The 2018 list of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees was released on Wednesday (Dec. 13) and the lineup reads like an all-star roster of rock radio favorites. First time inductees Dire Straits and The Moody Blues made the cut, along with New Jersey rock icons Bon Jovi and new wave standard-bearers The Cars, as well as soul-stirring singer/activist Nina Simone and early influence gospel singer Sister Rosetta Tharpe.
The 33rd annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony is slated to take place on Apr. 14 at the Public Auditorium in Cleveland, Ohio, with inductors to be announced at a later date; the ceremony will be broadcast on HBO as well as SiriusXM.
A look at this year’s inductees:
At a time when punk and disco were ruling the charts, England’s Dire Straits conquered rock radio in the late 1970s and early 1980s thanks to singer/guitarist Mark Knopfler’s laconic vocal style and crisp, bluesy guitar lines on such enduring hits as “Sultans of Swing,” “Romeo and Juliet” and the MTV smash “Money for Nothing.” Members to be inducted include Mark Knopfler, David Knopfler, Alan Clark, Guy Fletcher, John Illsey and Pick Withers.
Prog rockers The Moody Blues have endured for more than half a century, morphing from an R&B band to psychedelic warriors who birthed the classic orchestral rock album Days of Future Passed, which included their signature hit “Nights in White Satin.” After influencing a generation of prog bands including Yes and Genesis, the group refocused their sound in the 1980s and scored a top 10 hit with the poppy “Your Wildest Dreams.” Members to be inducted include Justin Hayward, Graeme Edge, John Lodge, Mike Pinder and Ray Thomas.
Formed by singer Ric Ocasek and late singer/bassist Benjamin Orr in 1976, Boston-bred new wavers The Cars melded radio-friendly hooks with a quirky sensibility that landed them 13 top 40 singles from 6 studio albums, including such iconic hits as “Good Times Roll,” “My Best Friend’s Girl,” “Just What I Needed” and “Drive.” The band became staples on MTV in the 1980s thanks to their pioneering videos before breaking up in the late 1980s. Members to be inducted include Ocasek, Elliot Easton, Greg Hawkes, David Robinson and Orr.
They’re seen a million faces and… you know the rest. New Jersey’s finest Bon Jovi rose from their hair metal roots to the top of the rock heap in the 1980s with a radio-friendly sound and one of the most charismatic frontmen in the genre’s history in Jon Bon Jovi. The blue collar legends have sold more than 120 million albums thanks to such ear candy smashes as “You Give Love a Bad Name, “Livin’ on a Prayer,” “Bad Medicine,” “Wanted Dead or Alive” and “It’s My Life,” to name a few. The members to be inducted include Bon Jovi, David Bryan, Richie Sambora, Alec John Such and Tico Torres.
Few singers in modern history have challenged assumptions and pushed the social envelope as hard and as melodically as Nina Simone, often called the “High Priestess of Soul.” Though she has been called everything from a jazz to a folk singer, Simone became a beacon for the civil rights movement thanks to her unapologetic anthem “Mississippi Goddamn,” as well as the defiant “Four Women” and “I Wish I Knew Hot it Would Feel to be Free,” In addition to inspiring everyone from Lauryn Hill to Mary J. Blige and the late Jeff Buckley, Simone’s work has often been sampled by Kanye West.
Early influencer Tharpe, often called the “Godmother of Rock and Roll,” blazed a trail for generations to come with her gospel folk and mastery of her signature Gibson SG guitar. From her 1938 recording of “Rock Me” through sold-out performances in the 1940s and 50s, Tharpe was known for her unique mix of gospel vocals and driving electric guitar playing, providing a template for everyone from Elvis to Johnny Cash and Little Richard, who she brought to the stage when the Rock Hall icon was just 14 years old.
Among the nominees who didn’t make the cut this year were: Rage Against the Machine, Eurythmics, Radiohead, Judas Priest, Kate Bush, Depeche Mode, J. Geils Band, LL Cool J, MC5, The Meters, Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, Link Wray and The Zombies. To be eligible for nomination, a band or artist had to have released their first commercial recording at least 25 years prior to their year of induction; 2018 nominees had to release their first official recording no later than 1992. Ballots for this year’s nominations were sent to an international voting body of more than 900 artists, historians and music industry members who weighed factors including musical influence on other artists, and length and depth of career and body of work, including “innovation and superiority in style and technique.”
Public ticket on sale information for the induction ceremony will be announced at a later date.