(photo: Associated Press)
The punk trio Green Day is the 48th act to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility, joining acts such as Nirvana, R.E.M., and the Clash as first-ballot honorees. Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, Bill Withers, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, and Lou Reed will join them in the class of 2015 being inducted April 18 at Cleveland’s Public Hall.
In addition, Ringo Starr will be honored with the Award for Musical Excellence and the “5” Royales will receive the Early Influence Award.
Considered a shoo-in for their influence on the pop-punk bands of the last 20 years, Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt, and Tre Cool formed Green Day in the East Bay enclaves of Berkeley and Oakland in the ’80s, breaking through in 1994 and ‘95 with the album Dookie and the hits “Longview,” “Basket Case,” “Welcome to Paradise,” “When I Come Around,” and “She.” Their 2004 release American Idiot established them as one of the biggest bands in the world.
This year’s ballot finds several notable acts who have appeared on multiple ballots but did not make the cut. Eligible since 1997, Reed appeared on the 2000 and 2001 ballots; the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, eligible since 1988, appeared on the ballot in 2006 and the last two years. Soul singer Withers has been eligible since 1996.
Reed becomes the latest act to be inducted as a group member and a solo artist, joining musicians such as John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and Neil Young. Reed is being inducted for his “uncompromising stance in the service of his artistic vision” — often following commercial breakthroughs with daring, experimental projects that initially confounded both fans and critics only to gain recognition decades later.
The Paul Butterfield Blues Band — featuring Butterfield, Michael Bloomfield, Sam Lay, Elvin Bishop, and Jerome Arnold — led the blues-rock revolution in Chicago, introducing Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, and other legends to the rock scene of the mid-’60s.
A decade and a half after Butterfield and Bloomfield crossed borders in Chicago, Vaughan started Double Trouble and had a similar effect in Texas. Formed in 1978 and signed to Epic Records in 1983, Vaughan and his band recorded five albums prior to his death in a helicopter accident in 1990. Vaughan, who made the final ballot only once previously, 2008, received the vote of the fans this year.
Withers gets in on his first time appearing on the final ballot this year. Known for “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Use Me,” and “Lean on Me,” Withers started recording when he was 33 and left the business 15 years later.
In 1982, former Runaway Jett formed the Blackhearts — Gary Ryan on bass, Lee Crystal on drums, and Ricky Byrd, who replaced Eric Ambel, on guitar — after recording and releasing independently her self-titled debut in 1980. Through hits such as “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” and “Bad Reputation” that touch on glam, hard rock, and punk, and a take-no-prisoners approach to rock music, Jett became a major influence on the riot grrrl movement and continues to inspire female rockers. Jett and the Blackhearts had only appeared on the ballot in their first year of eligibility, 2005.
With Starr receiving the Award for Musical Excellence, created in 2000, all four Beatles are honored an individuals by the hall.
The “5” Royales, formed in 1945, were among the first groups to integrate gospel, jazz and blues into group vocal harmony. Their best-known work includes “Dedicated to the One I Love” (1954), “Tell the Truth” (1958), and “Think” (1957), all songs that would later become hits for the Shirelles, Derek & the Dominoes and James Brown.
The Smiths, Nine Inch Nails, Kraftwerk, N.W.A, Sting, and Chic were among acts on the ballot that did not make cut.
A voting body of more than 700 artists, historians and members of the music industry chose the 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame performer inductees. To be eligible for nomination, an individual artist or band must have released its first single or album at least 25 years prior to the year of nomination. The 2015 nominees had to release their first recording no later than 1989.
Induction ceremony presenters, performers, and broadcast information as well as additional details about the week of events leading up the show ceremony will be announced at a later date.