Though there are a handful of comparatively fresh faces, many of this year’s nominees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame may be hoping that the second — or fifth or eighth — time is the charm.
New names on the ballot this year include late jazz giant Miles Davis, new wavers Blondie (“Heart of Glass”), Texas rockers the Sir Douglas Quintet (“She’s About a Mover”), singer/songwriter-turned-Muslim-activist Cat Stevens (“Wild World”), ’60s white-blues act the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and British Invasion-era combo the Dave Clark Five (“Glad All Over”).
The ballot also includes previous nominees John Mellencamp, the J. Geils Band, disco-era group Chic (whose “Good Times” was the musical foundation of Sugarhill Gang’s pioneering “Rapper’s Delight”), Texas soul singer Joe Tex (“I Gotcha”) and punk godmother Patti Smith. Pioneering hip-hop act Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five will make a second attempt at being the first rap group inducted into the Hall.
The rest of the nominees have had multiple shots at induction. Legendary metal act Black Sabbath — who famously say they have no interest in being inducted — will go for a record eighth bid, Southern rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd will clock in with their seventh, and punk group the Sex Pistols — whose frontman, John Lydon, called the Hall “The place where old rockers go to die” — and punk prototypes the Stooges will give it a fifth go.
The failure of these oft-nominated artists to be inducted has inspired much debate (see “So How Do You Get Into The Rock Hall Of Fame?” ).
Miles Davis was one of the most celebrated and enigmatic musicians of the modern jazz era, and crossed into rock territory with his innovative and influential work in the late ’60s and early ’70s, most famously on 1969’s Bitches Brew LP.
Blondie, fronted by new-wave vixen Debbie Harry, started out on the New York punk scene in the mid-1970s and hit the charts with a patented style that fused punk-rock and girl-group sounds with elements of disco (“Heart of Glass”) and hip-hop (“Rapture”).
Singer/songwriter Cat Stevens released a series of introspective, folky hit albums in the 1970s with hits such as “Peace Train” and “Wild World” before retiring from music in 1977 and converting to Islam.
In 1964, London’s Dave Clark Five were serious contenders for chart domination, but the group lost momentum after scoring hits like “Glad All Over,” “Bits and Pieces” and “Because” and faded from view.
Paul Butterfield was one of the first white blues harmonica players to earn widespread praise for his playing as the leader of his eponymous band. He is credited with turning white audiences onto the classic sound of electric Chicago blues in the 1960s and earning a place in rock history when his band backed Bob Dylan at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965 — the gig where Dylan was famously booed for playing an electric guitar.
Earlier this year, Buddy Guy, the O’Jays, the Pretenders, Percy Sledge and U2 were inducted into the Hall (see “Justin Timberlake, Bruce Springsteen To Induct This Year’s Rock Hall Of Famers” ).
Artists become eligible for the Hall 25 years after the release of their first record. A group of 75 musicians, journalists and members of the music industry pick the nominees, who are then voted on by a larger group of approximately 700. The top nominees will be announced in December and inducted during the Hall’s annual ceremony in New York next year.