The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, that pantheon of performers who’ve rocked the world since Elvis Presley first shook his hips, will soon enshrine its 34th class.
An international panel of 1,000 artists, critics and others in the music industry is winnowing down the list of 15 finalists, with online balloting by fans also a factor in deciding who deserves a place of honor in the popular Cleveland museum.
To be eligible, an artist or group must have made its first recording 25 years ago. The shrine has recognized leading artists of rap, hip-hop, folk and related music forms, from the United States and elsewhere.
The chosen will be announced in December and feted at a televised all-star concert in the New York City borough of Brooklyn on March 29, 2019. Here’s a look at five finalists.
LL Cool J
The two-time Grammy Award winner began making music in his grandparents’ basement in the New York City borough of Queens in the 1980s and quickly emerged as one of hip-hop’s greatest artists. He possesses a resume filled with accomplishments, including a Kennedy Center Honor in 2017, accorded to artists who’ve made major contributions to American culture.
Few pop voices are more raw or instantly recognizable than Stevie Nicks’. Already in the Hall of Fame since 1998 as a member of Fleetwood Mac, the singer-songwriter has her first solo nomination this year. Her signature gypsy look, with shawls and flowing dresses, is unmistakable, but it’s that plaintive voice that speaks to new generations of fans. Among her hits are “Stand Back,” “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” (with Tom Petty) and “After the Glitter Fades.”
Todd Rundgren is the quintessential rocker, with such hits as “Hello, It’s Me,” “I Saw the Light,” “Bang the Drum All Day” and “Can We Still Be Friends.” Rundgren is also an award-winning multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter, as well as an engineer who produced hit albums for Grand Funk Railroad, Meat Loaf and Patti Smith.
If Janet Jackson’s career started in the shadow of her older brothers — the Jackson 5 (Hall of Fame inductees in 1997) and King of Pop Michael Jackson (inducted in 2001) — it didn’t stay that way long. The singer, songwriter, dancer and actress has been a dominant entertainer for four decades, selling 160 million records and winning five Grammys and 11 American Music and Billboard Music awards for music videos and hit songs including “Nasty,” “Black Cat,” “All for You” and “That’s The Way Love Goes.”
Most famous for their zany uniforms of jumpsuits and “energy dome” hats, these oddball punk rockers from Ohio took the music world by storm in 1973. “Whip It” was among their most memorable numbers, not to mention the inimitable stamp they put on their version of the Rolling Stones’ “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.”
This article was written by freelance writer Catherine Kiesel.