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Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Announces 2002 Inductees - 2001-12-17


The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, honors the legendary performers, producers, songwriters and others who've made rock music such a part of American culture. Artists become eligible for "The Hall" 25 years after their first record was released.

The "Class of 2002", to be inducted March 18, was announced on Thursday. The six newest members represent rock styles ranging from "Memphis Soul" and early-1960s pop to the punk and new wave sounds of the late-'70s.

Next March, The Talking Heads and The Ramones, two of the "founding fathers" of punk rock, will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Today, the chant from The Ramones' "Blitzkrieg Bop" is heard before the start of every baseball game the New York Yankees play in their home stadium. It has become so familiar that it may be hard to comprehend how revolutionary, alternative, and just plain loud The Ramones sounded in 1976.

That same year, The Talking Heads released their self-titled debut album, and while many call them a punk band as well, their sound was very different. While the Ramones mostly stuck to simple three-chord melodies played very fast, The Talking Heads turned punk into an art form. Under lead singer David Byrne, they experimented with other styles, including world music and are considered to have spawned the alternative rock movement of the 1980s.

This is the first year punk artists were eligible for "The Hall," and voters pointedly snubbed "The Sex Pistols" and other British bands in favor of the "New York sound."

Gainesville, Florida's Tom Petty and his band, The Heartbreakers, are also entering the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, along with Gene Pitney and Brenda Lee, two rock singers with country influences. In addition to recording "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence" and "Town Without Pity," Gene Pitney also wrote hits for others. Two of his most famous songs are Rick Nelson's "Hello Mary Lou", and The Crystals' hit "He's A Rebel."

1960's "Sweet Nothin's" was the first of Brenda Lee's 30 hit songs released between 1960 and 1967. While she is often unfairly dismissed as a child prodigy who sang on national television at the age of 10, and made her first recordings the next year, Brenda Lee is one of the biggest pop stars of the early-1960s.

Dig deeper into her history and you will also find straight country and some surprisingly fierce rockabilly recordings. She's sold more than 100 million records worldwide, and at the age of 57, is still recording and performing around the globe.

Isaac Hayes rounds out the 2002 inductees. After working in Memphis in the 1960s, playing keyboards on Otis Redding's recordings for the Stax label, Hayes later wrote and produced hits for soul music stars Sam and Dave, Johnnie Taylor, and Carla Thomas, among others.

Isaac Hayes first hit as a performer came in 1971, with the release of the "Theme From Shaft."