While Paul Simon and Michael Jackson had previously found their way into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, via Simon & Garfunkel and the Jackson 5 respectively, next year both men will receive their second induction, this time as solo performers, Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner announced Tuesday. Simon and Jackson are joined by an array of Seventies musicians from art-rock (Steely Dan) to hard rock (Aerosmith) to drama rock (Queen). Fifties rock pioneer Ritchie Valens, the King of Soul Solomon Burke and doo wop legends the Flamingos round out the list of performers that comprise the Rock Hall’s class of 2001.
In the non-performer category, Island Records founder Chris Blackwell, who signed acts including Bob Marley, U2, Tom Waits and Steve Winwood to his label, will be inducted. Pianist Johnnie Johnson, Chuck Berry’s most prominent collaborator, and guitarist James Burton, who has played with Ricky Nelson, Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis — in addition to providing the signature sound on Dale Hawkins’ hit “Suzie-Q” — will both be inducted in the Sideman category.
As for Jackson and Simon, the former was first inducted along with the rest of the Jackson Five in 1997, and the latter was inducted with Art Garfunkel eleven years ago. “I’m pleased,” said Simon, who appeared at last year’s ceremony to induct the Moonglows, in a brief statement. “I’m looking forward to the ceremony in March.”
Donald Fagen and Walter Becker from Steely Dan were unavailable for comment, but left a lengthy post on their Web site (www.steelydan.com) addressing the possibility of their inclusion. “We have just received word and wish to acknowledge that we have been [chosen/again passed over] for membership in the internationally reknowned Rick and Roll Hall of Fame,” the duo wrote. “It is indeed a [great honor/great honor] to even be considered and short-listed for this prestigious award and we stand prepared to [join/be blackballed from] the august company that comprises the inductees of the Hall of Fame. . . . Of course we shall stand ready to [participate in/boycott] the festive induction ceremony at the pleasure of our fans, to whom we owe everything and whom we have vowed never to disappoint, [ever/or as infrequently as possible].”
The sixteenth annual induction ceremony for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is set for March 19 at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. VH1 will air the ceremony on March 21. Musicians become eligible for induction twenty-five years after the release of their first album, and sidemen become eligible twenty-five years after the commencement of their career.