N.W.A, Rush, Public Enemy, Donna Summer among new Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees

From Entertainment Weekly and Rolling Stone

Rush fans, your long-standing tradition of writing angry letters to music magazines may finally be coming to an end.

The Canadian prog icons are among the 15 nominees for the 2013 class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They join Donna Summer, Public Enemy, Procol Harum, N.W.A, Randy Newman, the Meters, Kraftwerk, Albert King, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, the Marvelettes, Heart, Chic, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, and Deep Purple on the ballot. The names have been sent out to the mysterious cabal who votes for this thing, and the new class will be inducted at Los Angeles’ Nokia Theatre on April 18, 2013. For the first time ever, there will also be a fan ballot, which will allow those aforementioned Rush fans to shout about conspiracy theories in case their boys don’t make it in.

The nominees for the 2013 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame are in, and, for the first time, fans get to vote alongside the artists, historians and music industry insiders of the Rock Hall voting body. From now until December 5th, you can vote right here for the nominees you’d like to see inducted. Pick up to five acts – the top five vote-getters will comprise a “fan’s ballot” that will count as one of the more than 600 ballots that determine the Class of 2013. The results will be announced in mid-December.

All told, that’s a pretty unusual collection of names, as there doesn’t seem to be any one artist who stands out as a slam dunk. Sure, plenty of those names made some great music, but there’s not an obvious legend among them around whom the ceremony can be built. For example, last year’s ballot included Guns N’ Roses and Beastie Boys, two canonical acts who were pretty clear inclusions.

This year’s batch will be an interesting referendum on how the voters feel about two groups who are deeply under-represented within the walls of the Hall of Fame: rappers and women. Public Enemy and N.W.A are both on the nominees list in their first year of eligibility, and both Heart and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts are showing up for the second time. (To be eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 25 years must have elapsed since an act’s first release.) Considering how seminal each of those groups are, it will be hard to make an argument against their inclusion, especially considering the relative weakness of the rest of the field.