The votes are in and next year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class will include Neil Diamond, Alice Cooper, Tom Waits, Darlene Love and Dr. John. Leon Russell will be receive The Award For Musical Excellence (formerly the sideman category) and industry legends Jac Holzman and Art Rupe will both receive the Ahmet Ertegun Award. The ceremony will be held March 14 at New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel and it will be broadcast live on Fuse.
Artists are eligible for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25 years after the release of their first single or LP. All of this year’s inductees, however, started in the 1960s — with the lone exception of Tom Waits, who released his first LP Closing Time in 1973.
Waits was shocked by the news of his induction. “I am still recovering,” he said in a statement. “I never really cared about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame…but now I am surprised to discover how much I DO care. I’m wondering if I did something wrong?” Waits exclusively tells Rolling Stone that his thoughts turned to his mother, who died this year, when he got the call. “I wish she was alive to hear the news,” he says. “She didn’t respond to rock and roll per se, but she would have loved to have a reason to get all dolled up…and…the idea of having a Waldorf salad AT the Waldorf Astoria, would for her have been the cat’s pajamas. Actually, my mom made a pretty mean Waldorf herself!”
Love feels that the long wait was well worth it. “I was on my way to Atlantic City in a limo when I got the call,” she says. “I started screaming and I thought, ‘I sure hope the driver doesn’t think that my husband’s trying to kill me.’ I was laughing and crying at the same time.”
The ceremony falls right in the middle of Neil Diamond’s Australian tour in March. Nothing is set yet, but Diamond hopes to re-shuffle some dates so he can make it. “I’ll get in somehow,” he says. “They are working on the details right now. I ‘m very hopeful it’ll work out because I don’t want to miss this … Any club that has Chuck Berry and Little Richard and The Everly Brothers is a club that I want to be a part of.”
When Alice Cooper got the news he immediately called his former bandmates in the original Alice Cooper band. “I said ‘Well, remember when we started in high school?” he says. “Here we are. It only took 45 years.”
Cooper plans on performing with the band, something he’s only done a handful of times since they broke up in 1976. “We’re trying to figure out if we do ‘School’s Out,’ do we send balloons of confetti into the audience?” he says. “I doubt there’ll be a snake there though…If you look at the list of past inductees it’s all of my heroes, from Pete Townshend to The Yardbirds to The Beatles to The Stones. It’s everybody that we listened to in order to become Alice Cooper, so it’s pretty amazing that those are the same people that actually voted for us.”