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U2, O'Jays Are Rock Hall of Fame Inductees

New York – Irish rockers U2, R&B singers The O’Jays and soul balladeer Percy Sledge are among five musical legends to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame during the foundation’s 20th annual induction ceremony next year, the organization announced Monday.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation will hold its induction ceremony March 14 at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Manhattan.

U2, which became one of the planet’s most popular bands in the 1980s with their megahit “The Joshua Tree,” is still making the charts: Their November release, “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb,” is the No. 2 album according to Billboard.

The O’Jays had eight No. 1 R&B hits during the 1970s and ’80s, including “Love Train” and “Use Ta Be My Girl.” Sledge will forever be associated with “When a Man Loves a Woman,” one of the songs that made him a figure in deep Southern Soul in the late 1960s.

The Pretenders and blues guitarist Buddy Guy will also join the organization’s Class of 2005.

The artists beat out an impressive list of nominees including Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five, which would have been the first rap group to be inducted; “Centerfold” singers the J. Geils Band, and the late country singer Conway Twitty.

Also, Frank Barsalona and Seymour Stein will be inducted in the non-performer category.

Barsalona is credited with creating the first legitimate rock and roll booking agency. His roster included acts like Led Zepplin, Bruce Springsteen

and the E Street Band and The Who.

Stein, who is chairman and co-founder of Sire Records, is noted as one of the most successful executives in the recording industry. He is known for signing artists like Madonna, The Ramones and The Talking Heads.

Musicians, industry professionals and journalists vote on the nominations, which were announced in September. Artists are eligible to be inducted into the Rock Hall after at least 25 years have passed since their first record was released.

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