By “Tampa” Earl Burton
After several months of agonizing over the nomination class, the Voting Membership of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame have completed their work and named the diversified Class of 2022. Leading the inductees is Eighties rock icons Pat Benatar and Judas Priest, with controversial choice in country music legend Dolly Parton joining the class. These performers and the other inductees will be honored on November 5 during ceremonies in Los Angeles.
Performers Inductions Led by First Timers
First time nominees overwhelmingly dominated the Performer inductees, with six of the seven first-time nominees making the cut (only A Tribe Called Quest was not inducted). Of those first-time nominees, the only guarantee was that rapper Eminem would earn induction (the Michigan rapper was also the only first year eligible artist on the list). The remainder who was voted in make it the largest group of first-time nominees to be inducted in the history of the Rock Hall.
Parton also was a controversial choice in the Performers category. The 60-year legend of country music announced in March that she wanted her name removed from the ballot for this year’s class. Parton rescinded that request a couple of weeks ago, stating that she would accept an induction “gracefully.
Fan favorite Duran Duran, who won the Fan Vote for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2022 by a resounding quarter of a million votes, will move into the Rock Hall on their first nomination. The group, which was brought to the world’s attention by the then-fledgling Music Television, has waited for 15 years to hear their name called. Now, they will get in alongside some of the greatest artists in rock and roll history.
Here is the list of the artists and bands elected through the Performers category:
Pat Benatar (to be inducted with her husband, Neil Giraldo)
Judas Priest Inducted with Musical Excellence Award
The Rock Hall and chairman John Sykes took care of some problematic issues through the non-voting inductions into the Class of 2022 of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. As they did in 2021, when they inducted Kraftwerk (through the Early Influencers) and LL Cool J (Award for Musical Excellence), the Rock Hall addressed a couple of acts that otherwise might not have been inducted. Leading those choices were the legends of heavy metal, Judas Priest.
On their third nomination, Rob Halford and Company received their induction through the Award for Musical Excellence, which is a non-voted category and is named by a special panel. The Priest was joined by producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, who were hugely popular in the Eighties as the “go to” producers for Janet Jackson, The Human League, George Michael, Boyz II Men, and Mariah Carey.
The Early Influencers award has always been one that most fans do not understand, but it looks to honor those that contributed to the start of rock and roll. The two inductees for 2022 are crooner Harry Belafonte and folk/blues singer/songwriter Elizabeth Cotten, who both were seismic forces in their careers in the industry.
The Ahmet Ertegun Award, which honors non-musical members of the rock and roll community, received three inductions for 2022, the largest ever group named. In previous years, only one (at most) non-performing individual was selected for induction. In 2022, music business veterans Allen Grubman (entertainment lawyer), Jimmy Iovine (producer/manager), and Sylvia Robertson (founder of Sugarhill Records) were the three selections.
The news was not so good for the other members of the 2022 Induction Class. Kate Bush, Beck, Rage Against the Machine, Fela Kuti, Dionne Warwick, MC5, New York Dolls, A Tribe Called Quest, and DEVO. They will have to wait for another election cycle – or induction through the non-voting methods – for their path to the Rock Hall.
A Diverse, Populist Class
To say that the list of inductees for 2022 to the Rock Hall are diverse would be a huge understatement. Going all the way from the hills of Tennessee (Parton) to the North Carolina Piedmont (Cotton) to the island of Jamaica (Belafonte) to the rough-and-ready streets of Birmingham, England (Judas Priest), the diversity in backgrounds is tremendous. It is also musically sweeping, from country to pop (Jam and Lewis) to the birth of rap (Robinson).
The Class of 2022 is also noteworthy in that it is a tremendously populist class, one driven by fan choice. Duran Duran’s election is not surprising, considering they were long one of the most popular choices by fans, and the inclusion of artist and groups like Simon, Eurythmics, and Judas Priest was reflective of many fan choices for induction. Those that are considered more “critic’s darlings” such as MC5 and New York Dolls, were left in the cold for 2022.
The induction ceremonies for the Class of 2022 for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame will be held on November 5 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. The “City of Angels” is a part of the three-city rotation for hosting the Rock Hall ceremonies (New York and Cleveland are the other two). The 2022 Induction Ceremonies will be broadcast on a future date not named on the cable network HBO and HBO Max and will be streamed on SiriusXM.