What do Randy Newman, Heart, Public Enemy, Rush, Donna Summer, and Albert King have in common? (This is not the set-up for a terrible joke, promise). Aside from all being decidedly un-rock and roll (with the exception of Rush), they are the inductees for the 2013 class of Rock and Roll Hall of Famers. And while they may not be as traditionally rockin’ as one might expect, they are certainly music industry veterans worth celebrating—the last two, Summer and King, posthumously.
This year’s inductees seem well-aware of how un-traditional their induction is for a hall that recognizes rock and roll music, but with the blurring of genres and the loose definition of “rock and roll” as an entity, they also understand their own importance to music in general. While speaking to Rolling Stone, Ann Wilson of Heart explained it thusly: “Some people have an idea of what the shape of rock & roll is supposed to look like … We’re not really it. Personally, that’s why I think it’s taken quite a while … We’re always traveling and out there doing it. It can start to feel like you’re a tree falling in the forest, but nobody notices. So this kind of acknowledgement is really sweet.”
That said, their roles in the world of music are nothing to poo-poo. Albert King, an iconic blues guitarist, passed away in 1992, was considered one of the “Four Kings of Blues Guitar,” forever defining a style of music born and raised in the United States.
Summer, a five-time Grammy Award winner, was also the first artist to have three consecutive double albums reach number one on the United States Billboard chart, and also charted four number-one singles in the United States within a 13-month period. And she managed to do all that while maintaining a fabulous image and being one of the queens of the disco era in the late 70s.
If you’ve watched a movie in the last 40 years, you’ve probably heard the music of Randy Newman. Having penned iconic songs from Toy Story, Monsters, Inc, Pleasantville, Seabiscuit , he also had a steady and impressive career in songwriting since he was 17 years old. Newman is also no slouch in the awards departmentL he’ been nominated for an astounding 20 Academy Awards and has won twice. He also has three Emmys, five Grammy Awards, and the Governor’s Award from the Recording Academy (the people that host the Grammy Awards).
For Public Enemy, their inclusion is also historic, as they are only the fourth hip-hop act to be inducted. (Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five were inducted in 2007, Run-D.M.C. in 2009 and the Beastie Boys in 2012). There’s more to the group than simply being a jump-off for Flavor Flav‘s ridiculous catchphrases: the group have frequently pushed the limits with their politically-charged lyrics in their 30 years together.
Probably the most rock-related of the inductees, both Heart and Rush have found lots of success in Canada, and made headway into the United States in the 70s and 80s, having sold over 30 and 40 million albums, respectively.
This year’s induction ceremony will be held on April 18th, 2013 at the Nokia Theater and broadcast on HBO May 18th.
Are you surprised or happy about this year’s nominees? Let us know in the comments!
[Photo Credit: Jack Barron/Rex USA]
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