Five first-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees — Pearl Jam, Journey, Electric Light Orchestra, Joan Baez and Tupac Shakur — will join three-time nominee Yes as the shrine’s 2017 inductees.
Nile Rodgers, frontman of 11-time nominees Chic, will also receive an Award for Musical Excellence at the 32nd annual Rock Hall induction ceremony, taking place April 7 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. SiriusXM will broadcast the ceremony live and it will again be filmed for a later telecast on HBO.
This will mark the third time in four years the induction ceremony has been held at the Barclays Center after moving from its previous Manhattan home at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. An on-sale date for tickets will be announced in January, with Rock Hall members receiving access to a pre-sale. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum in Cleveland will open a special exhibit on March 30 to honor the 2017 inductees.
The inductees began reacting to the news immediately. Yes drummer Alan White told Billboard that after two previous nominations, “It’s totally exciting. It’s a great pleasure to be recognized for something you’ve been doing all your life and get recognition in the industry for the amount of work you’ve put in and to have done something that changed the course of history, I guess, over time.”
Former Yes singer/guitarist Trevor Rabin concurred, telling Billboard he was “feeling very grateful about the news of Yes getting inducted into the Hall of Fame. Yes is a band that pioneered a genre and has always been eclectic in nature, and we’ve been so lucky to have such amazing and supportive fans that have championed Yes music in all its forms. It is with incredible pride that we accept this honor.”
Baez issued a statement, saying, “I never considered myself to be a rock and roll artist. But as part of the folk music boom which contributed to and influenced the rock revolution of the 60’s, I am proud that some of the songs I sang made their way into the rock lexicon. I very much appreciate this honor and acknowledgement by the Hall of Fame.”
Journey, as well as Yes and ELO, have often been cited as Rock Hall snubs in previous years. Keyboardist Jonathan Cain previously told Billboard that even being nominated felt like a victory. “It’s just been a little bit of a wait. I think it was patience. We just had to be patient. I figured it would come around,” Cain said. Journey, in fact, topped the fan ballot conducted by the Rock Hall, with 250,758 votes. ELO, Pearl Jam and Yes were also in the top five and each received a vote added to the tally cast from more than 900 Rock Hall voters.
Acts are eligible for the Rock Hall 25 years after the release of their first recording. In addition to Chic, others on the ballot this year included Bad Brains, Chaka Khan, Depeche Mode, Jane’s Addiction, J. Geils Band, Janet Jackson, Joe Tex, Kraftwerk, MC5, Steppenwolf, The Cars and The Zombies.