Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2023 nominees: George Michael, Missy Elliott, Willie Nelson top the list
Last year: Dolly. This year: Willie.
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame may honor another country legend in its 2023 class – Willie Nelson – while 13 other nominated artists continue to expand the hall's purview beyond the archetypal definition of rock.
The rest of the artists who round out this year's tally:
Kate Bush: The British songstress was back in pop-culture headlines last year with the resurrection of her biggest hit, "Running Up That Hill," featured in Netflix's "Stranger Things."
Sheryl Crow: Her debut album, "Tuesday Music Club," released in 1993, led to immediate stardom with "All I Wanna Do," and a durable three-decade-plus career.
Missy Elliott: The rap maven has consistently been recognized as a creative pioneer, from her songs ("Work It") to her videos, including "The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)."
Iron Maiden: One of metal's most enduring bands, Iron Maiden was first nominated for Rock Hall consideration in 2021, though it's been eligible since 2005.
Joy Division/New Order: "Love Will Tear Us Apart" distinguished British Dark New Wavers Joy Division; following the suicide of singer Ian Curtis, the remaining members formed New Order, which blended their New Wave roots with electronica.
Cyndi Lauper: Her 1983 debut, "She's So Unusual," made Lauper an instant household name with seminal hits – and videos – for "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" and "Time After Time."
George Michael: Following his success in Wham!, Michael forged an impressive solo career that spotlighted his pop instincts ("Faith") as well as interest in jazz ("Kissing a Fool") and dance ("Fastlove").
Rage Against the Machine: Blending rap, hard rock and outspoken views on politics and social issues, this marks the California-based band's fifth nomination.
Soundgarden: Charismatic frontman Chris Cornell died in 2017, but the band's Seattle-bred brew of alt-rock-metal remains highly respected.
The Spinners: Previously nominated in 2011, 2014 and 2015, the R&B hitmakers ("Could It Be I'm Falling in Love," "I'll Be Around") are still on the minds of the nominating committee.
A Tribe Called Quest: Considered one of the groundbreaking hip-hop collectives birthed in Queens, New York, the quartet of Q-Tip, Jarobi White, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and the late Phife Dog will be remembered for rap classics including "Bonita Applebum" and "Check the Rhime."
The White Stripes: The duo of Jack and Meg White produced their most successful output between 2002 and 2007 – a relatively short duration that spawned the stadium anthem, "Seven Nation Army" and garage rocker "Icky Thump."
Warren Zevon: The rock singer-songwriter, who died in 2003, will always be known to casual fans for "Werewolves of London," but his real genius came in some of the songs written for other artists, such as "Poor Poor Pitiful Me" and "Hasten Down the Wind."
Both Elliott and The White Stripes earned nods in their first year of eligibility – the first commercial recording must have been released at least 25 years before a nomination – while Crow, Lauper, Michael, Nelson, Zevon and Joy Division/New Order are making their ballot debuts.
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Rage Against the Machine, A Tribe Called Quest and Bush all picked up nominations last year in a more crowded field of 17 potential entrants.
Michael, who died in 2016 and has been eligible since 2012, was name-checked by the late Taylor Hawkins when Foo Fighters were inducted in 2021.
“I’d like to see George Michael in there one day,” Hawkins said, eliciting major cheers from that year’s audience.
In recent years, the Rock Hall has been rebuked for a relative lack of female inductees. But both 2021 (Tina Turner, The Go-Go’s, Carole King) and 2022 (Dolly Parton, Pat Benatar, Carly Simon and Annie Lennox with Eurythmics) saw an increase in gender diversity – a shift also indicative on the 2023 list.
Parton initially refused to be considered for entry, believing that a country artist shouldn’t take votes away from traditional rockers. But she acquiesced once Rock Hall organizers explained the breadth of what they consider rock ’n’ roll. (Parton is now readying her first rock album, a direct result of her 2022 induction.)
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This year’s inductees will be announced in May. The ceremony will take place this fall, with a location and date to be determined.
Through April 28, fans can vote online every day at vote.rockhall.com (or in person at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland). The top five artists selected by the public will comprise a “fan ballot” that will be tallied along with other ballots to determine the 2023 inductees.
Artists who win the fan vote frequently earn induction, including Duran Duran (2022); Tina Turner (2021); Def Leppard (2019) and Bon Jovi (2018).
Nominee ballots are submitted by an international voting body of more than 1,000 artists, historians and members of the music industry, taking into account each artist’s musical influence, length and depth of career and body of work and superiority in style.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2023 nominees: Willie Nelson, George Michael