There’s a “Paradise City” all right—it’s called Cleveland.
Hard rock revivalists Guns N’ Roses, alternative funk-metal outfit Red Hot Chili Peppers and hip-hop legends the Beastie Boys are among the music acts tapped for induction next year in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, it was announced this morning.
But they’re not the only ones…
Joining them in the class of 2012 will be the late singer-songwriter Laura Nyro, Scottish folk icon Donovan, English pschedelic group the Small Faces (which later morphed into The Faces featuring Rod Stewart), and guitarist Freddie King, who made the cut in the sideman category.
During their heyday in the late ’80s/early ’90s, Guns N’ Roses initiated a hard rock revival that pushed aside the glam bands that turned the genre into a parody of itself and paved the way for the the latter decade’s rock resurgence with the birth of grunge.
Led by volatile frontman Axl Rose and lead axeman Slash, whose wicked guitar solos drove many of the band’s early hits including “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Paradise City,” the original lineup produced a multiplatinum smash with their now classic 1987 debut album, Appetite for Destruction.
They soon followed that with the EP G N’ R Lies, which spawned the ubiquitous ballad “Patience,” but shortly after recording their magnum opus double LP Use Your Illusion I and II, the quintet self-destructed from drug problems and the members’ alienation due to what they considered was Rose’s increasingly erratic and controlling behavior—both onstage and off. By the late ’90s, Guns N’ Roses was down to its singer, who spent the next 15 years resurrecting the band with various substitute Gunners before finally releasing their latest effort, Chinese Democracy, in 2008.
Despite suffering their own lineup changes over the years, one thing that’s remained a constant with the Chili Peppers has been vocalist Anthony Kiedis and bass player Flea, who arguably did their best work with guitarist John Frusciante. That includes 1989’s Mother’s Milk, which featured a scorching cover of Stevie Wonder‘s “Higher Ground “; 1991’s seminal Blood Sugar Sex Magik, which gave the world “Under the Bridge” and “Suck My Kiss”; and 1999’s Californication, whose laidback title track is a Peppers staple.
As for the Beastie Boys, the trio of Mike Diamond (Mike D), Adam Yauch (MCA) and Adam Horovitz (Ad-Rock) are proof of hip-hop’s longevity, not to mention an expansion beyond its African-American roots. The New York City-bred rappers scored the first No. 1 hip-hop album with 1986’s License to Ill, much of that on the strength of “You Gotta Fight for Your Right (to Party)” and “No Sleep Till Brooklyn.”
Nyro, a gifted pianist and composer who hailed from the Bronx, wrote numerous tunes that were recorded by such artists as Barbra Streisand, Peter, Paul & Mary, and the 5th Dimension before striking out on her own in the late ’60s/early ’70s and skyrocketing up the charts with such singles as “Up on the Roof.”
Donovan is best known for his ’60s folk-pop contributions, including “Catch the Wind” and “Sunshine Superman” and influencing the likes of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, among others.
Famed music producer and promoter Don Kirshner, who died last January, also received a Hall Pass in the nonperformer category for launching the so-called Brill Building group of songwriters including Carol King and Neil Sedaka through his company Aldon Music.
Of course, what’s always fascinating about the Rock Hall’s selections is who got left out. Among the artists getting the shaft this year include Joan Jett and the Black Hearts, The Cure, Heart and Rufus with Chaka Khan.
The annual ceremony will take place on April 14 in Cleveland.