This year’s list of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees offers a musical cornucopia of styles. From the New Orleans boogie-woogie voodoo soul of Dr. John to Tom Waits’ boho preacher-poet performance art, Neil Diamond’s overwrought pop histrionics, Darlene Love’s girl-group R&B and Alice Cooper’s goth/glam rock theater of the macabre, the Hall of Fame class of 2011 is set to take the stage for their honors on March 14 at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York City.
With the exception of Waits, all of the inductees are first-time nominees. While all are probably popping corks now, that means, of course, that a number of younger acts didn’t make the list. These include multiple nominees the Beastie Boys and LL Cool J, first-time nominee Bon Jovi and veteran acts J. Geils Band, Donna Summer and Chic.
Cooper, 62, whose onstage theatrics include macabre set pieces such as guillotines and gallows, told Billboard that he felt it was about time his band got a nod. “I’ve always felt the same way about this whole thing,” said Cooper, whose classic hits includes “I’m Eighteen” and “School’s Out,” teenage rebellion anthems for the ages recorded by a band he started 45 years ago in high school. “I kind of sat back and said, ‘It will happen eventually.’ ”
Artists are eligible for induction 25 years after the release of their first single or album.
Diamond told Rolling Stone that he was proud to join the institution. “I think it’s great. I’m happy that they recognized me and my work,” he said. “Any club that has Chuck Berry and Little Richard and the Everly Brothers is a club that I want to be a part of.” The 69-year-old crooner best known for hits such as “Cherry, Cherry,” “Sweet Caroline” and “Song Sung Blue” was not nearly as surprised by the honor as Love, who told the magazine that she was on her way to play a private Christmas party in Atlantic City when she found out.
“I was just stunned for a minute. … I was laughing and crying at the same time. I’m still on cloud nine,” said Love, who is best known for her work with imprisoned “Wall of Sound” producer Phil Spector on such early 1960s hits as “He’s a Rebel” and “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).”