George Harrison, Prince, John Mellencamp and Jackson Browne are among those who’ve made the list of nominees for the 2004 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ballot, a hall of fame spokesperson confirmed Monday.
Artists are eligible for induction 25 years after the release of their first
record. Criteria for consideration include “the influence and significance of
the artist’s contributions to the development and perpetuation of rock and
roll,” according to the organization.
Several names that have not made the hall before are back for another try,
including the Sex Pistols, Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Top, country rock legend Gram
Parsons, Bob Seger, the Stooges, Traffic, Patti Smith and early R&B groups the Dells
and the “5” Royales. Despite Ozzy Osbourne’s attempts to take them off the
ballot in 1999, Black Sabbath are back for another attempt, too, though Osbourne
has said he thinks the honor is “meaningless.”
Already a member as part of the Beatles, if chosen, George Harrison would
be inducted on the merits of his solo work. Harrison, who died of cancer in November 2001 (see “Former Beatle George Harrison Dead At 58″ ), would be the third Beatle to make the grade, as John Lennon and Paul McCartney have already been inducted into the hall. The Beatles’ lead guitarist was the first in the group to go solo, releasing his triple-album debut, All Things Must Pass, in 1970, which featured the hit “My Sweet Lord.”
Throughout his 25-year career, Prince has confounded as much as he
has entertained, but the divinely nasty legend from Minneapolis has created
some of the most enduring funk-soul jams in music history along the way.
Beginning with 1978’s For You and peaking in the ’80s with such landmark albums as 1999, Purple Rain and Around the World in a Day,
Prince melded the worlds of screaming rock guitar solos with dance music, pop and
R&B, with lyrics that unabashedly exposed his carnal desires.
Indiana’s John Mellencamp began his career as generic pop singer Johnny
Cougar in 1976, but over the course of nearly 30 years in music has become one of the more respected singer/songwriters of his generation. Initially dismissed as a Bruce Springsteen wannabe, Mellencamp hit his stride in the early ’80s with such rock-radio staples as “Jack and Diane” and “Hurts So Good.” He soon became known as a chronicler of the plight of the downtrodden American farmer and worker, with such folk-inspired albums as Scarecrow and The Lonesome Jubilee. Along with Neil Young and Willie Nelson, Mellencamp helped found the annual Farm Aid concert benefiting small American farms.
Quintessential 1970s California singer/songwriter Jackson Browne
began his career in the late ’60s, but didn’t come to widespread prominence until
1976’s The Pretender, which set the stage for his most popular
release, 1977’s Running on Empty. That album featured the hit title track as
well as “Stay/The Load-Out,” a ballad that became the template for nearly
every “life on the road” tune that followed.
Ballots for this year’s nominations were mailed out last week to the voting
members of the rock hall, with inductees slated to be announced before the end
of the year. The process begins in the spring, when a group of 75 industry
professionals made up of record executives, lawyers, managers, journalists and
musicians meet to brainstorm potential nominees. Their list is pared down to fewer
than 20, with five to eight inductees chosen by a committee made up of 1,500
voters from throughout the music industry. The performers who receive the
highest number of votes, and more than 50 percent of the vote, are inducted.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is located in Cleveland. A
date and location for the 2004 ceremony has not yet been announced.