Late rapper Tupac Shakur, grunge gods Pearl Jam, and folk icon Joan Baez lead the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2017 class

By Jordan Runtagh
December 20, 2016 08:05 AM
Ron Galella/WireImage; Samir Hussein/Getty

The 2017 inductees for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame were announced Tuesday morning, and this year’s class includes artists from across the genre and generations. Folk legend Joan Baez, progressive rock prototypes Yes, ’70s classical crossovers Electric Light Orchestra, stadium fillers Journey, grunge gods Pearl Jam and rap poet Tupac Shakur all got tapped the join the prestigious order.

In addition, Chic mastermind and master producer Nile Rodgers will receive the Award for Musical Excellence.

The 32nd Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place on Friday, April 7, 2017 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. HBO will broadcast the ceremony later in the spring. Read on for more details on this year’s honorees!

Joan Baez “We Shall Overcome” (1963)

The folk icon performed the early 20th century protest hymn at the famous March on Washington before a crowd of 300.000 — the same day Rev. Martin Luther King delivered his seminal “I Have a Dream” speech. “We Shall Overcome” went on to become an anthem of the civil rights movement in the 1960s.

Yes, “Your Move: I’ve Seen All Good People” (1971)

The English progressive rockers got their start in the late ’60s with innovative cover versions of deep cuts by the Beatles (“Every Little Thing”) and the Byrds (“I See You”), but soon came into their own by the early ’70s, with the arrival of keyboard player Rick Wakeman alongside bassist Chris Squire. The band scored a late-era hit in the MTV age with “Owner of a Lonely Heart.”

Electric Light Orchestra “My Blue Sky” (1978)

Helmed by Jeff Lynne, a veteran of late ’60s English psych mainstays the Idle Race (and, later on, the Move), ELO brought a Beatlesque orchestral grandeur to rock standards — see their cleverly symphonic version of Chuck Berry’s “Roll Over Beethoven.” Lynne so convincingly nailed the Fab’s sound that he was invited to produce George Harrison’s solo album, Cloud Nine, and play alongside him in the Traveling Wilburys supergroup. When the surviving Beatles convened to finish off an incomplete John Lennon demo, Lynne was on hand to supervise production.

Journey, “Don’t Stop Believin'” (1981)

Originally formed by members of Santana (Neal Schon on lead guitar and Gregg Rolie on keyboards and lead vocals) in the early ’70s, the band achieved immortality with the arena rock staple, “Don’t Stop Belevin’.” As you read these words, the song is being passionately shouted in a karaoke bar somewhere in the world.

Pearl Jam, “Jeremy” (1991)

Following the death of Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain in 1994, and the split of Soundgarden three years later, Eddie Vedder and Co. were along the last of their Seattle brethren to keep the grunge flag aloft in middle America. 25 years after their debut, Ten, they’re still going strong.

Tupac, “California Love” (1995)

His herculean sales figures (75 million and counting) is matched only his cultural influence. Perhaps more than any MC, ‘Pac is responsible for helping mainstream appreciate the poetry of hip hop. Caught in the crossfire of the East Coast-West Coast rap rivalry, his tragic death in 1996 at age 25 remains unsolved to this day.

Chic and Nile Rodgers “Good Times” (1979)

In addition to providing a soundtrack to the Disco age, Rodgers’ songs became the DNA of hip hop. “Good Times” is one of the most sample tracks in music history.