The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has officially announced next year’s inductees: Radiohead, Janet Jackson, Stevie Nicks, Def Leppard, the Cure, Roxy Music and the Zombies will all join the class of 2019.
The induction ceremony will be held at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on March 29th. An edited version of the event will air later on HBO alongside a SiriusXM radio broadcast. Ticket details will be announced in January.
Artists are eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25 years after the release of their first album or single. Kraftwerk, Todd Rundgren, Rage Against the Machine, Rufus & Chaka Khan, MC5, LL Cool J, John Prine and Devo were all nominated, but failed to make the cut. No newly eligible acts made it in this year, but this was the first time that Def Leppard and Nicks appeared on the ballot (though Nicks was inducted as a member of Fleetwood Mac in 1998). She will become the only woman to enter the Hall of Fame on two occasions.
“I have a lot to say about this,” Nicks said in a statement, “but I will save those words for later. For now I will just say, I have been in a band since 1968. To be recognized for my solo work makes me take a deep breath and smile. It’s a glorious feeling.”
Jackson also released a statement reacting to the honor. “Thank you, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” she says. “I am truly honored and I am happy to be in there with my brothers.”
Joe Elliott of Def Leppard is equally thrilled by the news. “Now we can stop holding our breath,” he tells Rolling Stone. “How wonderful to be in the same club as the Rolling Stones and the Beatles and the Who and Queen. . . . It’s a nice badge of honor.”
For Colin Blunstone of the Zombies — who have been eligible since 1989 and have appeared on three previous ballots — this was the result of incredible patience and persistence. “You do start to doubt that it could happen,” he tells Rolling Stone. “I’ve tried to be fairly philosophical about it and tell myself that if we don’t get inducted, it’s just a bit of fun. Don’t take it too seriously. But of course when you’re actually inducted, everything changes. You think, ‘This is a career-defining [and] life-defining moment.’ “
His longtime bandmate Rod Argent echoed Blunstone’s sentiment. “I know it’s fashionable in some circles to say, ‘I don’t mind whether I get into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame or not,’ ” he tells Rolling Stone. “But that is not how I’ve ever felt. When we were first nominated, that felt like a huge honor in its own right. And this time, to turn the corner and get inducted feels fantastic. . . . I’m just so delighted.”
In a statement, a cordial Radiohead said that “the band thanks the Hall of Fame voting body and extends congratulations to this year’s fellow inductees.” But when we spoke to them in 2017, they were a little skeptical about the institution. “I don’t want to be rude about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame because for a lot of people it means something, but culturally I don’t understand it,” said guitarist Ed O’Brien. “I think it might be a quintessential American thing. Brits are not very good at slapping ourselves on the back. It seems very showbiz, and I’m not very showbiz.”
Roxy Music frontman Bryan Ferry had a different take. “We are delighted to accept this prestigious award on behalf of everyone who has been involved in the world of Roxy Music,” he wrote in a tweet, “musicians, engineers, producers, designers and numerous people behind the scenes . . . and of course our loyal fans.”
Many Hall of Fame inductions have wrapped up with an all-star jam where each inductee lets loose on a single song, but finding one that works for all seven inductees might be a challenge. “That’s a bit of a tricky one, isn’t it?” asks Blunstone. “If you were to ask me off the top of my head, I’d go with ‘I Saw Her Standing There,’ by the Beatles. Everyone knows that.”
Elliott has a different take. “I suppose older folk would be thinking [Chuck Berry’s] ‘Johnny B. Goode’ and younger folk would be thinking [David Bowie’s] ‘Heroes,’ ” he says. “It might one of those awkward moments where I’m saying, ‘I’m uncomfortable. I’m not doing it. Do they really want to play with us? Do we want to play with them?’ I don’t know. It depends on the kumbaya-ness of the evening.”