The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s has announced the 2016 inductees: Cheap Trick, Chicago, Deep Purple, NWA, and Steve Miller. The 31st annual induction ceremony will take place at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, on April 8, 2016. HBO will broadcast the ceremony.
Cheap Trick had perfected an extremely individual yet classic rock and roll band sound by the time it released its first album in 1977. The band’s records and concerts display a singular musical consistency over almost 40 years. Cheap Trick is led by Rick Nielsen’s classic and perpetually fresh guitar and the sweet power of Robin Zander’s vocals. The group’s original line-up with Tom Petersson on bass and the amazing Bun E. Carlos as the powerhouse drummer influenced pretty much every other hard rockin’ band that came afterwards.
Chicago Transit Authority broke onto the scene unapologetically in 1969 with their self-titled double album, Chicago Transit Authority. As the band began touring, under pressure from the city of Chicago, they shortened their name to simply, Chicago, and later released their second self-titled album, Chicago, in 1970. Chicago’s early lineup—members Walter Parazaider, Robert Lamm, Lee Loughnane, James Pankow, Danny Seraphine, and the late Terry Kath—created an unmistakable sound. Their inclusion into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is not only well-deserved, but an honor that has been overlooked. With more than 21 Top 10 singles, five consecutive Number One albums, 11 Number One singles—fans that stretch across the globe and countless bands that have followed in their wake, Chicago’s legacy is unquestionable.
Deep Purple’s noninclusion in the Hall is a gaping hole, which must now be filled. The group combined outstanding musicianship with dozens of FM radio smashes. Deep Purple has sold more than 100 million albums and their flagship track “Smoke on the Water” is possibly the number one greatest guitar riff of all time, inspiring tens of millions of guitarists to pick up the instrument. Genius guitarist Ritchie Blackmore fused countless powerhouse riffs with a deep knowledge and appreciation of classical music. Keyboardist Jon Lord kept pace on the classical and rock fronts and cemented the guitar/keyboard axis that defined the band’s. Ian Gillan’s vocal range was unparalleled and the boiler room rhythm section of Roger Glover and Ian Paice cemented the classic lineup. Original vocalist Rod Evans and the David Coverdale/Glenn Hughes line-ups also created masterpieces of their own. Deep Purple is and was a band of supremely talented musicians and songwriters.
NWA’s improbable rise from marginalized outsiders to the most controversial and complicated voices of their generation remains one of rock’s most explosive, relevant, and challenging tales. From their Compton, California headquarters Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, MC Ren, and DJ Yella would—by force of will and unrelenting tales of street life—have sold tens of millions of records, and influenced multiple generations the world over. NWA (Niggaz Wit Attitudes) has put their city on the map and solidified the disparate elements of gangsta rap into a genre meaty enough to be quantified, imitated, and monetized. Two decades before Rolling Stone would rank them 83rd on their “100 Greatest Artists of All Time” list, they were just five young men with something to say. Those five men, with at least twice that many opposing points of view among them, helped set the stage for hip hop’s emergence as one of this planet’s most dominantmusical life forms.
Steve Miller was a mainstay of the San Francisco music scene that upended American culture in the late ’60s. With albums like Children of the Future, Sailor and Brave New World, Miller perfected a psychedelic blues sound that drew on the deepest sources of American roots music and simultaneously articulated a compelling vision of what music. In the ’70s, Miller crafted a brand of pure pop that was polished, exciting and irresistible–and that dominated radio in a way that few artists have ever managed. In recent years, Miller has immersed himself in the blues. And, as always, whether he was riding the top of the charts or exploring the blue highways of American music, he is playing and singing with both conviction and precision, passion and eloquence, and making records that, quite incredibly, are at once immediately accessible and more than able to stand the test of time.