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Rock Hall Adds Six To The Class Of 2018

December 15, 2017

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2018 was announced on Wednesday.  Nineteen acts were on the official ballot and six of them made the cut for induction this April in Cleveland.  As usual, there is some controversy as to why some acts got in over others. When you take a look at the history of each outfit, you can honestly say that all of them are deserving of the honor.

Let’s take a look at each artist from this year’s class.


Bon Jovi- Hailing from New Jersey (and proud of it),  Jon Bon Jovi formed his namesake band along with keyboardist David Bryan in 1983.   Bassist Alec John Such, drummer Tico Torres and guitarist Richie Sambora soon joined the band and released their self-titled debut that featured the hit “Runaway.”  The band hit the mark with the multi-platinum selling Slippery When Wet and and several radio-friendly hits like “Living On A Prayer” and “Wanted Dead Or Alive.”


The band continued to have success in every following decade with hit albums including Keep The Faith (1992), Crush (2000), and This House Is Not For Sale (2016).


The band was not without controversy.  Alec John Such was dismissed from the band in 1994 and Richie Sambora left the band in 2013.  


Of course people are wondering if the band will reunite for a performance at the ceremony. In a radio interview Jon Bon Jovi has stated that “everyone is welcome” to perform with the current band.


Richie Sambora stated, "It's certainly an honor to be recognized by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and I am thinking about all of my heroes and my peers that have been inducted before me - it's great to be in that queue.  It is the best feeling. I also want to say how much I love my fans and thank them for helping us get here."


It will probably be the most-anticipated reunion of the evening.


The Cars-  Founding members Ric Ocasek and Benjamin Orr first met in Cleveland and were in several bands together before moving to Boston.  After meeting up with guitarist Elliot Easton, the group added drummer Dave Robinson and keyboardist Greg Hawkes to complete the quintet.


The band released the eponymous debut record The Cars in 1978 and had hit singles “Just What I Needed” and “Good Times Roll” as well as AOR staples “Moving In Stereo” and “Bye Bye Love.”


As one of the leaders of the new wave movement, The Cars continued to release an album every year for the next three years, all of which went platinum.


When MTV became popular, The Cars were right there making interesting videos including “You Might Think,” which won Video of the Year at the first MTV Video Music Awards in 1984.  They also had their first and only number one single “Drive” that was released the same year.


The band released a few more albums but officially broke up in 1988.  


Vocalist and bassist Benjamin Orr passed away in 2000 from pancreatic cancer.


In 2010, the four remaining members got back together and released Move Like This and did a small ten-city tour.  Although they have not been active since then, the band did not break up.


The leaders of new wave, the catchy riffs, the hand-claps and, of course, all of the great music make The Cars worthy of induction.


Dire Straits-  When I hear the name Dire Straits, I can’t help but hear Sting sing, “I want my MTV” and that great guitar riff.  Of course, Dire Straits are way more than that.  Mark Knopfler is considered one of the best guitarists of all time and the group's jazz and blues influences have left their mark on rock and roll.


Formed in London by the Knopfler brothers (Mark and David) along with John Illsley and Pick Withers, Dire Straits released their first album in 1978 that included the hit “Sultans Of Swing” which propelled the album to platinum status.


After a few experimental albums, Dire Straits became international stars with their album Brothers In Arms with the songs “Money For Nothing,’ “So Far Away” and “Walk Of Life.”


Mark Knopfler broke up the band in 1988 but brought them back together in 1991 for a five year run, until he disbanded the group again in 1995.

Hopefully the boys will play together one more time.


The Moody Blues- Finally!  The Hall Of Fame finally decided to put the Moody Blues on the ballot this year for induction.  Having been eligible since 1989 and a long time fan favorite, The Moodies are getting into the Rock Hall!


Based out of Birmingham, England, The Moody Blues burst upon the scene in 1964 and were a part of the British Invasion.  With the hit single “Go Now” sung by Denny Laine (who would later join Wings with Paul McCartney) the band was on their way.  Joining Laine were Ray Thomas, Mike Pinder, Graeme Edge and Clint Warwick.


Warwick left the group in 1966 and Laine was replaced in 1967.  The two new additions were bassist John Lodge and singer/guitarist Justin Heyward.  The new fivesome would release their landmark album Days Of Future Past that had the hits “Nights In White Satin” and “Tuesday Afternoon.”


The group continued to refine their progressive rock sound throughout the late ‘60s and ‘70s.  They had a career comeback in 1986 with the album The Other Side Of Life which contained the hit “Your Wildest Dreams.”  


Mike Pinder left the group in 1978 and Ray Thomas retired in 2002, leaving the Moodies as a trio for the past fifteen years.


Let’s hope another reunion is in store this coming April.


Nina Simone- This jazz, folk and blues singer came into this world as Eunice Kathleen Waymon in 1933.  She was born in North Carolina where her father was a preacher.  As a youngster, Eunice aspired to be a concert pianist and eventually went to the Julliard School of Music.


In order to make a living, the young Waymon decided to change her name to Nina Simone so her family wouldn’t find out she was playing “the devil’s music” at a nightclub in Atlantic City.


She had her first Top 20 single in 1958 with “I Loves You, Porgy” from Porgy and Bess.  In the 1960s she became a civil rights activist and released the song “Mississippi Goddam,” which was inspired from the killing of Medgar Evers and the church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama.


Simone continued to regularly record albums until 1974.  Then she would sparingly release albums until 1993’s A Single Woman.  However, she did continue to tour throughout the 1990s.


She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in the late 1980s and  succumbed to breast cancer in 2003.


Her music has inspired Lauryn Hill, Common and Kanye West (who has sampled her music), just to name a few.


Sister Rosetta Tharpe- This was the one artist I didn’t know much about.  After doing some research, it’s amazing that she hasn’t been inducted already!  Her singing and guitar playing style were  precursors to early rock and roll.


Born in Arkansas in 1915, Rosetta took up playing the guitar and at the age of six; she began accompanying her mother by singing and playing with her mother on evangelical tours around the South.


In 1938 she made her first studio recordings of gospel songs that included “Rock Me’ and “That’s All.”  “That’s All” has been cited by Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis as their early inspiration.


At a concert in 1947 in Macon, Georgia, Tharpe spotted a young Little Richard in the audience singing and dancing so she invited him up on stage to perform.  It was his first ever public appearance.


In the 1960s, Tharpe toured England with Muddy Waters inspiring a whole new lot of musicians.  Making this story complete, Graeme Edge was the backing drummer for that tour and now both of them are getting inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame together.


What an excellent class of musicians.  There are sure to be some amazing performances and speeches when the ceremonies get under way at Cleveland Public Hall on Saturday,  April 14th.

Article by Greg Drugan

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