Pat Benatar, Eurythmics, Duran Duran and Carly Simon also get in, while Beck, Kate Bush and A Tribe Called Quest are passed over
Eminem, a protégé of Dr. Dre, was the first rapper in US history to release a year’s bestselling album (“The Eminem Show,” in 2002). Ms. Parton is a godmother of modern country music, whose songwriting reflects her hardscrabble roots in East Tennessee. Carly Simon, famous for chart-topper “You’re So Vain” and other hits, was one of the most popular singer-songwriters of the early 1970s.
The batch of inductees also nods to the 1980s. Duran Duran rode a new wave of dance-friendly, synthesized pop to global success, thanks partly to the fledgling MTV. The melodic new-wave duo Eurythmics (Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart) became karaoke fixtures with international hits such as “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).” After performing with his funk band, the Commodores, Lionel Richie blended R&B and pop on ending smashes like “All Night Long (All Night).” Pat Benatar combined arena rock and pop hooks on the soaring anthem “Hit Me with Your Best Shot.”
Five of this year’s seven inductees were nominated for the first time: Eminem, Duran Duran, Mr. Richie, Ms. Simon and Ms. Parton. Ms. Parton had initially rebuffed the nomination process—saying she hadn’t earned it—but recently changed her mind.
Eminem will enter the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, a feat matched in recent years by acts such as Guns N’ Roses (first eligible in 2012), Public Enemy (2013), Nirvana (2014) and the late Tupac Shakur (2017). According to the Rock Hall’s rules, artists need to have released their first commercial recording at least 25 years before induction.
An international voting body of 1,200 music executives, artists and past winners weighed in on this year’s 17 nominees, who were considered based on the artists’ influence, innovation and other factors.
Among those who didn’t make the cut: boundary-crossing pop chameleon Beck; art-pop singer Kate Bush; the late Afrobeat icon Fela Kuti; New York rap group A Tribe Called Quest; and proto-punk-rock bands New York Dolls and MC5.
Besides the main honor, several other music figures won ancillary awards, including heavy-metal band Judas Priest (“Musical Excellence Award”) and the late pioneering hip-hop mogul Sylvia Robinson (“Ahmet Ertegun Award,” named after the late Atlantic Records executive). All told, this year’s honorees included more women than ever, the Rock Hall said.
The Rock Hall also tallies a “fans’ ballot”—five artists picked through online voting by the public—that has a tiny impact on the overall tally. This year, all five of the “fans’ ballot” winners—Duran Duran, Eminem, Pat Benatar, Eurythmics and Dolly Parton—were inducted.
Write to Neil Shah at [email protected]
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