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Journey, Pearl Jam, Tupac Shakur lead this year’s class of Rock Hall inductees

Pearl Jam in 1991. (Photo: Steve Eichner / Getty Images)

The voting body of the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame has been accused of being composed of out-of-touch baby boomers, old guys with a single earring who can’t sit in beanbag chairs anymore because of their backs but still have blacklight posters on their walls. And that’s probably true—they inducted Yes this year, after all. But these aging hippies aren’t totally out of touch. They’re hip to the resurgent ’90s trend, and have decided to induct Pearl Jam and Tupac Shakur into the Rock Hall, both on their first nomination.

Also in this year’s class of inductees are stadium-rock stalwarts Journey, Beatles-esque orchestral rockers Electric Light Orchestra, and Joan Baez, inducted a mere 28 years after her folkie counterpart Bob Dylan. The Hall has also deigned to give Nile Rodgers an individual Award for Musical Excellence, after rejecting his band Chic for the 11th time. About the award, Rodgers tells Billboard, “Of course I am flattered and honored like crazy, but it’s sort of bittersweet for me because of all the things I’ve done that I’m exceptionally proud of, I’m really proud of Chic.”


Indeed, the reasoning of the Rock Hall voters remains as opaque as ever. Not to pick on Yes or anything, but MC5 was also up for induction this year, as was Kraftwerk, both arguably far more influential than the guys who did “Owner Of A Lonely Heart.” (‘70s progressive rock is already well represented in the Hall.) Also passed over for induction this year are The Cars, who placed fifth in an online “fan ballot” and were the only act out of the five fan choices not to make the final cut. (The top four were Journey, Electric Light Orchestra, Yes, and Pearl Jam.)

Other nominees rejected this year include Bad Brains, Chaka Khan, Depeche Mode, The J. Geils Band (no great loss there), Jane’s Addiction, Janet Jackson, Joe Tex, Steppenwolf, and The Zombies. Those who did make the cut will perform and give speeches at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on April 7, with a special airing on HBO shortly thereafter.

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