The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced one of the largest inductee classes in recent years on May 12, with six main inductees and seven inductees in other categories.
Foo Fighters, Carole King, Tina Turner, Todd Rundgren, The Go-Go’s, and Jay-Z were selected as this year’s main inductees. Foo Fighters and Jay-Z were inducted in their first year of eligibility, 25 years after the release of their respective first recordings. Foo Fighters leader Dave Grohl joins King and Turner as one of three musicians who are receiving their second induction this year, as Grohl had previously been inducted in 2014 as a member of Nirvana. Turner was inducted in 1991 as part of the Ike & Tina Turner duo, while King was inducted in 1990 for her songwriting work with her ex-husband Gerry Goffin. This means King is the first artist in the Hall’s history to be inducted first as a non-performer and then as a performer. King and Turner also join Stevie Nicks, inducted in 2019, as the only women to be inducted twice. The Go-Go’s were inducted on the first ballot they appeared on, although they have been eligible for several years. Todd Rundgren was the only artist selected for induction this year who had previously appeared on the ballot, having previously been nominated in 2019 and 2020.
Alongside these main inductees, the Hall has inducted several other individuals in other categories. LL Cool J, who was on the ballot this year, was inducted through the “Award for Musical Excellence”, a somewhat amorphous category that has been used in the past to induct Ringo Starr and Nile Rodgers. 2021 marked LL’s sixth time on the ballot. The other two inductees in the Musical Excellence category harken back to its original use of inducting session musicians, or “sidemen”: guitarist Randy Rhoads, known for his work with Ozzy Osbourne, and organist Billy Preston, who is known both for his own hits like “Nothing from Nothing” and “Will It Go Round in Circles?” but also his session work for other artists.
The Hall also inducted three artists in their Early Influences category, which has been used since the Hall’s inception to induct influential artists who pre-dated the creation of rock ‘n’ roll. Only one of those inductees, Delta blues singer and guitarist Charley Patton, qualified under those original perimeters. This year, the Hall has expanded that definition to include artists who recorded after the 1950s and influenced other styles of music or rock genres. The German electronic pioneers Kraftwerk had appeared on six ballots in the past, but were absent from the 2021 list, and are instead getting their due in this category for their influence on all electronic music that came after them. The third inductee is poet, spoken word artist and singer Gil Scott-Heron, whose musical style was highly influential on the development of hip-hop. The last inductee is record executive Clarence Avant, who was selected under the non-performer category.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s induction ceremony is scheduled to take place on Oct. 3 at the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland, OH, about a mile from the Hall’s museum. The event will be simulcast on the Hall’s SiriusXM channel and will be aired later in the year on HBO and HBO Max.