The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will soon induct its most diverse class yet. The selected nominees for the 2017 induction are Pearl Jam, Electric Light Orchestra, Journey, Yes, Joan Baez and Tupac Shakur.
The newest crop of inductees were announced Tuesday morning, and will be formally inducted in an April ceremony. This year’s induction marks the first year an honored artist launched their career in the 1990s, as is the case with both Tupac and Pearl Jam. The late rapper and the grunge pioneers were selected in their first year of eligibility for induction, per the Hall of Fame’s criteria that considered artists must be 25 years removed from the release of their first single or album. They both burst onto the music scene with debut albums in 1991.
Tupac is the first solo hip-hop/rap artist to earn the honor, signally an evolving trend in the selection process, as the genre flourished throughout the nineties and more prominent artists could be recognized in the coming years as they are deemed eligible. Hip hop groups Run-D.M.C., Public Enemy and N.W.A. were inducted in recent years.
A surprising pick is Joan Baez, the folk singer/activist whose songs fueled some of the most turbulent times in American history. However, like Shakur, her induction may spark more folk artists to be honored in the future. This trend seems especially likely given Bob Dylan’s recent Nobel Prize for Literature, proving that artists of all kind are not limited to any standard of achievement.
Less of a surprise is Journey, who firmly remain a staple of any good karaoke night, and join fellow classic bands of the 80s like R.E.M., The Police, Van Halen, Guns N’ Roses, AC/DC, Cheap Trick and more.
Rounding out this year’s class is Electric Light Orchestra and Yes, the progressive rock groups with a combined 34 albums between them. Both bands took interesting roads to get into the Hall of Fame, as Yes had been nominated each year since 2014, proving that the third time is the charm. Meanwhile, Electric Light Orchestra holds a record for having the most Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 chart without ever attaining a no. 1 hit. Nevertheless, both deserve the honor as much as their fellow inductees.