Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Embraces Alternative

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Next year’s contenders to enter the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame have been announced, with Green Day, Nine Inch Nails, and Sting being some of the first-time nominees up for induction. In order to meet the requirement of having been around for at least 25 years, this year’s crop of nominees must have released a debut album in 1989 at the latest.

Green Day and Nine Inch Nails are the first-time nominees just barely making the cutoff, having released their first records in 1989. Green Day’s first release was an 11-minute EP entitled 1,000 Hours, though the group’s first full-length that would make it hugely famous, Dookie, didn’t come out until 1994.  Nine Inch Nails released its debut album Pretty Hate Machine in 1989, which went on to become one of the first indie releases to go platinum, making the group one of the most popular and influential industrial bands of all time.

Other first-time nominees this year are the Smiths, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Bill Withers, and Sting, who is already in the Hall of Fame with his band the Police but is now nominated for his solo work. Artists being nominated for their second or more time include Lou Reed — who’s already in the Hall of Fame with his band the Velvet Underground but not for his solo work — N.W.A., Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Kraftwerk, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Chic, the Marvelettes, the Spinners, and War.

For the third consecutive year, fans have the chance to add their opinion on who should be inducted to the mix of industry professionals that make the decision via a vote on Rolling Stone’s website. From now until December 9, fans can vote on the site toward the bands that will comprise a “Fan’s Ballot,” one of the more than 700 ballots that will be used by the musicians, historians, and music industry insiders who vote to decide who deserves entrance into the rock Hall of Fame. It might not increase your favorite artist’s chances by much, but it’s something.

Each year more of the crop of nominees is comprised of younger alternative bands than ’60s and ’70s classic rock acts that have historically composed the Hall of Fame. Now the organization is embracing alternative as the genre gets older and more nostalgia-worthy. Billboard’s Rock Hall of Fame expert Gary Graff has predicted that Green Day, Nine Inch Nails, and alternative pioneer Lou Reed are all shoo-ins for induction.

Green Day and Nine Inch Nails might seem pretty young to deserve a Hall of Fame induction, but the stipulation requires that a band have been around for 25 years. Both groups fit that requirement and have been active in recent years, with Green Day performing at previous Hall of Fame ceremonies and Trent Reznor gaining acclaim for his film scores (David Fincher’s Gone Girl most recently). The attention on Lou Reed’s solo work following his death last year makes him a highly likely candidate for induction, and his music was a key influence on groups as different as Green Day, Nine Inch Nails, and the Smiths, as well as all of their alternative contemporaries.

This year’s entrants into the Hall of Fame were Nirvana, Kiss, Linda Ronstadt, Hall & Oates, Peter Gabriel, and Cat Stevens.

Follow Jacqueline on Twitter @Jacqui_WSCS

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