On December 17, 2015, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced its crop of inductees for 2016. N.W.A, the only non-rock act, will be inducted along with classic rock legends Deep Purple, Cheap Trick, Steve Miller and Chicago on April 8, 2016, at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.
The Rock Hall’s lone hip-hop inductee, N.W.A, played an essential role in the rise of gangsta rap and West Coast hip-hop in the late ’80s. In addition to their fiercely uncompromising sound and controversial social commentary, the group is renowned for launching the careers of Ice Cube, Eazy-E and Dr. Dre. Earlier this year the group’s stormy history was immortalized in the critically lauded, Hollywood biopic Straight Outta Compton.
Formed in Hertford, England, in 1968, Deep Purple are fundamental to the evolution of heavy metal and hard rock. Between 1970 and ’74, they released a string of brilliant records, including Deep Purple in Rock, Machine Head and Burn, which placed them alongside Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin in terms of influence. The legacy-defining “Smoke on the Water” stands as one of rock ’n’ roll’s most famous anthems.
Chicago, originally named Chicago Transit Authority, also emerged at the dawn of the ’70s. Featuring punchy horns, complex arrangements and soulful grooves, the ensemble helped to put jazz rock on the map. Early Chicago was one of rock’s hottest concert draws thanks to their fiery musicianship and improv skills. In 1971, they unleashed Chicago at Carnegie Hall, a landmark four-record set that captured their onstage prowess.
Steve Miller is one of the most successful recording artists in the history of rock. The Steve Miller Band initially made a name for themselves in the late ’60s, as part of San Francisco’s acid rock scene. After releasing several underground favorites, the singer and guitarist steered them into a laidback, pop-driven style, resulting in a string of infectious hits, from “The Joker” to “Rock’n Me.”
Talking about catchy rock, few acts have proven as adept at hook-laden genius as Cheap Trick. Marrying hard rock heft to Beatle-esque songcraft, the quartet of Robin Zander, Rick Nielsen, Tom Petersson and Bun E. Carlos defined power pop in the late ’70s. They were super cool and incredibly witty. Released in 1979, Cheap Trick at Budokan is regarded as one of rock music’s great live records.
Tickets for the 31st annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony go on sale to the public in February. HBO plans to film the ceremony for a later airing (tentatively scheduled for spring). For more information check out the official Rock Hall website.