Pearl Jam and Tupac Lead 2017 Hall of Fame Inductees

With the latest inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced, the annual discussions and controversies are starting.

Last week, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced the newest inductees that will be enshrined this coming April. The list included two first-time ballot inductees, Pearl Jam and Tupac. They are followed by some long overdue inductees like Journey, YES, Electric Light Orchestra, and Joan Baez.

After being shut out for over 13 years with his band Chic, Nile Rodgers will be receiving the Award for Musical Excellence. Pearl Jam and Tupac are making history this year as they are the first two acts that started their careers in the 90s to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Now, with the inductees in place and an enshrinement date of April 7th, 2017 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, let’s take a look at the newest Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees!

Pearl Jam

For regular readers of my articles here at Topgolf, I don’t think there is much else I can say about my favorite band. I am really excited that they are first-time ballot hall of famers like their fellow Seattle contemporaries, Nirvana (2014). For anyone that knows Seattle music history, Pearl Jam may have never even existed if weren’t for the unfortunate death of Mother Love Bone's vocalist, Andy Wood.

On top of that, they are the only Seattle band from that time period that never broke up, went on hiatus or lost key members of their band due to a tragedy. Twenty-five years on and the band shows no signs of slowing down as they are now known as one of the best touring acts out there. For an example of why, check out my experience in Boston this past summer at two epic Pearl Jam concerts.

Tupac Shakur

Tupac took west coast gangsta rap to the masses. He has gone down in history as one of the best MCs of all time, way before this well-deserved induction came about. One of the most talented lyricists in hip-hop, Shakur left a legacy of music that is still being released. Tupac will be the sixth hip-hop inductee into the Hall of Fame thus far.

Being named the "Rock Hall," the inclusion of hip-hop artists seems to irk purists. I am ok with it, as I feel hip-hop has a “rock and roll mentality” to it. I am interested to see who accepts the award for Shakur and who will perform in his honor. Especially considering the sheer amount of rap artists he inspired during his lifetime. I for one hope that his east coast rival who’s sadly forever linked, the Notorious B.I.G, soon follows.

YES

YES have been eligible for induction for years. In 2017, they finally make it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It seems as though the Hall has softened up a bit on the progressive rock style of music following the induction of Rush a few years back. Widely known for their song, Owner of a Lonely Heart, the YES catalog goes far deeper than their popular tracks.

In the 80s, the band reformed with different members and went more commercial, hence the above single. It will be interesting to see who shows up on induction night, as nineteen musicians have been in the band over their almost fifty-year career.

Electric Light Orchestra

Another prog rock band, Jeff Lynne’s Electric Light Orchestra have been around since 1970, and are another long overdue induction. The band holds the record the most Top 100 and Top 40 songs without ever having a number one single (at 20 singles).

In fact, the band recently reformed a few years back after almost three decades of inactivity. Once again, due to the amount of members that have gone in and out of the band along with several offshoots from various members, it will be interesting to see who shows up.

Journey

The biggest “who will show up” question surrounds Journey. Journey was a massively successful band in the late 70s and early 80s. A lot of that success was due to great rockers and power ballads. The other was based off vocalist Steve Perry. He really hit notes that would leave you in amazement.

Throughout the years, the band has gone through lineup changes, most notably Perry leaving for good in 1998. The band went through a few vocalist changes before finding current singer Arnel Pineda of the Philippines on YouTube. Journey fans, including myself, are hoping that Perry shows up and performs with the band for the first time in 20 years. Only time will tell.

Joan Baez

Female inductees have been rare lately, so the inclusion of folk legend Baez is a nice change of pace. Part of the folk explosion in the 60s, the question here will be if regular collaborator, Bob Dylan, will make an appearance to induct Baez. Like Tupac and hip-hop, purists question the inclusion of folk artists. I totally disagree, and truly believe that rock has a connection to folk music as a big influence.

Nile Rodgers

After years of getting shut out of The Hall with his revolutionary funk outfit Chic, Rodgers is getting the award for Musical Excellence, so at least half the battle was won. Chic was a large influence on funk, hip-hop, and electronic music over the last 30 years, as their songs have been sampled, copied, and reimagined by so many artists we all know and love. A few years back, Rodgers was a big part of Daft Punk's big hit, Get Lucky. I hope that one day Chic gets the true induction they deserve.

Some notable shutouts this year were Nine Inch Nails, who didn’t even make it on the final ballot after two years of being listed, Janet Jackson, Janes Addiction, Depeche Mode, The MC5, and Kraftwerk, who essentially started the electronic sound using synthesizers and drum machines in the mid-70s.

In fact, Kraftwerk may be one of the most deserving bands when you realize the roots of so many modern genres like hip-hop, electronic, new wave, and techno can all trace their roots to Kraftwerk. I’m looking forward to first-time ballot nominees for next year; the biggest name and most likely first-time ballot inductees are Radiohead. They are followed by Rage Against the Machine, Dr. Dre, and Beck.

See you next year!

Check out the latest vinyl release from other Hall of Famers including The Red Hot Chili Peppers, as well as my review on Green Day’s newest release, Revolution Radio.