NEW YORK (NYTimes) - The latest news from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: Pearl Jam and Tupac Shakur are in. Janet Jackson is still out. And Nile Rodgers of Chic is in - sort of.
For its class of 2017, the hall has continued its twin trends of honouring 1990s rock legends the instant they become eligible, and of opening the door to older stars who have been shut out for years. Besides Pearl Jam and Shakur, the honourees include Journey, Joan Baez, Electric Light Orchestra and Yes.
The 32nd induction ceremony, which traditionally features an all-hands jam session, is planned for Barclays Center in Brooklyn on April 7, with excerpts to be broadcast by HBO.
Pearl Jam's acceptance in the band's first year of eligibility was largely seen as a foregone conclusion, after the hall welcomed Nirvana in 2014 and Green Day the next year. Those bands give the hall, which is based in Cleveland, a valuable hold on three giants of 90s alternative rock.
As only the sixth hip-hop artist to join the pantheon, Shakur also builds on the hall's modest representation of rap music. Like the induction of N.W.A. earlier this year, the honouring of Shakur - still revered as one of hip-hop's fiercest and most gifted lyricists - could give the broadcast a moment of excitement, although it is unclear who would accept the award for him. He was killed in 1996, and his mother, activist Afeni Shakur, died in May.
In admitting Journey, Electric Light Orchestra and Yes, the Rock Hall followed the playbook it has used with artists like Kiss and Rush - finally admitting megaselling but unfashionable acts long ignored by the hall's most conservative voters.
Journey, whose Don't Stop Believin' has become one of rock's most enduring power ballads, was nominated for the first time, despite having been eligible for 16 years. Electric Light Orchestra was also up for the first time, while Yes, a standard-bearer of progressive rock, was on its third nod. Artists become eligible 25 years after the release of their first recording.
Journey's induction offers the band a chance to reunite with its former lead singer, Steve Perry, who has not been with the group since 1998. (Journey has played with Arnel Pineda, a Filipino singer the band found through cover videos on YouTube, since 2007; he will not be inducted.) Baez may be most familiar to younger listeners for her cameo at a Taylor Swift concert last year. But her involvement raises the possibility, however remote, of an induction speech by Bob Dylan. Could the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame book the man the Nobel Prize organisers could not?
Like that of Shakur, Baez's very presence puts in relief the hall's definition of rock itself, which can paradoxically seem both strict and all-encompassing.
"I never considered myself to be a rock 'n' roll artist," she said in a statement. "But as part of the folk music boom, which contributed to and influenced the rock revolution of the 60s, I am proud that some of the songs I sang made their way into the rock lexicon."
Her arrival also points to an unfortunate characteristic of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: its few female members. She is the only woman among the inductees this year, and she is only the third to be inducted over the last four ceremonies, after Linda Ronstadt in 2014 and Joan Jett the next year.
The hall has frequently been criticised for failing to admit more women; it was one of Steve Miller's many complaints at his induction this year. And among the 13 nominated acts who did not make the cut for the class of 2017 are Janet Jackson and Chaka Khan.