October 4, 2012


Rush, Public Enemy, NWA Lead Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominees

Raymond Boyd
Raymond Boyd

Let the real debates begin.

Less than three hours after Barack Obama and Mitt Romney ended their first debate, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame released their list of this year's nominees—including first-time noms Rush, Deep Purple, Public Enemy and N.W.A.—that will inevitably begin grumbling and fighting among music nerds the world over. (Present writer included.)

It's the most diverse list in years, with pioneering German electronic group Kraftwerk, hard rock singer/guitarist Joan Jett and disco queen Donna Summer among the nominees. This is Summer's sixth attempt at induction and first since her death in May.

The first-time inclusion of progressive rock veterans Rush and Deep Purple is a major coup for the genre's fans, who for years have loudly voiced their opposition to the Hall for shunning many of their favorite bands. Now let's all revisit this 2010 clip of Rush's Alex Lifeson telling Artisan News, "I kind of like the status quo where they don't really want us in there and we don't really want to be there" and grin awkwardly. (Ditto nominee Randy Newman, who once told the L.A. Times, "I'm already bitter that I'm not in it. It's a Hall of Shame.")

While Beastie Boys, Run-D.M.C. and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five have all been inducted into the Hall, the inclusion of incendiary, political groups Public Enemy and N.W.A. marks a major tonal shift for the nominating committee, with hip hop's role in the rock canon a perennial polarizing topic. 

Perhaps anticipating the, "Damn, this is actually a diverse list" reaction, Hall of Fame President and CEO Joel Peresman said in a statement, "The definition of 'rock and roll' means different things to different people, but as broad as the classifications may be, they all share a common love of the music. This year we again proudly put forth a fantastic array of groups and artists that span the entire genre that is 'rock and roll'."

To be eligible for nomination, an act must have released their debut album at least 25 years prior to the nomination year. Ballots will be sent to more than 600 members of the music industry and historically, 4-6 of the nominated acts are inducted each year. The Hall announced that inductees will be chosen "in the coming weeks," so commence arguing!

Nominees for 2013 induction:

  • The Paul Butterfield Blues Band
  • Chic
  • Deep Purple
  • Heart
  • Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
  • Albert King
  • Kraftwerk
  • The Marvelettes
  • The Meters
  • Randy Newman
  • N.W.A
  • Procol Harum
  • Public Enemy
  • Rush
  • Donna Summer