On Wednesday morning the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation announced its 2023 inductees for the Performer, Musical Influence Award, Musical Excellence Award and the Ahmet Ertegun Award categories.
At the top of the list sits the recently viral Kate Bush, whose ‘80s hit “Running Up That Hill” saw millions of streams after its use on the latest season of Stranger Things.
Immediately following Bush’s name sits the likes of Sheryl Crow, Missy Elliot, George Michael, Willie Nelson, the Spinners and Rage Against the Machine — who completed a massive reunion tour just last year.
For rap icon Missy Elliot, 2023 is the first year she was even eligible.
Heading up the Musical Excellence category is Chaka Khan, who recently celebrated a 70th birthday and her 50th anniversary in the music industry, which was honored by the Rock Hall with a new exhibit in March.
Following up Khan on the list are legendary songwriters Al Kooper and Bernie Taupin. DJ Kool Herc and Link Wray take the honor of Musical Influence Award, as well.
“This year’s incredible group of Inductees reflects the diverse artists and sounds that define rock & roll,” said John Sykes, Chairman of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation. “We are honored that this November’s Induction Ceremony in New York will coincide with two milestones in music culture; the 90th birthday of Willie Nelson and the 50th Anniversary of the birth of Hip Hop.”
A few notable nominees didn't make it into the Rock Hall this year, including Soundgarden, The White Stripes, A Tribe Called Quest, Joy Division and Iron Maiden. This year, more than half of the nominees were on the ballot for the first time.
To be inducted, an artist’s first record had to be released at least 25 years before nomination. Ballots are then sent to more than 1,000 artists, historians and music industry professionals who take into consideration an artist’s length of career, body of work, innovation and technique.
There is also a fan ballot that get's calculated into the artist voting.
"George Michael was top in the fan vote," says Amanda Pecsenye, the director of curatorial affairs at the Rock Hall. "I think a lot of people will be really happy that he made it in. ... He's no longer with us, but it's exciting to celebrate his incredible legacy as a performer and a songwriter and a producer."
Pecsenye also notes a shift over the last few years among the artist voting, trending toward inclusivity of adjacent genres and welcoming a more diverse list of inductees.
"Particularly over the last three years, gender inclusivity is trending upward with our inductees," she says. "We have more people of color being inducted and, also sonically, I think we're getting more diverse and kind of really showing the depth and breadth of what rock 'n' roll encompasses — it's it's not just for guys with guitar, bass and drums — It's a whole spectrum and it's a spirit that's really, really inclusive and also always evolving."
The 38th annual induction ceremony is expected to take place at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on Nov. 3. The 2022 inductee exhibit at the Rock Hall will remain for a few more months before being replaced by the 2023 exhibit shortly before the upcoming ceremony.
Find more details about this year's class of Rock Hall inductees at rockhall.com.
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