One of the signatures of Nirvana's sound was their laser-like deployment of loud-quiet dynamics. That secret weapon is what really makes them stand out from their fellow 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class.
While the iconic grunge trio whose music defined a generation in the early 1990s were known for Kurt Cobain's haunting howl and searing guitar, most of their fellow inductees in next year's ceremony leaned on a much quieter, subtle sound. Nirvana will be joined by 1970s star Linda "You're No Good" Rondstadt, blue-eyed soul duo Hall and Oates, folk pop vocalist Cat Stevens (now known as Yusuf Islam) and Peter Gabriel, who was inducted in 2010 as part of prog rock band Genesis.
Also finally getting their day are loud and louche greasepaint rockers Kiss, who have been eligible for induction since 1999. After years of grumbling from their notoriously loyal fans about repeated snubs, the "Rock And Roll All Nite" group, renowned for their flashy costumes, face paint and pyro-filled concerts, made it in, thanks to a fan-voting initiative that gave die-hards a say in the final list. With 1.3 million votes cast, Kiss came out on top with 17.2 percent of the vote, edging out Nirvana (15.7 percent) and a pair of proggy acts that didn't make it in this year, Deep Purple (11.9 percent) and Yes (10.9 percent).
Led by the late Cobain, Nirvana made it into the hall in their first year of eligibility, not surprising given the huge impact the trio had on music. With such landmark hits as "Smells Like Teen Spirit," "Come As You Are" and "Heart-Shaped Box," Nirvana helped lead the grimy, angsty grunge sound to the top of the charts and into the national, and international, zeitgeist.
Founded by Cobain and bass player Krist Novoselic in the late 1980s, Nirvana blasted through to mainstream success with 1991's Nevermind, which was propelled in part by the titanic drumming of Dave Grohl, who would go on to form the Foo Fighters after Cobain's suicide in 1994.
In a statement, the always loquacious Grohl said he was, for once, speechless. "From the basements, to the dingy clubs, to the broken down vans, to ... the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I'd like to thank the committee not only for this induction, but also for recognizing Nirvana for what we were: pure rock and roll. Most of all, thank you to all of the fans that have supported rock and roll throughout the years, and to Kurt and Krist, without whom I would not be here today."
Novoselic added, "This is a great honor. Thank you to the people who nominated and voted for us. Thank you most of all to Kurt Cobain. And to everyone who's kept Rock music going strong for 60 years and counting."
The 2014 nonperformers category including famed Beatles manager Brian Epstein and Rolling Stones manager/producer/songwriter Andrew Loog Oldham. After their leader was inducted in 1999, Bruce Springsteen's longtime backing group, the E Street Band, will also be inducted. Artists are eligible for induction into the Hall 25 years after the release of their first single or album.
Among the acts that didn't make it in this time around are hip-hop legends N.W.A. and LL Cool J, as well as shambolic indie rock godheads the Replacements.
Next year's ceremony will take place on April 10 and take place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.