Rock bands Van Halen and R.E.M. have made the cut for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, along with punk poet Patti Smith, pioneering rappers Grandmaster
Flash and the Furious Five, and 1960s girl group the Ronettes, organizers said on Monday.
They will be honored at a black-tie ceremony in New York on
March 12, the main fund-raiser for the Rock and Roll Hall of
Fame and Museum in Cleveland.
Inductees are chosen by music industry insiders from a short-list of acts who become eligible for consideration 25 years after their first recording. Those who did not make the cut were punk rock band the Stooges, English pop combo the Dave
Clark Five, funk combo Chic, and late soul singer Joe Tex.
The inductees often perform, which would present a dilemma for Van Halen, the Los Angeles rock band with such hits as “Hot for Teacher” and “Why Can’t This Be Love.”
The band self-combusted in recent years. Dutch-born guitarist Eddie Van Halen and his drummer brother Alex are the only original members left after original singer David Lee Roth left in the mid 1980s, his replacement Sammy Hagar was fired in
1996, and bass player Michael Anthony quit last year and was replaced by Eddie’s 15-year-old son Wolfgang.
R.E.M. emerged from the college rock scene in Athens,
Georgia to enjoy mainstream success with songs such as “Losing
My Religion” and “The One I Love.”
R.E.M. is also out without its original drummer, Bill
Berry, who quit amicably in 1997, but has occasionally reunited with his colleagues, singer Michael Stipe, bassist Mike Mills and guitarist Peter Buck.
Grandmaster Flash, born Joseph Saddler, pioneered hip-hop in the 1970s by transforming the record turntable into a musical instrument. The DJ recruited rappers to perform over his music, and thus was born the Furious Five — Kid Creole,
Cowboy, Melle Mel, Mr. Ness, and Raheim. Their tune “The
Message,” a gritty account of ghetto life, was a worldwide smash in 1982.
Smith became a major figure on the New York punk rock scene in the 1970s, thanks to such singles as “Hey Joe”/”Piss
Factory” and her 1975 album “Horses,” which mixed Beat poetry and primal rock.
The Ronettes, formed by Ronnie Spector with her sister
Estelle Bennett and their cousin Nedra Talley, enjoyed huge success in the 1960s with such tunes as “Be My Baby” and “Baby
I Love You.”
The group was the beneficiary of producer Phil Spector’s
Wall of Sound technique, which overdubbed scores of musicians and instruments to create a massive roar. The Spectors were married in 1968, but divorced six years later.