2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees have been Announced

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The latest news from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Pearl Jam and Tupac Shakur are in. Janet Jackson is still out. And Nile Rodgers of Chic is in — sort of.

For its class of 2017, the hall has continued its twin trends of honoring 1990s rock legends the instant they become eligible, and of opening the door to older stars who have been shut out for years. Besides Pearl Jam and Shakur, the honorees include Journey, Joan Baez, Electric Light Orchestra and Yes.

The 32nd induction ceremony, which traditionally features an all-hands jam session, is planned for Barclays Center in Brooklyn on April 7, with excerpts to be broadcast by HBO.

Pearl Jam’s acceptance, in the band’s first year of eligibility, was largely seen as a foregone conclusion, after the hall welcomed Nirvana in 2014 and Green Day the next year. Those bands give the hall, which is based in Cleveland, a valuable hold on three giants of ’90s alternative rock.

As only the sixth hip-hop artist to join the pantheon, Shakur also builds on the hall’s modest representation of rap music. Like the induction of N.W.A earlier this year, the honoring of Shakur — still revered as one of hip-hop’s fiercest and most gifted lyricists — could give the broadcast a moment of excitement, although it is unclear who would accept the award for him. Shakur was killed in 1996, and his mother, the activist Afeni Shakur, died in May.

In admitting Journey, Electric Light Orchestra and Yes, the Rock Hall followed the playbook it has used with artists like Kiss and Rush — finally admitting megaselling but unfashionable acts long ignored by the hall’s most conservative voters.

Journey, whose “Don’t Stop Believin’” has become one of rock’s most enduring power ballads, was nominated for the first time, despite having been eligible for 16 years. Electric Light Orchestra was also up for the first time, while Yes, a standard-bearer of progressive rock, was on its third nod. Artists become eligible 25 years after the release of their first recording.

Journey’s induction offers the band a chance to reunite with its former lead singer, Steve Perry, who has not been with the group since 1998. (Journey has played with Arnel Pineda, a Filipino singer the band found through cover videos on YouTube, since 2007; Mr. Pineda will not be inducted.)

Ms. Baez may be most familiar to younger listeners for her cameo at a Taylor Swift concert last year. But her involvement raises the possibility, however remote, of an induction speech by Bob Dylan. Could the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame book the man the Nobel Prize organizers could not?

Like that of Shakur, Ms. Baez’s very presence puts in relief the hall’s definition of rock itself, which can paradoxically seem both strict and all-encompassing.

“I never considered myself to be a rock ’n’ roll artist,” Ms. Baez said in a statement. “But as part of the folk music boom, which contributed to and influenced the rock revolution of the ’60s, I am proud that some of the songs I sang made their way into the rock lexicon.”
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Ms. Baez’s arrival also points to an unfortunate characteristic of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: its few female members. She is the only woman among the inductees this year, and she is only the third to be inducted over the last four ceremonies, after Linda Ronstadt in 2014 and Joan Jett the next year.

The hall has frequently been criticized for failing to admit more women; it was one of Steve Miller’s many complaints at his induction this year. And among the 13 nominated acts who did not make the cut for the class of 2017 are Janet Jackson and Chaka Khan.

Other nominees this year who were not inducted include the Zombies, the Cars, the MC5 and Steppenwolf, all critics’ favorites; Depeche Mode and Jane’s Addiction, major names in alternative rock; the electronic pioneers Kraftwerk; the soul singer Joe Tex; the Massachusetts rock stalwart the J. Geils Band; and Bad Brains, whose furious speed had a major influence on the development of hard-core punk.

One nominee stands out for its repeated rejection. Chic, the disco-funk group led by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards that had hits including “Le Freak” and “Good Times,” was turned down for an 11th time, more than any other group in the hall’s history. (It took the Stooges seven nominations before they finally made it, in 2010.)

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Despite being turned down so definitively — or perhaps as a consolation prize — Mr. Rodgers will be given the hall’s award for musical excellence, a loosely defined prize that replaced the sidemen category in 2011, and last went to Ringo Starr. It is chosen by a separate committee from the 900 musicians, journalists and executives who vote on the inductees.

In an interview, Mr. Rodgers, who in addition to his career with Chic has produced hits for Davie Bowie, Madonna, Duran Duran and Daft Punk, said he was honored by the award. (Edwards, who founded Chic with him, died in 1996.) But like many observers of the rock hall’s secretive ways, Mr. Rodgers was left scratching his head about the choice.

“I’ve never been angry about Chic not getting in,” Mr. Rodgers said. “It’s just perplexing to me. I want to know why I am in and why my band is not. What’s the thing that makes me cooler than them?”

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