By Sanho Kim.
From fights between performers to furious fans, The Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame’s annual inductions have been marked by conflict and debate. Some performers argue against the institution’s handling of the nominations (for example, the exclusion of certain band members). Some are against the occasion itself. Some accuse it of “snubbing” certain figures, while promoting others that they consider “inadequate”. It’s a typical, endless fight between new and old, between popularity and critique, or between glory and integrity.
This year was no exception, while in comparison, it was much less contended than before — though nobody can let out that sigh of relief until all the performances and ceremonies are over and done with. The honored list included well-known names such as Journey and ELO, and since 2012 a fan ballot has been contributing to the selection process.
The following is a list of the 2017 inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. Though they have not escaped controversy, each musician remains virtuous and worth a listen; in the end, all is left for the individual fan to judge.
The Inductees (performers):
- Electric Light Orchestra (ELO)
Formed in 1970, this English rock group is most known for its endeavor to fuse classical arrangements with mainstream rock and pop. Armed with extensive personnel that added violins, cellos, and wind instruments to the typical rock band lineup, ELO fused the influence of the Beatles with progressive and symphonic genres.
Starting from their first single, “10538 Overture”, the ambitious group found continued success in both the UK and the US, though it was in the US that they found bigger stardom. From 1972 to 1986, ELO was prolific and successful selling 50 million records, with celebrated albums such as “Eldorado, A Symphony” and “Out Of The Blue” which contained songs that remain influential and popular to this day, like “Mr. Blue Sky” and “Telephone Line”.
While, along the years, the band experienced quarrels among its members who came and left, and was thrown into a state of conflict, its legacy and fame has lasted. Although he once disbanded the group in the 1980s, Jeff Lynne has consistently led ELO, writing practically all of its material. In recent years, he opened an era of renaissance; the band has been revived as “Jeff Lynne’s ELO” and with a popular new record, it tours both actively and successfully.
- Joan Baez
If ELO brought more sounds to rock, Joan Baez provided it with more consequence. Emerging as one of the legendary folk singers from the 1959 Newport Folk Festival, the musician led the people throughout the political turbulence of the 1960s and 1970s with her words and American music.
Influenced by Pete Seeger and gifted with both popularity and social power, her songs and interpretations fueled music with themes of activism and rights; while not a downright rocker, her influence was essential in awakening within rock musicians an awareness of social issues, paving the way for others to write politically and socially conscious songs.
The band behind “Don’t Stop Believin”, Journey led a golden age during the 1970s and 1980s. With both glorious stadium anthems and passionate ballads, Journey produced its powerful signature sound that eventually came to define the entire era.
The two most definitive, key elements to the band’s popular, yet distinctive music were Neal Schon’s much-acclaimed guitar and Steve Perry’s unforgettable, and unbelievable singing. The guitarist, recognized by greats such as Santana and Eric Clapton, provides the band with a classic soulful blues, while blending with the era-defining synthesizers and drums. All of this is led by unfettered voice. Strong and melodic, Journey led the crowds. To this day, Journey remains dominant as one of rock’s most iconic and encouraging bands.
- Pearl Jam
With its 1991 power-debut album, “Ten”, the 1990-formed Pearl Jam signaled its dominance over the 90s alternative rock genre. Influenced by both classics and 1970s rebels, Pearl Jam was immediately aggressive and thick, earning huge success while keeping their emotional and raging sound untouched.
With singer Eddie Vedder who became an iconic figure of the grungy 90s, highly inspired personnel with firm, and essential roots in classic rock, Pearl Jam since then has consistently been a lively, yet dependable modern band. They continue to face their commercial success with devoted rock music and a fan-friendly stance.
- Tupac Shakur
An icon of hip-hop, Tupac Shakur has become a source of influence to many who followed. Having lived a life that provided him with a rage of emotions and inspirations, Tupac wrote songs that revealed sensational and honest views on contemporary society, feelings, human lives, and most of all the lives of black people in America.
His career, short but dense, was stormed out at the end of his 25 years of life by a tragic murder. Yet its influence endures, as his rebellious, brutally true spirit continues to touch fans through commercial and widespread success. He has paved the way for later generations of rappers with a lot to say.
One of the great pioneers of the progressive genre, Yes is an English band formed in 1968. The band adventured in many different, often unknown directions, yet remained vivid and relevant through the long years.
Originally focused on traditional rock, pop, and jazz covers, the band went through several phases, experimenting with various styles. In the 1970s it steered toward progressive and art rock with major, successful albums, earning it the place between other greats such as Genesis or Pink Floyd. The 80s, however, was an era of pop—Yes stretched its borders even further. Still, the band maintained its quality and success throughout the years and eras, and while hiatuses and member changes were comparatively frequent, they did not undermine the band’s music that lives and tours to this day.
Let us know your favorites in the comments below!
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