Today’s announcement will see six artists inducted into the Hall of Fame, with one individual recognized with an award for musical excellence. The six inductees are: Iconic folk singer Joan Baez; progressive rock pioneers Yes; Seattle grunge legends Pearl Jam; British rockers Electric Light Orchestra; Don’t Stop Believing chart-toppers Journey; and groundbreaking rapper Tupac Shakur, who was murdered in 1996.
In addition, producer/musician Nile Rodgers will be honoured with the 2017 Award for Musical Excellence.
Pearl Jam weren’t available for comment, but back in May guitarist Mike McCready told Rolling Stone it “would be a great honour. I would be happy about it.”
Upon learning of Journey’s induction, guitarist Neal Schon told Rolling Stone that he and his bandmates “kind of feel like we were already in with our fans and the amount of records we’ve sold all over the world. I wasn’t expecting anything at all. I’ve learned to be that way. If you don’t expect something and it comes, then its good news. I’m honoured. I think we’re all honoured.” While it remains unclear whether original lead singer Steve Perry — who is estranged from the band — will join his former bandmates at the ceremony, Perry released a statement about the group’s induction. “I’m truly grateful that Journey is being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” he said.
News of her induction came as a shock to folkie icon Baez. “I never considered myself to be a rock and roll artist,” she said in a statement. “But as part of the folk music boom which contributed to and influenced the rock revolution of the Sixties, I am proud that some of the songs I sang made their way into the rock lexicon. I very much appreciate this honour and acknowledgement by the Hall of Fame.”
Electric Light Orchestra leader Jeff Lynne also issued a statement regarding the band’s induction. “I am deeply honoured to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and would like to thank all the great fans who have supported us over the years.”
For Yes, the induction has been a long time coming — the band has been on the ballot three times, and has been eligible for 26 years. “It’s a bit like waiting for a train,” guitarist Steve Howe told Rolling Stone. “Maybe it’s on time and you just noticed waiting. I don’t regret the wait. I just feel this must be the right time.”
The induction ceremony will be held at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on April 7, 2017.