Akron's DEVO Among New Crop Of Rock Hall Nominees

Feb 11, 2021
Originally published on February 10, 2021 8:17 am

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced 16 potential candidates for induction this year. Now, a voting committee will trim the roster to about a half dozen inductees to be announced in May. Planners are looking to stage a live induction ceremony in Cleveland in late October or early November.

Mary J. Blige


Mary J. Blige [Andre Michael]

Known as the “Queen of Hip-Hop Soul,” Blige forged a musical fusion that came out of her tough life as a girl growing up in the Bronx. The in-your-face style of her early work softened over a series of multi-platinum albums that brought her a huge following and made her very influential for singers, ranging from Adele to Rihanna.

Kate Bush


Kate Bush [Gered Mankowitz]

This English singer blended folk, progressive rock and pop into a lush musical mix. Her distinctive sound was matched by sometimes mysterious, sometimes melodramatic lyrics. Her stage shows were filled with costume changes and pioneering use of wireless microphones.

DEVO

From DEVO's 1978 photoshoot in downtown Akron. [Janet Macoska]

From DEVO's 1978 photoshoot in downtown Akron. [Janet Macoska]

Two sets of Northeast Ohio brothers created a musical style that blended satire and social commentary. Born on the Kent State University campus, the band pioneered the use of synthesizers and music videos. DEVO's music thrived on oddball time signatures and syncopated rhythms for songs that were tongue-in-cheek celebrations of the de-evolution of society.

FOO FIGHTERS


Warren, Ohio's Dave Grohl  [Antonio Scorza / Shutterstock]

The death of Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain in 1994, left drummer Dave Grohl looking to reinvent his musical career. The Warren native did just that as front man for the Foo Fighters, an alt-rock band that filled stadiums and consistently scored in the pop charts. The group goes on the Rock Hall ballot in its first year of eligibility.

THE GO-GOs


The Go-Gos [ANL REX / Shutterstock]

Created in 1978 from parts of an L.A. punk band called The Misfits, this all-female quintet soon adopted a more pop, new wave style. They were unique among so-called “girl groups” in that they sang their own songs, played their own instruments and weren’t controlled by male producers.

IRON MAIDEN


Iron Maiden [Yulia Grigoryeva / Shutterstock.com]

Born in the English heavy metal scene of the mid 1970s, Iron Maiden gained and maintained a devoted following without much radio airplay. They continue to tour and are cited as influential for later bands like Metallica and Slipnot.

JAY-Z


Jay-Z [Debby Wong / Shutterstock.com]

Shawn Carter came out of the Brooklyn projects in the 1980s with the nickname “Jazzy.” He shortened it to Jay-Z and went on to dominate the world of hip-hop as a singer, songwriter, record producer and businessman. He goes on the Rock Hall ballot in his first year of eligibility.

CHAKA KHAN


Chaka Khan [A.PAES / Shutterstock.com]

As lead singer for the Chicago-bred funk band Rufus in the 1970s, Khan established herself as a full-throated soul singer. She then took those skills into a second career as a balladeer in the disco era. This is Khan’s third time on the ballot.

CAROLE KING


Carole King [DFree / Shutterstock.com]

Already in the Hall of Fame as a prolific songwriter, this nomination celebrates King’s career as a performer. She’s made 25 solo albums, including 1971’s "Tapestry," which held the no. 1 spot on the album charts for a record breaking 15 weeks. She was previously nominated in 1989.

FELA KUTI


Fela Kuti [Laurent Rebours]

The Nigerian singer developed a global following for his socio-political music in the 1970s. He also is credited with creating the highly influential Afro-beat musical style.

LL COOL J


LL Cool J [Dooley Productions / Shutterstock.com]

Queens-bred rapper James Todd Smith got his musical start as a teenager in the mid-1980s.  Smith’s stage name is an acronym for “Ladies Love Cool James” and he was a key figure in pushing hip-hop into the mainstream. This is his sixth time on the Rock Hall ballot.

NEW YORK DOLLS


New York Dolls [Wikimedia Commons]

Formed in 1971, the Dolls were progenitors of both punk and heavy metal. Between the band’s intense performances and their glam look, they influenced countless musicians in New York and London. This is their second time on the Rock Hall ballot.

RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE


Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello [Sterling Munksgard / Shutterstock.com]

Bred in L.A., the band uses an aggressive blend of punk, metal and rap to deliver political and social justice messages. Their self-titled 1992 debut went triple platinum, and their music returned to the Billboard and streaming charts during 2020’s summer of protest.

TODD RUNDGREN


Todd Rundgren [Tinseltown / Shutterstock.com]

For over half a century, Rundgren has established himself on multiple musical fronts. He’s performed as both a successful band leader and solo artist. As a songwriter, he’s composed numerous popular pop ballads. He’s also produced best-selling albums for other artists. This is his third appearance on the Hall of Fame ballot.

TINA TURNER


Tina Turner [Vicki L. Miller / Shutterstock.com]

Already enshrined in the Rock Hall for her work with ex-husband, Ike Turner, Tina is now under consideration for her equally successful career as a solo artist, starting in the 1980s. Her singing ranges from fierce vocal rave-ups to tender ballads.

DIONNE WARWICK


Dionne Warwick [Lev Radin / Shutterstock]

The soft-spoken, soulful balladeer charted a string of pop hits across the '60s, '70s and '80s, many written by the composing and songwriting team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David.

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