer six nominations before she was finally inducted the year after she died. Eleven nominations but no win for Chic is an outrage.