Tina Turner, Carole King, Todd Rundgren Lead Rock Hall Class of 2021 Inductees

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Tina Turner

Tina Turner, Carole King and Todd Rundgren are among the long-overlooked artists who have been selected for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Class of 2021. The announcement today (May 12) included a whopping 13 new inductees. Also joining the class this year are the Go-Go’s, Jay-Z and the Foo Fighters. In addition, the Hall has selected Kraftwerk, Charley Patton and Gil Scott-Heron for the Early Influence Award, as well as LL Cool J, Billy Preston and Randy Rhoads in the Musical Excellence category.

Clarence Avant, a veteran music executive who turned 90 this year, was selected for the Ahmet Ertegun Award, given to non-performing industry professionals.

The 16 nominees in the Performer category also included the New York Dolls, Iron Maiden, Dionne Warwick, Kate Bush, Mary J. Blige, Chaka Khan, Devo, Rage Against the Machine, and Fela Kuti.

Among the scores of deserving acts who continue to be ignored by the secret selection committee are such classic rock legends as Bad Company, Jethro Tull, Peter Frampton and Joe Cocker.

In order to be eligible, an artist must have made their first recording 25 years prior to the current year.

Related: We handicapped the Class of 2021 nominees’ chances

The 2021 Induction Ceremony will take place at the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, Ohio on Oct. 30.

“What I’m really impressed with proud of is that this year’s class is amazingly diverse. Three out of six performers – The Go-Go’s, Carole King and Tina Turner – are women,” John Sykes, Chairman of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, told Billboard. “You’ve got a first-ballot hip-hop artist, Jay-Z, going in. You’ve got a first-ballot rock band, Foo Fighters, going in. It shows how diverse the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has become. Our mandate, which started out as purely rock and roll, [has become] to honor the artists that have moved and changed the sound of young America.”

Photo of Carole King via PBS.org by Elissa Kline

Upon hearing the news, King wrote: “I wanted to be a songwriter so I could meet all the great artists and they would know who I was. I thought being inducted into the @rockhall as a songwriter with Gerry Goffin was the pinnacle. Until now. Thank you for ALSO inducting me as an artist. And to my fans always.”

She told Billboard she would definitely attend – and perform at – her induction. “I don’t know if it would be one song — there’s too many people, I wouldn’t be able to do a full set anyway – but I could see myself potentially performing. One of the joys of my life that I’ve missed is playing with a band. If I get to play with the cats again at the Rock Hall of Fame, that will be fantastic. Whatever way I get to play or sing with a band — hang out with a band and be up there onstage — that’s just the best part of both aspects of my career.”

Turner, who turned 81 on Nov. 26, 2020, wrote: “I am absolutely thrilled to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame amongst such amazing artists! Thank you for all your continued love and support over the years!”

In a prepared statement, Rundgren said, simply, “I’m happy for my fans. They’ve wanted this for a long time.”

The Musical Excellence Award, given this year to LL Cool J, rock guitarist Rhoads who died in 1982, and legendary keyboardist Preston, is presented to artists, musicians, songwriters and producers whose originality and influence creating music have had a dramatic impact on music.

The Early Influence Award, given to electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk, the jazz-soul musician Scott-Heron, who died in 2011, and the Delta blues musician Patton, who died in 1934, is presented to a performing artist or group whose music and performance style have directly influenced and helped inspire and evolve rock & roll and music that has impacted youth culture.

In recent years, the Rock Hall has inducted many core rock bands that it had overlooked for decades. Notably, the Doobie Brothers were in the Class of 2020 (alongside such non-rock acts as Whitney Houston and the Notorious B.I.G.). In 2019, it was Def Leppard and the Zombies’ turn, with Stevie Nicks as a solo artist. 2018 saw the Moody Blues, the Cars, Bon Jovi and Dire Straits join the fold. Yes, the Electric Light Orchestra and Journey, were all members of the Class of 2017.

Related: 100 crucial omissions to the Rock Hall

This year marked the first time that the Foo Fighters, the Go-Go’s, Iron Maiden, Warwick, Blige, Jay-Z and Kuti, the Nigerian multi-instrumentalist who died in 1997, were nominated. King has previously been inducted in 1990 with Gerry Goffin as a non-performer/songwriter. Turner was inducted in 1991 for her work in the duo Ike and Tina Turner. Grohl is also in the Hall as a member of Nirvana in the Class of 2014.

Each year, the Hall offers fans the opportunity to participate in the Induction selection process. The top five artists, as selected by the public, were, in order: Tina Turner, Fela Kuti, the Go-Go’s, Iron Maiden and the Foo Fighters. They comprised a “fans’ ballot” that was tallied along with the other ballots to select the 2021 Inductees. The new class was selected by an international voting body of more than 1,200 artists, including current living Inductees, historians and members of the music industry.

Related: 100 more crucial Rock Hall omissions

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21 Comments so far

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  1. Admiral
    #1 Admiral 10 February, 2021, 11:34

    Every year I see the list, I cringe at some of the nominees and the oversights. Here we go again.
    The Go-Gos. Really?

    Reply this comment
  2. JJK
    #2 JJK 10 February, 2021, 13:45

    RRHOF is a crock! There are plenty more deserving artists that should inducted. The Foo Fighters? Devo? Rage against the Machine? Gimme a break.

    Reply this comment
  3. Hammer
    #3 Hammer 10 February, 2021, 14:08

    The Guess Who?
    Peter Frampton?

    Reply this comment
  4. Mick
    #4 Mick 10 February, 2021, 19:51

    It’s all political.

    If a band or solo act is unwilling to “campaign for votes” then the likelihood that they’re inducted can drop substantially.

    The Go-Gos were trailblazers and their recent documentary will certainly help.

    Reply this comment
  5. StuartB
    #5 StuartB 11 February, 2021, 01:32

    Once again, a number of major British Invasion groups left out among them The Searchers.

    Reply this comment
  6. Czesiu
    #6 Czesiu 11 February, 2021, 04:33

    This is the year Todd Rundgren should be inducted into the RnR Hall of Fame!

    Reply this comment
  7. Onteo
    #7 Onteo 11 February, 2021, 06:20

    The Go Gos? What about a true female band that blazed the trail for them? How about Fanny ?

    Reply this comment
  8. Patricia
    #8 Patricia 11 February, 2021, 07:19

    What about INXS?

    Reply this comment
  9. RGR66
    #9 RGR66 11 February, 2021, 12:12

    7 female artists nominated this time and yet many of the biggest music icons are still being ignored, including Leslie Gore, Connie Francis, Petula Clark, Melanie, Nancy Sinatra and Jackie DeShannon. Such a shame.

    Reply this comment
  10. Little Milton
    #10 Little Milton 16 February, 2021, 13:44

    Without Jethro Tull this Hall of Fame is nothing

    Reply this comment
  11. feethead
    #11 feethead 21 February, 2021, 15:19

    the monkees should be inducted

    Reply this comment
  12. JCB
    #12 JCB 12 May, 2021, 08:32

    Boy, Jay Z and LL Cool J are so much more important in Rocks history than Bad Co., The Guess Who, Jethro Tull and on and one. The Rock Hall is a bad joke and it’s getting really old every year waiting for true R+R legends to be inducted.

    Reply this comment
  13. Paul
    #13 Paul 13 May, 2021, 00:21

    Hip-Hop and Rap are not Rock n Roll.

    Reply this comment
  14. Da Mick
    #14 Da Mick 13 May, 2021, 00:29

    Im honestly shocked that Todd was selected, deserving as he is. But i love his response. The dude is so real. Always has been.

    Reply this comment
  15. Timflyte
    #15 Timflyte 13 May, 2021, 01:50

    No Paul Revere & The Raiders ?
    No Monkees ? But the go gos ?
    This is a disgrace. So many more deserving…. No badfinger ? Peter F ?
    Jethro T ? Disgraceful.
    But what do we expect ? Jann weiner & RS mag is a effing joke . i stopped my subscription in the 70s.the guy is a wus.
    Knows r n r about as much as I know computers. Give us a break
    R n r hall is a big effing joke

    Reply this comment
  16. Dee
    #16 Dee 13 May, 2021, 10:31

    “Rage Against The Machine”…
    It’s about time! An INTELLIGENT group with Messages and Meaningful Lyrics…
    Not these Insolent, Low I.Q. Rappers with their vulgar “Ho’s and B***hes” misogyny!

    Reply this comment
    • Greg Brodsky
      Greg Brodsky 13 May, 2021, 19:08

      Dee… You know Rage weren’t selected, right? Nominated several months ago but didn’t make this year’s final cut.

      Reply this comment
  17. Czesiu
    #17 Czesiu 13 May, 2021, 10:44

    We the Todd fans are so elated the Todd Rundgren finally was inducted into R&RHOF!
    Todd Rundgren is A Wizard A True Star⭐️

    Reply this comment
  18. brian
    #18 brian 13 May, 2021, 19:07

    the hall is a freakin joke… jay-z and ll cool whatever..if they want a hall of fame for their kind of music let them have it and leave the rock hall to true rockers… t.r. should have been in yrs ago, i also think tommy james and uncle ted nugent should have been in yrs ago as many others from the 60s… the rock is a joke, i have been there and sorry i went it is overpriced and a complete waste of time..

    Reply this comment

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