The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum


New York (September 22, 2008)—The nominations for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum were announced today. The nine nominees are: Jeff Beck, Chic, Wanda Jackson, Little Anthony and the Imperials, Metallica, Run-D.M.C., the Stooges, War, and Bobby Womack. Ballots will be sent to more than 500 voters, who will select artists to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the 24th Annual Induction Ceremony on April 4 at historic Public Hall in Cleveland. For the first time, tickets to the ceremony will be made available to the public.

To be eligible for nomination into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, an act must have released its first single or album at least 25 years prior to the year of nomination. This year’s nominees had to release their first single no later than 1983.

One of the most influential guitarists in rock and roll, Jeff Beck, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992, as a member of the Yardbirds. After his 18-month stint (1965-66) in that band, he formed the first edition of the Jeff Beck Group (1968-69, with Rod Stewart and Ron Wood). In the four decades since, Beck’s work has encompassed deep explorations into instrumental jazz fusion, blues, a tribute to Gene Vincent, and much more, always underpinned by his hard-rock roots. 

Chic’s founding partnership of songwriter-producers Nile Rodgers (guitar) and Bernard Edwards (bass), abetted by future Power Station drummer Tony Thompson, rescued disco in 1977 with a combination of groove, soul and studio smarts. With their out-of-the-box chart smashes “Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)” and “Le Freak,” Chic raised the bar and hooked a generation. Since then, artists such as Sugar Hill Gang and Diddy have turned to Chic for beats and samples. Rodgers and Edwards (before his death in 1996) followed their five years in Chic with careers as top-flight producers for an A-list of megastars.

When Elvis Presley sang “wear my ring around your neck” – it was Wanda Jackson’s neck. And she still has the ring. The “First Lady of Rock and Roll” started recording in 1954, and was 18 when she graduated high school and played her first package tour with Elvis in 1955. He convinced her that rock and roll was the way, and she grabbed onto the rhythm like a dynamo. Wanda had the respect of Gene Vincent, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, and every musician who ever shared the stage with the “Queen Of Rockabilly.” A perennial star on tour in Europe and Japan, Wanda’s career revived back home in the ’90s, thanks to true believers like Elvis Costello. 

After singing in high school doo-wop groups, Fort Greene, Brooklyn’s Jerome Anthony Gourdine joined a quartet called the Chesters, which included tenor Ernest Wright, Jr. and baritone Clarence Collins. The fivesome signed to George Goldner’s End Records in 1958 as the Imperials featuring Little Anthony. His boyish vocal (redolent of Frankie Lymon) clicked with “Tears On My Pillow” and “Shimmy, Shimmy, Ko-Ko-Bop,” boosted by one of the most energetic stage shows around. Other hits included “I’m on the Outside (Looking In),” “Goin’ Out of My Head,” and “Hurt So Bad” that forever immortalized Little Anthony and the Imperials.

Rising from the Los Angeles metal underground in the early 1980s, Metallica quickly rose to become the most successful and acclaimed heavy metal band of their era - a position they’ve consistently held for over a quarter century. Founded by vocalist James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich, the group discovered a potent formula by combining the thrash metal of Motorhead with the industrial sound of Killing Joke.  By the late 1980s, mainstream tastes were shifting over to metal and Metallica found themselves with a string of hit singles and sold-out stadiums across the globe. This month the band released Death Magnetic, a metal tour de force in the same vein as their landmark 1980s work.

More than any other act, Run-D.M.C. took hip-hop from the streets of New York to the national stage. The group gets deserved credit for its combinations of rock and rap from their early use of guitars on tracks such as “Rock Box” to their ground-breaking collaboration with Aerosmith on their 1986 cover of “Walk this Way.” But even more important was how Run-D.M.C and the late Jam Master Jay set the template for modern hip-hop, from their everyday-teenager style to their blazing live shows to a catalogue of classic songs that few rappers have matched: “It’s Tricky,” “My Adidas,” “Peter Piper,” “It’s Like That,” “Sucker MC’s” and many more.

The “Big Bang” that became punk, alternative, heavy metal, new wave, grunge, hardcore and industrial music, could very well have been the advent of Iggy and the Stooges in Ann Arbor in the late 1960’s. Immediately embraced in New York, London and Los Angeles for the nuclear-powered simplicity of their music, the ironic nihilism of their lyrics, and the persona of Iggy himself, the Stooges have become icons in the history of modern music. And if there is a national anthem for the far side (the underside?) of our rock and roll universe, it is certainly “I Wanna Be Your Dog.”

The six founding members of War – the late Papa Dee Allen and Charles Miller, survivors Harold Brown, B.B. Dickerson, Lonnie Jordan, and Howard Scott – were gigging around L.A. for nearly a decade before hooking up with Eric Burdon (ex-Animals) and Danish harmonica player Lee Oskar in 1969. Burdon and producer Jerry Goldstein named them War and they backed it up with a steamy Afro-Latin R&B groove that rocked their debut hit “Spill The Wine.” Less than two years later, Burdon dropped out and War went their own way in 1971. A long string of Top 10 pop/R&B crossover hits established War’s status through the ’70s, always with a social message grounded by their distinctively breezy Southern California vibe.

In a class with Sam Cooke and James Brown, his two older mentors, Bobby Womack’s career spans over 55 years, back to sibling group the Womack Brothers.  Cooke signed and renamed them the Valentinos, whose first two Womack-penned R&B hits became signatures for the Rolling Stones (“It’s All Over Now,” their first #1 UK hit) and J. Geils Band (“Lookin’ For A Love”).  Womack is a triple-threat: prolific solo artist, landmark session guitarist (Sam Cooke At the Copa, Aretha Now, Lady Soul, Elvis Presley’s “Suspicious Minds,” Sly’s There’s A Riot Goin’ On, the Rolling Stones’ “Harlem Shuffle,” and many more), and master songwriter (Wilson Picket’s “I’m a Midnight Mover,” Janis Joplin’s “Trust Me,” and countless others.

Five of the nine nominees will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The inductees will be announced in January 2009.

The 2009 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction program will include a weeklong series of events culminating with the Induction Ceremony on Saturday, April 4 at historic Public Hall in Cleveland.  Advance ticket sales for the events will be made available to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum members and then to the public.  For the latest information on inductee announcements, ticket packages, events, and other programs, fans can sign up for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame newsletter at http://www.rockhall.com/induction2009.

All inductees are ultimately represented in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is a nonprofit organization that exists to educate visitors, fans and scholars from around the world about the history and continuing significance of rock and roll music. It carries out this mission both through its operation of a world-class museum that collects, preserves, exhibits and interprets this art form and through its library and archives as well as its educational programs.

For more information, visit http://www.rockhall.com