McCartney, Springsteen, Joel Join Rock Hall Of Fame

The three rock icons, all first-time nominees, will be inducted with Dusty Springfield, Del Shannon and Curtis Mayfield.

Both former Beatle Paul McCartney and blue-collar rocker Bruce Springsteen --

two of

the most recognizable names in rock history -- are to be inducted into the Rock

and Roll

Hall of Fame next year.

Joining first-time nominees Springsteen and McCartney on the Hall of Fame roster

will

be piano-man Billy Joel (also a first-time nominee), classic '50s-rocker Del

Shannon,

soul singer Curtis Mayfield, veteran pop/R&B singer Dusty Springfield and

gospel-group

the Staples Singers, a spokesperson for the Hall's foundation said Tuesday (Nov.

10).

The 14th annual induction ceremony will take place March 15, 1999, at the

Waldorf

Astoria Hotel in New York City.

"With this group, I think it will certainly be one of the most dynamic and

historic

ceremonies ever," said Suzan Evans, executive director of the Rock and Roll Hall

of

Fame Foundation, the administrative body that oversees the Hall's induction

process.

"We have great opportunities for a really outstanding jam session and some great

combinations of artists up there playing."

The Cleveland-based Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's annual induction

ceremony traditionally features other artists inducting the new Hall of Fame

members,

often in emotional, highly personal speeches. Evans said it was not yet known

who

would induct any of this year's honorees.

Also to be honored this year, in the early-influences category, are the late

country-swing

pioneer Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys and blues and R&B singer Charles Brown.

British record-producer George Martin, best known for his work with the Beatles,

also will

be inducted, in the non-performer category.

New Jersey-bred Springsteen was nominated in his first year of eligibility.

Artists become

eligible for induction in the Rock Hall 25 years after the release of their

first album.

In Springsteen's case, that is his 1973 debut, Greetings From Asbury Park,

N.J. A

highlight of that record was the track

href="http://www.addict.com/music/Springsteen,_Bruce/Growing_Up.ram">"Growin'

Up" (RealAudio excerpt of demo), an early demo of which can be found on

his

just-released, four-CD rarities set, Tracks.

Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. also contained the rock classic "Blinded

By the

Light," which was later turned into a hit by Manfred Mann's Earth Band.

Along with the late John Lennon, McCartney was a driving force behind the

unprecedented success of the Beatles. His solo work, which has earned him his

1999

induction, began with the 1970 album McCartney, which included the

international hit "Maybe I'm Amazed." McCartney did not attend the Beatles'

induction

ceremony in 1988, but in 1994, he was present as Lennon was honored posthumously

for his solo work.

McCartney spokesperson Paul Freundlich said the artist was unavailable for

comment

due to ongoing promotional obligations for his late wife Linda's recently

released,

posthumous debut album, Wide Prairie.

Joel, known for his piano-based, pop-rock style, also was nominated exactly 25

years

after his major-label debut, 1973's Piano Man. (Joel's recorded debut,

1972's

Cold Spring Harbor, featured the concert staple "She's Got a Way" and was

released on the Family Productions label.)

Ed Thacker, a producer who mixed 35 songs on Springsteen's Tracks,

testified to

Springsteen's endurance and work ethic.

"He's so prolific that he can just have an inspiration and I'm sure go in his

room and write

a great song every day," Thacker said. "Everybody I've talked to who's recorded

with

Bruce has always said that. When he's on a roll, it's just so easy."

Although a number of hard-core fans grumbled when it was announced that

Springsteen's long-time backing group, the E Street Band -- who did not play on

Greetings -- were not on the induction list, foundation spokesperson

Evans said

anything is possible down the line.

"The rules say very clearly that in order to be inducted an artist has to

release an album

under that same name 25 years prior," Evans said, "and the E Street Band was not

on

that release. They might be eligible at some point in the future."

Nominees not making the cut this year were heavy-metal pioneers Black Sabbath,

jazz-rockers Steely Dan, soul singer Solomon Burke, doo-wop vocal groups the

Flamingos and the Moonglows, pop singers Darlene Love and Gene Pitney and '50s

rocker Ritchie Valens ("La Bamba").

"These artists [Joel, Springsteen, McCartney] are still very active today and

have

impressive bodies of work," Evans said of the honorees, "and I think they will

have an

impact on our culture for many years to come. They're still very vital in

music."