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Clash, AC/DC, and Police To Be Inducted Into Rock Hall Of Fame

For those about to rock, the Rock Hall salutes you – by inducting several heroes of metal, punk and new wave into next year’s class.

AC/DC, the Clash, the Police, and Elvis Costello and the Attractions will lead the class of 2003 when they are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 10, organizers announced Thursday (November 7).

Other artists recognized include blue-eyed soul singers the Righteous Brothers, whose “Unchained Melody” and Phil Spector-produced “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ ” remain classics. Sideman and non-performer inductees remain to be announced.

AC/DC, who formed in 1973 and released their first record in 1976, have been cited of late as one of the most influential hard rock groups sorely lacking in the Rock Hall’s pantheon of immortalized artists (see “Kurt Loder Weighs In On The Rock Hall Of Fame: Still No Sabbath, AC/DC”). Minimalist to the core, AC/DC showed countless imitators how to rock hard, even with a sense of restraint.

Though the Clash, Elvis Costello and the Attractions and the Police co-existed in the same scene, each had their own unique take on the sounds and energy of the then-nascent punk rock movement. The Clash, a pub band at heart that became one of the most politically-charged groups of their time, gave punk an idealistic and intellectual bent as well as a sense of purpose. They were also one of the more musically diverse groups, expanding punk’s original simplicity to include flavors of reggae, dub, Memphis soul, rockabilly and roots. The Police were punk rock, too, but only in the broad sense of the term. The power trio’s reggae-flavored sounds weren’t exactly punk, nor were they purely new wave – and in their crossover, they proved that punk could also be pop. Elvis Costello and the Attractions benefited from the raw energy of punk rock as well, but infused it with a singer/songwriter’s sensibility. Punk’s anger, passion and cynicism became literate with Costello’s first band – which included his essential musical partner, keyboardist Steve Nieve.

Considering that this year’s Rock Hall induction ceremony found the Talking Heads putting aside their legendary acrimony and performing for the first time in nearly two decades, next year’s class could set the stage for other possible reunions. Rock Hall executive director Suzan Evans hinted at this when she said, “The potential for historic performances is evident.”

Artists whose names were on the ballot but were not voted into the Hall include first-time contenders ABBA, Steve Winwood and Chic. Past nominees who again did not garner enough votes include Black Sabbath, Sex Pistols, Patti Smith, the MC5, Kraftwerk, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Dells.

Those set to enter next year will be invited to perform at the 18th annual induction ceremony to be held March 10 in New York. VH1 will broadcast the event, which traditionally culminates with an all-star jam session, on a date to be announced.

Artists become eligible for the Rock Hall 25 years after the release of their first record. Criteria include “the influence and significance of the artist’s contributions to the development and perpetuation of rock and roll,” according to the organization. In addition to performers, the Hall also honors sidemen/women, early influences and non-performer inductees each year. Those eligible in the non-performer category include songwriters, producers, disc jockeys, recording engineers, managers, journalists and other industry professionals.

The selection process for the class of 2003 began in the spring when the nominating committee – made up of around 60 artists, record executives, lawyers, managers, journalists and publicists – convened to brainstorm potential nominees. Their list of names was pared down to a ballot of 15 nominees, which was sent out to the 1,000 or so voting members of the Hall of Fame in September. The number of annual inductees varies each year from five to eight.

The class of 2002 ushered in six inductees, including the Ramones, Talking Heads, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and Isaac Hayes.

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