NEW YORK — New York City natives Jay-Z and Carole King were elected Wednesday to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, a class that also includes Tina Turner, Foo Fighters, The Go-Go’s, and Todd Rundgren.
Each will be honored during an induction ceremony in Cleveland on Oct. 30 before what organizers hope is a full house of fans enjoying live music again.
The hall will also welcome LL Cool J, Billy Preston and Randy Rhoads with musical excellence awards, and honor Kraftwerk, Gil Scott Heron and Charley Patton as early influencers.
With Jay-Z, the hall inducts a 23-time Grammy winner and the first rap artist in the Songwriters Hall of Fame. His discography includes “Hard Knock Life,” “99 Problems” and “Empire State of Mind.” He has had 14 No. 1 albums to his credit. He’s a Brooklyn native.
With his induction, Jay-Z becomes the first solo rapper to be inducted during their lifetime; Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. were each inducted posthumously. (Queens native LL Cool J joined the hall Wednesday with a musical excellence award, though he was shut out of the performer category. He’d been on the ballot six times.)
“It’s Biggie, Tupac, and Hov as far as rappers go. I mean, they are some of the most influential people to ever do it,” radio host Hip Hop Mike said. “I think it’s beautiful that Hov gets to actually see the accolade.”
While many fans consider Jay-Z’s lyrical gems over last three decades to be iconic, it’s the mogul’s approach to doing business — according to HOT 97 morning show host Peter Rosenberg — that has had a lasting impact on the industry.
“Jay-Z sort of created the blueprint, no pun intended, for artists to be able to do so much more than artistry,” Rosenberg explained. “Jay showed, you could truly run a business using hip hop.”
King’s life was celebrated in the Broadway musical “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.” Stepping forward following a career writing songs for others, her 1971 album “Tapestry” became one of music’s best-selling albums of all time. Hits include “It’s Too Late,” “You’ve Got a Friend” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.”
Turner, recently celebrated in an HBO documentary, was one of rock’s most stirring comeback stories. After escaping from an abusive relationship with husband and musical partner Ike Turner, she became a solo star in the 1980s behind the world-weary “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” and scored other hits with “Private Dancer” and “We Don’t Need Another Hero.”
After serving as Nirvana’s drummer, Dave Grohl stepped to center stage with Foo Fighters, becoming one of the few modern rock bands comfortable in arenas. Their hard-hitting sound produced the hits “Best of You,” “Everlong” and “Times Like These.”
As an all-female band that played their own instruments, the Go-Go’s were a relative rarity in the early 1980s. Born from Los Angeles’ punk rock scene, they had a string of melodic hits that included “We Got the Beat,” “Our Lips Are Sealed” and “Vacation.”
A power pop pioneer, Rundgren is known for melodic hits like “Hello It’s Me,” “I Saw the Light” and “We Gotta Get You a Woman.” With “Bang the Drum All Day,” he’s also responsible for the song most celebrated by hooky players everywhere.
Clarence Avant, a former manager, label owner and concert organizer, is being given the Ahmet Ertegun Award as a non-performer. His impact on the music industry was highlighted in the 2019 Netflix documentary, “The Black Godfather.”
Grohl, King and Turner bring the number of artists inducted into the Rock Hall twice to 26. Prior to King and Turner, Stevie Nicks had been the only woman with that distinction.
Two new inductees — Belinda Carlisle of the Go-Go’s and Pat Smear of Foo Fighters — were once members of the L.A. punk band the Germs before getting the jobs that led to later fame.
Before getting into the hall in their special categories, both LL Cool J and Kraftwerk had each been nominated six times as performers without being elected.
While many praised the hall for getting it right with Jay-Z’s induction, critics say the hip-hop genre is still underrepresented. And changes are not happening fast enough.
“Until the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame fully recognizes that hip-hop is the most culturally relevant genre of music on planet earth, I don’t think anyone in hip-hop is going to be waiting for recognition from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame,” Rosenberg said.
Five of the six inducted performers are still working artists. Only Turner is retired, and no doubt the hall will try recruiting Beyoncé — she should be in town anyway — to pay tribute onstage. Either way, the hall is hoping for one of the first big concerts since the live music business essentially shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We really see it as a true celebration of the reopening of music — not only in America but in the world,” John Sykes, chairman of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, said in an interview with The Associated Press.
The induction ceremony, to be held at the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland, will simulcast on SiriusXM and air later on HBO.
Corey Crockett contributed.