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Arts and Entertainment

Rock Hall announces 2012 inductees
Newest class includes Brit-pop, singer-songwriters, alternative rockers and a blues legend

Kabir Bhatia
Some of the 15 nominees who were on the list for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year.
Courtesy of K. Bhatia
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The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced its nominees today.  The acts cover punk, rap, R&B, heavy metal and the British Invasion -- sometimes within the same group.  WKSU's Kabir Bhatia and music expert John Gorman talk about this year's slate of performers.
John Gorman on the class of 2012

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The Rock Hall's "Women Who Rock" exhibit has brought attention to many female performers, from hard rockers Heart and Joan Jett to disco queen Donna Summer.  But John Gorman, program director in the 1970s and 80s at WMMS, is most intrigued by Laura Nyro’s inclusion in the class of 2012.

“She wrote incredible songs.  Her music was recorded by other people, most notably the Fifth Dimension, had the biggest hits with her songs.  At a time when artists routinely put out a new album every year, her releases were very erratic.  So I can see, in a way, where she was looked at as left of center of most of the singer-songwriters.”

Nyro counted Elton John, Elvis Costello, Todd Rundgren and Barbra Streisand among fans of her Tin Pan Alley-meets-the-Shirelles sound.  But in the early 70s, she went into semi-retirement, emerging every few years with a new, low-key project before her death in 1997.

“Women Who Rock” are no doubt nervous about the frat-boy rap of the Beastie Boys, and Guns 'n Roses, who were accused of being downright misogynistic in the 1980s.

“Guns ‘n Roses deserves to be in. They definitely brought hard rock back to the mainstream.  They were at the right time, at the right place.  They were a hard rock band that had tremendous depth.  Unfortunately, they DID have an appetite for destruction, and they really lived the lifestyle.  (laughs) Probably a little too close to reality.”

Guns 'n Roses' original drummer, Steven Adler, and second guitarist, Gilby Clarke, are both from Cleveland.  The group was one of the last heavy metal bands to cross over to Top 40 radio, before hip-hop and alternative took over in the early 1990s.  Those genres are being represented more and more in the Rock Hall, as evidenced by this year's inclusion of The Red Hot Chili Peppers.  

“Talking about rock and roll, it doesn't mean any one style of music, so I guess it becomes fair game.  It's funny because you do see names on this year's inductions and it's like, ‘Has it been that long?  They've been recording that long that they should be in the Rock Hall?"  But that's rock and roll, and I think that's a testament to rock and roll.  It's, for the most part, timeless music.”

Along with Nyro and the 1990s acts inducted this year, the hall welcomes Donovan, bluesman Freddie King and The Small Faces plus their spin-off, The Faces.
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