The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2021 inductees have been revealed. The inductees include Jay-Z, Foo Fighters, Tina Turner, the Go-Go’s, Todd Rungen and Carole King. Gil Scott-Heron, Kraftwerk and LL Cool J will also receive special honors.
It’s the first year that Jay-Z and Foo Fighters were eligible for induction, but Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl had previously been inducted as a member of Nirvana. Carole King was also a previous inductee for her work with her ex-husband, Gerry Goffin. Turner had been inducted previously as well, also alongside her ex-husband, Ike Turner, best known for their major hit together, “River Deep – Mountain High.”
Before King and Turner, Stevie Nicks had been the only woman to have been inducted multiple times. It’s also the first year that three women artists have been inducted as performers, which makes it “the most diverse class of inductees in the history of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame,” according to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation Chairman John Sykes.
As for the awards outside the performers category, Sykes stated, “It’s important to note that these special committee awards give the artist the same exact honor as they do a performer. They’re put up on the same wall next to the performance inductees.” Although LL Cool J and Kraftwerk had previously been nominated in the performers category and missed the cut, the foundation will be recognizing them with special committee awards this year.
Kraftwerk, Gil Scott-Heron and Charley Patton will deservedly be this year’s recipients of the Early Influence Award. Kraftwerk were the electronic pioneers who spearheaded the synth-pop genre and are among the grandfathers of electronic dance music as a whole for their impact on electro and techno music. Gil Scott-Heron was not only a well-respected soul singer, but also a jazz-poet with a delivery that was highly influential on rap music. Charley Patton was one of the best known original delta blues musicians alongside legends like Son House and Robert Johnson.
The Musical Excellence Award will go to Billy Preston, LL Cool J and Randy Rhoads. Preston had a long career as an R&B artist and soul singer. LL Cool J is the old school rapper behind major hip hop classics like “Mama Said Knock You Out,” “Doin’ It” and “Hey Lover.” Randy Rhoads was the former Quiet Riot guitarist better known for his collaborations with Ozzy Osbourne.
There’s also the Ahmet Ertegun Award given to one non-performing industry professional each year, which will go to Clarence Avant in 2021. Avant is also known as “The Black Godfather,” and managed major singers like Sarah Vaughan, Luiz Bonfa, Freddie Hubbard and Tom Wilson, among other musicians and producers. He also joined Venture Records with major record company MGM Records and later founded Sussex Records.
The ceremony is set to take place in Cleveland on October 30, 2021, where it will be held indoors at the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse arena if everything goes as planned. Tickets for it will go on-sale sometime in July.
Other 2021 nominees that didn’t make it into the hall of fame this year include Kate Bush, Chaka Khan, Devo, Dionne Warwick, Fela Kuti, Iron Maiden, Mary J. Blige, New York Dolls and Rage Against The Machine. There are also some artists who were surprisingly left out of the 2021 nominations altogether in spite of past nominations, such as Bad Brains, Eric B. & Rakim, Eurythmics, Gram Parsons, Jane’s Addiction, John Prine, Judas Priest, MC5, Motörhead, Pat Benatar, The Replacements, The Smiths, Soundgarden and Thin Lizzy.
Photo credit: Boston Lynn Schulz