Eric Clapton, Earth Wind & Fire, James Taylor Selected For Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame

Consider it the year of “lite rock” for the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

Eric Clapton, Earth Wind & Fire, The Lovin’ Spoonful, The Moonglows, Bonnie Raitt, and James Taylor have all been selected for induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, with the Fifteenth Annual Induction Ceremony set for March 6 at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City.

Jazz and blues legends Nat King Cole and Billie Holiday will also be inducted into the Cleveland-based Rock Hall as “Early Influences,” while embattled Arista CEO Clive Davis will be inducted as a “Non-Performer.”

As talented as the Class of 2000 is, some of the more popular names eligible for induction were passed over. Black Sabbath, Aerosmith, the O’Jays, Lou Reed, Steely Dan, and Richie Valens were all nominated, but they failed to make this year’s cut (see “Black Sabbath, Aerosmith, Queen, Clapton Lead List Of Nominees For Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Class Of 2000″ ).

Ozzy Osbourne, frontman of the hugely influential Black Sabbath, asked back in October that Sabbath be removed from the Rock Hall ballot, declaring the nomination “meaningless” (see “Ozzy Wants Sabbath’s Name Removed From ’Meaningless’ Hall Of Fame Ballot” ).

For the Class of 2000, the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame also plans to induct several musicians as part of its new “Side-men” category, which recognizes those performers for their work backing other, more prominent artists.

The first group of “Side-men” to be inducted includes R&B saxophonist King Curtis (who played in both The Coasters as well as Aretha Franklin’s band), Motown bassist James Jamerson, drummer Earl Palmer (a veteran of both Little Richard’s and Fats Domino’s bands), drummer Hal Blaine (of Phil Spector’s Wall Of Sound), and longtime Elvis Presley guitarist Scotty Moore.

Clapton becomes the first musician to be triple-inducted into the Rock Hall, as
he was previously honored in 1992 as a member of The Yardbirds and again the following year for his work in Cream.

VH1 will tape the Induction Ceremony on March 6 and air an edited version of the event later that same month.

– David Basham