Janet Jackson, Cheap Trick up for Rock Hall
Break out the white flags.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame may finally surrender to Cheap Trick, nominated for the first time for induction in 2016. Eligible since 2002, the I Want You to Want Me rockers join other first-ever nominees including R&B veteran Janet Jackson, new wave rockers The Cars and Mexican-American group Los Lobos.
Singer Chaka Khan is nominated solo (previously up for 2012 induction with funk band Rufus), while Steve Miller and Chicago are in contention after two decades of eligibility. Nine Inch Nails, N.W.A., Chic and The Smiths - all in the running last year - are nominated again.
"It's a wide range," says Joel Peresman, CEO and president of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation. "I always find that's how it comes together, but it's representative of different people's definitions of rock." With less-familiar artists such as James Brown's funk group The J.B.'s in the mix, "it's not necessarily how many records you've sold, it's about what your influence in the arts is."
The nominees represent "the splintering of genres that increasingly began to characterize popular music since the '90s - and the variety of nominees that I think we'll see from now into the future," says Rolling Stone contributing editor Anthony DeCurtis. The inclusion of Los Lobos, in particular, "acknowledges not just decades of great work, but the important Latino influence in the history of rock 'n' roll."
Inductees will be determined by more than 800 artists, historians and music-industry professionals. Artists are eligible for consideration 25 years after releasing their first single or album (1990, for the newest crop of nominees).
The public can participate in the process by casting votes through select media outlets, including usatoday.com, and at rockhall.com. Voting ends Dec. 9 and the top five artists will make up a fans' ballot, which counts as a single vote.
The 2016 inductees will be announced in December and the induction ceremony will be held in New York in April.
This year's hopefuls:
Chicago. Formed in Illinois in the late '60s with a revolving door of members ever since, the band is in the midst of a U.S. tour.
Cheap Trick. The hard-rocking, power-pop pioneers (Dream Police) found success in Japan before breaking through stateside and have toured almost nonstop over the band's four-decade history.
Deep Purple. The British quintet, which helped define the heavy metal genre with its organ-driven thick sound and early covers of Hush and Kentucky Woman, hijacked the charts with Smoke On the Water and Woman From Tokyo.
The Cars. The Boston rockers have had enduring classics in songs such as Just What I Needed, My Best Friend's Girl and Drive, and reunited for 2011's Move Like This after Benjamin Orr died from pancreatic cancer in 2000.
Chaka Khan. Hailed as the Queen of Funk, the emotive songstress has won 10 Grammy Awards, including best R&B vocal performance for standard I Feel for You.
Chic. With dance-floor classics Le Freak and Good Times, Nile Rodgers and company gave disco a brilliant, soulful upgrade and influenced generations of pop and hip-hop artists.
The J.B.'s. The original name of James Brown's '70s band, which included members such as Bootsy Collins and Bobby Byrd, and climbed the charts with funk tunes Gimme Some More and Doing It to Death.
Janet Jackson. A dance/pop icon and the youngest child of the Jackson family, the Rhythm Nation singer has gotten some of the best reviews of her career for new album Unbreakable, which is expected to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard album charts next week.
Los Lobos. The Latin rockers seamlessly blend country, R&B and folk, and reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1987 with their cover of Ritchie Valens' La Bamba.
Steve Miller. The veteran guitarist has released more than a dozen albums with his Steve Miller Band since the mid-1960s, scoring hits with seminal anthems The Joker, Abracadabra and Jet Airliner.
N.W.A. Immortalized onscreen in this summer's blockbuster biopic Straight Outta Compton, the West Coast rap group led by Dr. Dre, Ice Cube and Eazy-E caught the attention of the FBI with its gangsta rap classic F--- Tha Police.
Nine Inch Nails. Trent Reznor's industrial rock project scored its biggest hit more than a decade ago with The Day the World Went Away, but has remained a force thanks in part to extensive touring, a recent album (2013's Hesitation Marks) and Reznor's film work as an Oscar- and Grammy-winning composer.
The Smiths. They were only together five years, but the British pop quartet released four influential albums in the '80s, distinguished by Morrissey's baritone howls and Johnny Marr's finesse as guitarist.
The Spinners. The Detroit-bred R&B group helped shape the smooth-funk sound of Philadelphia soul in the '70s, charting hits such as Could It Be I'm Falling in Love, I'll Be Around and Mighty Love.
Yes. Largely responsible for bringing progressive rock to the mainstream, these symphonic, experimental Englishmen are considered the forefathers to other beloved synth-driven bands such as Rush and Dream Theater.