Deep Purple and Chicago among 5 to be inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

 British band Deep Purple with (from left)  bassist Roger Glover, vocalist Ian Gillan and guitarist Steve Morse of its Mk VIII lline-up, rock the Singapore Indoor Stadium on May 12 2010.
British band Deep Purple with (from left) bassist Roger Glover, vocalist Ian Gillan and guitarist Steve Morse of its Mk VIII lline-up, rock the Singapore Indoor Stadium on May 12 2010.ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - British metal band Deep Purple and American rock-pop group Chicago are among the musicians chosen to join the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016, organisers announced on Thursday (Dec 17).

Singer Steve Miller, who crosses multiple genres from blues to pop, 1970s rock band Cheap Trick and rappers NWA  will round out the five 2016 inductees, which were chosen by fans and more than 800 voters of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation.

Artists are eligible for inclusion in the Cleveland, Ohio-based Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25 years after the release of their first recording.

Pop singer Janet Jackson, English progressive rock band Yes and Britain's The Smiths were among those on the short list but who failed to make the cut this time.

Deep Purple, formed in England in 1968, are regarded as heavy metal pioneers thanks to their ear-splitting live shows, ground-breaking albums and flagship track Smoke On The Water. 

The band still tours but without 70-year-old guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, who parted in 1993 and has regularly performed in Singapore since 2000.  Blackmore is the force behind one of rock’s most distinctive openings – the blues riff adapted to electric guitar that begins Smoke on the Water.

 “Only Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony gives it a run for the money as far as recognisability and badassed-ness,” the 
Hall of Fame announcement said.  

The inducted members of Deep Purple include most of those from its classic period of the late 1960s to mid-1970s: Blackmore, Ian Gillan, Jon Lord, Roger Glover, Ian Paice, Rod Evans, Glenn Hughes and David Coverdale, the New York Times reported. But it does not include Nick Simper, the band’s founding bassist, or Tommy Bolin, who played guitar on only one studio album (Come Taste The Band, 1975). 

Deep Purple joins two other British groups already in the Hall of Fame – Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath – that together spawned hard rock.  

Chicago, who won the fan ballot and last performed in Singapore in 2012,  grew out of the jazz tradition of the band’s namesake city with early hits like Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is and 25 Or 6 To 4,  bringing the genre’s free-flowing melodies to pop.  While initially taking up political themes, Chicago turned into the quintessential soft rock band with a slew of radio-friendly ballads such as If You Leave Me Now, Hard to Say I’m Sorry and You’re The Inspiration. 

Cheap Trick, also from the state of Illinois, developed a style of heartland  rock with guitar-driven anthems such as Surrender. The group discovered an early fan base in Japan where the band recorded a classic 1978 live album at the Budokan arena. 

Steve Miller, while born in Wisconsin, became a leading force in the cultural mix in San Francisco in the 1960s as he experimented with jazz, blues and other American roots music.  But The Steve Miller Band also achieved commercial success, notably with 1973 song The Joker.

Cheap Trick "display a musical consistency over almost 40 years", Hall of Fame organisers said in a statement, while Miller, 72, has moved from blues to pop and back again, producing classic hits like Fly Like An Eagle and Take The Money And Run.

NWA., formed by five rappers including Dr Dre and Eazy-E in the troubled Compton neighborhood of Los Angeles, revolutionised the music scene in the mid-1980s with lyrics drawn from the violence, crime and anti-police sentiments that the rappers themselves experienced growing up. They went on to sell more than 100 million albums and their story was chronicled in this summer's hit movie Straight Outta Compton, which has been nominated for a Screen Actors Guild award.

Public Enemy, arguably the rap group best known for turning hip-hop into a political tool, entered the Hall of Fame in 2013.

Miller, Cheap Trick and Chicago all won the first year they were nominated. Other first-time nominees, including pop star Janet Jackson and Mexican-American trailblazers Los Lobos, were passed over.  

Disco sensations Chic maintained a losing streak after a record 10 nominations.  Chic’s co-founder Nile Rodgers recently said he did not want to “get weird” about the lack of recognition but added: “I’ve written more hit records than almost everybody in the  Hall of Fame. Come on, guys!” 

The 2016 induction ceremony - which alternates between Cleveland and New York  - will be held at Brooklyn's Barclay's Centre on April 8, and broadcast later in the year on cable channel HBO.