The 17th annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductions will take place on March 18 at the historic Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. To be eligible to enter the Hall of Fame, an artist or group must have released their debut recording 25 years prior to induction, and have made a significant artistic contribution to American music.
Pioneering punk rock band, The Ramones, will be among the newest inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. With their aggressive, three-chord rock, the band helped launch the mid-1970s punk movement in New York City, and infused the American music scene with some much-needed energy and attitude.
The Ramones' music was raw and simple, with the basic set-up of voice, guitar, bass and drums. Their lyrics spoke of frustration and rebellion, with a good dose of humor. The quartet played in the small, grimy clubs of New York City, such as CBGB's, which were filled to capacity with devoted fans.
The Ramones' induction into the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame comes just about a year after the death of founding member Joey Ramone, who died of cancer in April 2001.
Talking Heads often played in some of the same New York City clubs as The Ramones. With their literary, artistic approach, they drew from rock, funk, African and Brazilian rhythms. Talking Heads were considered innovators of the "new wave" movement, the pop outgrowth of punk. Lead singer David Byrne was influenced by avant-garde composers, and incorporated a bit of modern dance choreography into the group's live shows.
All the members were college-educated art students, who approached their songwriting and arranging with the purpose of creating audio pictures or landscapes. Hits include "Take Me To The River," "Burning Down The House" and "Wild Wild Life." Officially disbanding in late-1991, the members of Talking Heads are currently pursuing solo careers.
Florida rockers Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers also enter the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year. Formed in the mid-1970s, they have consistently presented songs about everyday struggles and frustrations, and the strength to carry on in the face of adversity.
While Tom Petty was writing about familiar subjects, a long, costly legal battle with his former record company almost finished his career. Once the conflict was resolved, Tom and his band came back stronger than ever with hits like "Don't Do Me Like That," "Free Fallin,'" and his duet with Stevie Nicks, "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around."
Other Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees include former teen idols Gene Pitney and Brenda Lee, and late guitar legend Chet Atkins. Isaac Hayes is also being recognized by the Rock Hall of Fame for his pioneering work in rhythm and blues music as an artist, songwriter, producer, actor and disc jockey. He gave momentum to the rap movement by introducing spokenword into R&B and soul in the early 1970s.
Artists from Barry White to P. Diddy claim Isaac as a major influence. He was one of the stars of the legendary Stax record label in Memphis, and became an icon for African-American pride. He also expanded into acting, and is the voice of "Chef" on the hit animated television show South Park. Isaac balances his career with humanitarian efforts for the people of Africa.