The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has announced the names of the artists who will be inducted during its annual ceremony on April 7 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. Pearl Jam, Journey, Electric Light Orchestra, Yes, Joan Baez and the late Tupac Shakur are among the performers representing this year’s class. Nile Rodgers of Chic will also receive the Award for Music Excellence, despite his groundbreaking band having only been nominated, not inducted, this year.
Of the inductees, only Pearl Jam and Shakur were nominated and inducted on their first year of eligibility. Artists become eligible 25 years after the release of their first record, making 1991 the magic year for 2017 inductees. Pearl Jam dropped their debut Ten in August of that year, and it went on to sell more than 13 million copies in the U.S. alone, led by massive radio hits like “Jeremy,” “Even Flow” and “Alive.” Despite being a member of the hip-hop collective Digital Underground prior to his solo career, Shakur didn’t officially reach eligible status until November 1991, when his 2Pacalypse Now album hit stores. Although tracks like “Brenda’s Got a Baby” and “If My Homie Calls” fared well on the R&B and hip-hop charts, 2Pacalypse Now was essentially a dry run for his platinum-selling follow-up.
Electric Light Orchestra celebrates its induction having just returned to the public eye (as Jeff Lynne’s ELO) with the release of Alone in the Universe, its first album in 14 years. The band released its first album in 1971 but didn’t break through in the U.S. until “Can’t Get It Out of My Head” hit the top 10 three years later. Journey’s first record dates to 1975, back when former Santana keyboardist Gregg Rolie was its lead vocalist. Steve Perry took over two years later and led the band through its greatest period of success, but the band now looks to Perry sound-alike Arnel Pineda as its singer. Journey’s lineup history should provide an interesting wrinkle when it comes to time to take the stage at Barclays Center in April.
Yes has been eligible for nomination ever since 1994, but only in recent years have fans come out strong in support of the prog-rock progenitors. Alternately, Joan Baez, a folk, not rock, artist if ever there were one, was inducted this year after being nominated for the first time. Rodgers’ induction comes as he experiences a late-career resurgence thanks to his appearance on songs like Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.” Tickets for the induction ceremony go on sale in January.