2011 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees include ’80s artists Bon Jovi, Beastie Boys, Alice Cooper & J. Geils Band

It could be a blaze of glory for Bon Jovi at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The Jersey boys are up for possible induction in the hallowed hall, along with first-timers Donovan, Dr. John, Alice Cooper and Neil Diamond.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame released its list of nominees Tuesday. There were some familiar names: Darlene Love, LL Cool J, Donna Summer and the Beastie Boys which have been up for the prestigious honor before.

Other previous nominees include the J. Geils Band; Tom Waits; Chuck Willis; Chic and Joe Tex.

To be eligible for the hall, an act must have released its first batch of music at least 25 years ago.

Inductees will be revealed in December, and the ceremony will be in March in New York City.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Press Release

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation Announces Nominees for 2011 Induction

New York (September 28, 2010) — The nominations for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011 were announced today.  The nominees are:

·    Alice Cooper
·    Beastie Boys
·    Bon Jovi
·    Chic
·    Neil Diamond
·    Donovan
·    Dr. John
·    J. Geils Band
·    LL Cool J
·    Darlene Love
·    Laura Nyro
·    Donna Summer
·    Joe Tex
·    Tom Waits
·    Chuck Willis

Ballots will be sent to more than 500 voters, who will select artists to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the 26th Annual Induction Ceremony. To be eligible for nomination into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, an act must have released its first single or album at least 25 years prior to the year of nomination. The 2011 Nominees had to release their first recording no later than 1985.

“We believe our nominating committee has put forth a list of artists that truly represent the wide variety of music that defines rock and roll,” commented Joel Peresman, President and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation.

The 2011 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees will be announced in December 2010 and the Induction Ceremony will take place on March 14, 2011 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be televised live on Fuse, Madison Square Garden’s national music television network.

All inductees are ultimately represented in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, the nonprofit organization that exists to educate its audiences on the global impact of the rock and roll art form via the museum, as well as its education programs and library and archives.

For more information, please contact:
Margaret Thresher, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum, 216-515-1215, mthresher@rockhall.org

About the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2011 Nominees

Before there was Ozzy Osbourne, Marilyn Manson or KISS, there was Alice Cooper, the original self-proclaimed “rock villain.”  Born Vincent Furnier, Cooper and his mighty band of the same name – lead guitarist Glen Buxton, rhythm guitarist Michael Bruce, bass player Dennis Dunaway and drummer Neal Smith – pioneered the dark spectacle of heavy metal with their huge blues-rock sound and extravagant stage show.  Drawing from horror movies and vaudeville, Cooper brought a new level of visual theatrics to arenas with guillotines, electric chairs, boa constrictors and fake blood; their 1973 tour broke box-office records previously held by the Rolling Stones, and raised the bar for major rock tours. What made it stick were some of the catchiest, most reckless hard-rock songs of all time: “Eighteen,” “School’s Out,” “No More Mr. Nice Guy.” Along with the New York Dolls and David Bowie, Alice Cooper was a starting point for the glam rock of the Seventies; it’s impossible to imagine the hair metal of the Eighties without them; you can hear and see the band’s influence in bands from the Sex Pistols to Guns n’ Roses. The original lineup split in the mid-Seventies, and singer Cooper would continue on with an evolving lineup; in the meantime, the pure shock value of America’s first shock rockers has faded ­ but their legacy is safe.

At different times over the past three decades, the Beastie Boys have been shaven-head punks, hip-hop bad boys, Seventies-funk students, political activists and style icons. Most important: they have had one of the richest, most important careers in hip-hop and rock, introducing rap to a huge new audience and then pushing the frontiers of what a hip-hop group could do.  Their 1986 debut album Licensed To Ill – a supremely bratty, hard-punching, pitch-perfect mix of rap and hard rock –  was hip-hop’s first number one album, and remains near the top of the Billboard catalog charts to this day. The single “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party),” became a teenage party anthem of the 1980s;  a generation of hip-hop fans memorized hits like “Brass Monkey” and “Paul Revere,” songs which are now part of the rap canon. Their follow-up, 1989’s Paul’s Boutique, was one of the high points of hip-hop’s golden age of sampling, piling hilarious, streetwise rhymes over everything from Loggins and Messina to the Ramones. In the 1990s, they came full circle musically, picking up their instruments and bringing back hardcore punk and funk into their music repertoire. They recorded three classic albums, Check Your Head, Ill Communication and Hello Nasty, and smash hits like “Sabotage” and “Intergalactic.” Along the way, they’ve kept experimenting with what a hip-hop band can be: becoming the most politically active group of their generation with the Tibetan Freedom Concerts; recording classic videos; putting their fans behind the camera with their film Awesome I F**king Shot That, and recording two new albums in the last decade, 2004’s To the Five Boroughs and 2007’s The Mix-Up.

Hard-working musicians and prolific songwriters from blue-collar backgrounds in New Jersey, Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, David Bryan, Tico Torres and Alec John Such created a dedicated global following that spans every continent.  Along the way, they have carved out a place on the charts with their most familiar songs – “You Give Love a Bad Name,” “Livin’ on a Prayer,” “Bad Medicine” and “I’ll Be There for You” in the 80s; “Blaze of Glory,” “Bed of Roses” and “Always” in the ’90s; “It’s My Life,” “Have A Nice Day,” the Grammy-winning “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” and “We Weren’t Born to Follow” in the 2000s.  Beyond the numbers – over 120 million albums sold (more than 34 platinum titles cumulative in the U.S. alone), more than 2,600 concerts performed in over 50 countries for more than 34 million fans, including The Lost Highway World Tour, ranked as 2008’s #1 top-selling tour, and 2010’s 30-country, 135-show The Circle World Tour – there is also Bon Jovi’s enormous influence on innumerable young bands seeking to follow in their footsteps.  Bon Jovi steadfastly follows their own instincts, ignoring obvious trends and providing a model for other bands and musicians just starting out on their careers.

Chic’s founding partnership consisted of songwriter-producers Nile Rodgers (guitar) and Bernard Edwards (bass, whose untimely death occurred in 1996), abetted by future Power Station drummer Tony Thompson (who passed away in 2003).  They pushed disco forward in 1977 with a combination of groove, soul and distinctly New York City studio smarts.  Rodgers’ chopping rhythm guitar beside Edwards’ deft bass lines were the perfect counterpart to melodic arrangements with their two female vocalists Alfa Anderson and Norma Jean Wright (replaced by Luci Martin).  Out-of-the-box chart smashes “Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah),” the #1 “Le Freak” and #1 “Good Times” (ranked on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Singles of All Time) made Chic the preeminent disco band – emphasis on the word ‘band’ – of the late ’70s.  Their music also extended disco’s tenure at a critical moment, as hip-hop (and later in the ’80s, New Jack Swing) began to take the stage.  Over the years, artists such as Sugar Hill Gang and Diddy have turned to Chic for beats and samples: “Good Times” has been checked everywhere from “Rapper’s Delight” and Blondie’s “Rapture,” to Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust.” Rodgers and Edwards followed their five years in Chic with careers as top-flight producers and writers working for an A-list of megastars.  Edwards worked with Rod Stewart, Kenny Loggins and Robert Palmer among others, while Rodgers produced David Bowie, Madonna, Mick Jagger and countless more.  Under Rodgers’ leadership, Chic has continued to tour, releasing live performances of its shows in Japan and Amsterdam.

Neil Diamond’s half-century as a prolific singer, songwriter, recording artist (nearly four decades on Columbia Records) is one of the eternal verities of American popular music.  He attended to pre-med studies at NYU, but was interrupted in 1962 by an offer to write songs for $50 a week at 1619 Broadway, the Brill Building.  Like many writers there, including fellow Brooklynites Neil Sedaka and Carole King, Diamond was writing as much for himself as for others.  Thus, “I’m a Believer” was grabbed up for the Monkees, who turned it into the top song of 1966 (followed three months later by their take on Neil’s “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You”).  No matter, because Bert Berns had already signed Neil to his new Bang Records indie label.  He rocked the Hot 100 in 1966 with “Solitary Man” and “Cherry, Cherry,” followed in ’67 by “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon,” “Thank the Lord for the Night Time” and “Kentucky Woman” (a Top 40 hit for Deep Purple in ’68).  Produced by Brill-mates Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, these acoustic-guitar-driven rock and roll songs were the first notches in Neil’s singles discography.  There are more than 70 U.S. chart entries to date including “Sweet Caroline,” “Holly Holy” and “Cracklin’ Rosie” (along with some 48 charted albums).  He has stayed true to his roots as a rocker onstage, including a performance at the Band’s Last Waltz concert.  Diamond continues to be a world-class, top grossing concert draw, slinging his custom Gibson flat-top with a fury that remains undiminished at age 69.

The first British folk troubadour who truly captured the imaginations of early Beatles-era fans on both sides of the Atlantic, Donovan Leitch made the transition from a scruffy blue-jeaned busker into a brocaded hippie traveler on Trans Love Airways.  As a folkie on the road with Gypsy Dave, Donovan became a Dylanesque visual presence on the BBC’s Ready Steady Go! starting in 1964 and released several classics: “Catch the Wind,” “Colours,” Buffy Ste.-Marie’s “Universal Soldier,” “To Try for the Sun” and more.  That changed in 1966, as he came under the production arm of UK hit-maker Mickie Most, and was signed by Clive Davis to Epic Records in the U.S.  Donovan ignited the psychedelic revolution virtually single-handedly when the iconic single “Sunshine Superman” was released that summer of ’66 (and the LP of the same name with “Season of the Witch”).  His heady fusion of folk, blues and jazz expanded to include Indian music and the TM (transcendental meditation) movement.  Donovan was at the center of the Beatles’ fabled pilgrimage to the Maharishi’s ashram in early ’68 (where, it is said, he taught guitar finger-picking techniques to John and Paul).  Donovan’s final Top 40 hit with Most was “Goo Goo Barabajagal (Love Is Hot)” in the summer ’69, backed by the Jeff Beck Group.   Donovan continued to record and tour sporadically during the 70s and 80s.  During the 1990s, Rick Rubin (after working with Johnny Cash) produced Donovan’s Sutras.  In the six years since Beat Café (2004), we’re learning just how much we miss Donovan.

New Orleans own Dr. John has been recording for more than fifty years. He is steeped in the rhythms and traditions of the city, and has spent his career championing its music. As he told New Orleans R&B historian Jeff Hannusch, “[New Orleans music] is part of whatever I’m about. The importance of it is beyond anything I do.” Born Mac Rebennack, he learned piano and guitar as a child. Schooled by Crescent City legends like Papoose Nelson, James Booker and Cosimo Matassa, Rebennack began recording in 1957; between 1956-1963, more than 50 of his songs were recorded in New Orleans. In 1965, Rebennack moved to Los Angeles and worked as a session player. Working with Harold Batiste, he created the Dr. John the Night Tripper character, a tribute to New Orleans musical and spiritual traditions that meshed perfectly with psychedelia. His first album Gris-Gris, was a masterpiece, evoking voodoo legends over a funky mix. In the first half of the 1970s, he released a series of albums that mixed New Orleans classics with his own original material, all driven by his remarkable piano playing and great bands, most notably his collaboration with Allen Toussaint and the Meters on “Right Place, Wrong Time,” a smash funk hit. He has produced albums for Professor Longhair and Van Morrison, collaborated with Doc Pomus on a group of songs recorded by B.B. King on There Must Be a Better World Somewhere (1981), and released several acclaimed solo piano records. In recent years he has become a spokesman for the city and its musical history, all while continuing to record creative, challenging music.

Four decades after releasing one of rock’s supremely hard-driving debut LPs, and nearly three decades after the splintering of the group in the early ’80s, the J. Geils Band reunited in the summer 2010, for a historic homecoming date at Boston’s Fenway Park with fellow bad boys AerosmithRolling Stone called it “the ultimate Boston experience” as prayers for a full-blown Geils reunion went skyward.  Because every time the J. Geils Band takes the stage, there is never any doubt: they are there to blow your face out.  The “College Of Musical Knowledge” is in session, and the faculty shows how the Back Bay beat gets done – led by Jerome Geils’ blues-boy guitar and Magic Dick’s harp (think: Little Walter meets Roy Eldridge), the bedrock rhythm of bassman Danny Klein and drummer Stephen Jo Bladd, Atlantic City keyboardist Seth Justman, and gravity-free, acrobatic Peter Wolf up front.  Former midnight hour WBCN disc jockey Wolf, -the jive talkin’ illegitimate son of Jocko and Symphony Sid – simply has no equal when it comes to commanding a stage, and treating a mic stand like a circus trapeze.  Packed fair and square with equal parts Chicago blues, big-city rock, and gutbucket funk, they deftly mix R&B covers with joyous originals by Wolf-Justman and the enigmatic Juke Joint Jimmy (their Nanker Phelge).  To eyewitnesses and true believers, it never gets any hotter than the J. Geils Band layin’ their good thing down.

LL Cool J always had his sights set on rock & roll.  Born James Todd Smith in Queens, New York, LL was only 17 in 1985 when he recorded “Rock the Bells,” which included the following couplet:  “It ain’t the glory days with Bruce Springsteen/I’m not a virgin so I know I’ll make Madonna scream.”  A year earlier, LL had made his debut on Def Jam, which was also the debut of the label itself.  His first two singles – “I Need a Beat” followed by “I Want You” – sketched out the two main gears of his career:  testosterone-maddened battle raps and tender, sexy love songs.  The former included “I Can’t Live Without My Radio” (1985), “Jack the Ripper” (1987) and “Mama Said Knock You Out” (1991).  The stylish aggression built into these songs influenced no less a figure than Michael Jackson, who cut “Bad” after meeting LL in person – and after LL himself cut “I’m Bad.” The love songs may have been even more influential and popular.  When “I Need Love” went to Number One on Billboard’s Hot R&B Singles chart in 1987, it was the first rap recording ever to reach that summit. Like Stevie Wonder at Motown, LL Cool J has spent the whole of his 26-year career at Def Jam.  His success in music has served as a launching pad to concurrent careers in the movies, on television, in fashion, and in fitness.

Darlene Love was a high school sophomore in California with a powerful church choir voice when she joined the popular girl group the Blossoms as their first lead singer in 1958.  They shot to immortality in 1962, when producer Phil Spector used them as surrogates on his new Crystals’ singles.  With “He’s a Rebel” and “He’s Sure The Boy I Love,” Darlene Love turned into a familiar (though uncredited) voice on radio and records; she also became a member of Spector’s Bob B. Soxx and the Blue JeansDarlene’s own 1963 hits made her a household name, “(Today I Met )The Boy I’m Gonna Marry,” “Wait Till My Bobby Gets Home,” “A Fine Fine Boy,” “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” – a quartet of tailor-made Ellie GreenwichJeff BarrySpector compositions.  By 1964, the Blossoms, who were regulars on TV’s Shindig, had graduated to first-call A-list session singers (check them on Elvis Presley’s ’68 Comeback Special).  Darlene left in 1973 to start a family, but the early-80’s roots-rock revival drew her back.  She starred in the Broadway ‘jukebox’ musical Leader Of The Pack (based on the Ellie Greenwich songbook).  U2 later invited her to sing on their 1987 remake of “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).” Ever since, Darlene’s annual wall-of-sound performance of the song (with Paul Shaffer and the CBS Orchestra) on David Letterman’s final pre-Christmas-hiatus show – became a high point of the season.

Bronx-born singer, songwriter and pianist Laura Nyro (1947-1997) was still a teenager in 1966 when she recorded her debut album, and Peter, Paul and Mary cut “And When I Die.” At age 19, Laura played the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, which brought her to the attention of manager David Geffen.  He led her to Columbia, Laura’s record label for the next 25 years, starting with 1968’s iconic Eli and the Thirteenth Confession.  Other artists scored hit after hit with her songs, led by the Fifth Dimension’s “Stoned Soul Picnic” and “Sweet Blindness” in 1968 (then “Wedding Bell Blues” in ’69 and “Blowin’ Away” in ’70).  Over two consecutive weeks in October 1969, Blood, Sweat and Tears entered the Hot 100 with “And When I Die,” and Three Dog Night followed with “Eli’s Coming.” In 1970-71, Barbra Streisand charted three consecutive times with Laura Nyro songs, “Stoney End,” “Time and Love” and “Flim Flam Man.” Laura’s 1971 LP with Labelle, Gonna Take a Miracle, an entire program of R&B covers, produced in Philadelphia by Gamble and Huff, remains a classic four decades later.  Elton John acclaimed her influence to Elvis Costello: “The soul, the passion, the out-and-out audacity of her rhythmic and melody changes was like nothing I’d ever heard before.”  Laura’s tragic death of ovarian cancer at age 49 robbed popular music of one of its purest lights.

Raised on gospel music in the church, Boston’s LaDonna Andrea Gaines was perform­ing in the European tour of Hair in the early 70s, when she decided to settle in Germany.  In 1975, she began a long-term association with Munich song­writers-producers Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte.  They heard her lyric “love to love you baby” and, at the request of Casablanca Records president Neil Bogart, turned it into a 17-minute opus of orgasmic delight (Donna said she was evoking Marilyn Monroe).  The song was Summer’s U.S. chart debut and first of 19 #1 Dance hits between ’75 and 2008 (second only to Madonna).  Summer made chart history in 1978-80, as the only artist who ever had three consecutive double-LPs hit #1: Live and More, Bad Girls and On the Radio.  She was also the first female artist with four #1 singles in a 13-month period: “MacArthur Park,” “Hot Stuff,” “Bad Girls” and “No More Tears” (with Barbra Streisand).  Her first U.S.-recorded LP, 1982’s Donna Summer, produced by Quincy Jones, featured Bruce Spring­steen, Roy Bittan and many American rockers.  “She Works Hard for the Money” kept Donna on top in 1983, followed by the Top 10 “This Time I Know It’s For Real” in ’89.  Endless covers and sampling of her music by producers and DJs have kept Summer’s pioneering body of work on the front-line.

Joseph Arrington Jr. (1933-1982) was born in East Texas and laid to rest there 49 years later.  He had a glorious career that began with him singing gospel in church, and led to him winning a talent contest at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem in 1954.  Joe Tex’s recording career began with Syd Nathan at King Records in 1955, followed by sides at Ace, Anna, Parrot and Checker, as many as 30 singles that never saw the charts.  As a songwriter, however, he hit it when James Brown covered his “Baby You’re Right” in 1961 and took it to #2.  That brought Joe to publisher Buddy Killen’s Nashville-based R&B label Dial Records, an Atlantic imprint.  Jerry Wexler brought Joe to Rick Hall’s FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama in 1964, and “Hold What You’ve Got” became the first Southern soul 45 out of Fame to hit #1 R&B and Top 10 pop.  At age 31, Joe became a hit machine, with more than two dozen consecutive R&B/pop crossovers on Dial through the early ’70s.  Many of them became grist for young rockers (the Animals’ cover of “One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show”).  Joe’s music was also a building block of Jamaican toasters and early hip-hop.  He entered the Muslim ministry in 1972, the same year he scored his final #1 with the rude “I Gotcha” – though he encored five years later with “Ain’t Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman).” When Joe Tex died in 1982, his pallbearers were fellow Soul Clan brothers Wilson Pickett, Don Covay and Ben E. King, along with Killen and Percy Mayfield.

Only one songwriter could be covered by the Ramones (“I Don’t Want to Grow Up”) and the Eagles (“Old 55”).  Beginning with his first album in 1973, Tom Waits has carved out a unique place in rock & roll.  His music mixes Chicago blues, parlor ballads, beat poetry, pulp fiction parlance and – when you least expected it – heart-breaking tenderness.  His enormously influential live shows combine elements of German cabaret, vaudeville and roadhouse rock.  After establishing a successful early style as a wry singer-songwriter, Waits went through a dramatic expansion with Swordfishtrombones (1983). Disregarding musical borders and commercial considerations, he set off in wild pursuit of the Muse.  Waits has composed film scores, musical theatre and an operetta. He has co-written with Keith Richards and William Burroughs.  His songs have been covered by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Solomon Burke, Marianne Faithful, the Neville Brothers, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss and the Blind Boys of Alabama. He has recorded with the Rolling Stones, Bonnie Raitt, the Replacements and Roy Orbison.   A tribute to his great influence is how many of his songs have been recorded by artists who usually write their own – including Bruce Springsteen (“Jersey Girl”), Tim Buckley (“Martha”), Johnny Cash (“Down By the Train”), Bob Seger (“16 Shells from a Thirty-Ought Six”), T-Bone Burnett (“Time”), Tori Amos (“Time”), Steve Earle (“Way Down In The Hole”), Elvis Costello (“Innocent When You Dream”) and Rod Stewart (“Downtown Train”).

In his signature turban, Chuck Willis (1928-1958), an earthy singer and songwriter from Atlanta, has influenced every generation from Elvis Presley to Kanye WestWillis earned his sobriquet “The King of the Stroll” in 1957, for the popular teen-age line-dance that was directly inspired by his #1 R&B adaptation of Ma Rainey’s “C.C. Rider,” a folk-blues standard.  (It was white Toronto doo-wop group the Diamonds who actually scored the pop hit later on in ’57, “The Stroll.”)  A natural born shouter and smooth ballad singer, Willis first made the R&B charts with a two-year string of Top 10 hits on Columbia’s OKeh Records ‘race music’ label, starting in 1952.  The last of these, “I Feel So Bad” was an Elvis favorite cut by him in 1961.  When Willis hooked up with Atlantic Records and in-house arranger-conductor Jesse Stone, it was the perfect match.  The result was a litany of R&B/pop crossover hits, rock and roll at its finest from 1956 to ’58.  “It’s Too Late” (covered by everyone from Buddy Holly and Otis Redding, to Derek and the Dominos) and “Juanita” both featured the backing vocals of the Cookies (pre-Raelettes).  After “C.C. Rider” hit #1, Willis enjoyed great success with another folk-blues, “Betty And Dupree.” His next two hits are in the rock pantheon: “What Am I Living For” (immortalized by Ray Charles, the Animals and many more) and “Hang Up My Rock and Roll Shoes” (ditto by Jerry Lee Lewis, the Band and countless others).  If not for his death too soon in 1958 at age 30 (from peritonitis), who knows how far Chuck Willis’ star would have risen.

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For more information on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum including in-depth bios, picture galleries and videos on each nominee visit www.rockhall.com/inductees.

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