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Cher leads class of 2024 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees

Cher in concert in Amsterdam
Ben Houdijk
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has begun the search for artifacts from this year's 16 inductees. Cher has already been represented at the museum in the past with a collection of her iconic Bob Mackie-designed outfits.

To paraphrase one of her biggest hits, if Cher could turn back time, would she take back her words about the Rock Hall? The Grammy, Emmy and Oscar winner leads this year's induction class.

During a 2023 appearance on “The Kelly Clarkson Show,” she slammed the hall of fame for not previously inducting her.

“I wouldn’t be in it now if they gave me a million dollars,” said Cher, who's had dozens of hit singles since the 1960s.

In the past, Black Sabbath, Todd Rundgren and the Sex Pistols all protested their nominations – and were inducted anyway.

Although it’s too soon to know which inductees will attend this year’s ceremony, Rock Hall CEO Greg Harris said only that “almost all of the artists are active and still performing, so it’ll make for an amazing induction ceremony.”

Artists are eligible 25 years after the release of their first record. Cher has been eligible since 1990.

Other long-eligible acts making the cut this year are Kool & the Gang, Ozzy Osbourne and Peter Frampton. Foreigner will also be inducted, and is currently slated to be in Las Vegas, wrapping the current leg of a farewell tour, when the inductions happen in Cleveland on Oct. 19.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, several ‘90s acts will be inducted this year: Dave Matthews Band, Mary J. Blige and A Tribe Called Quest. The latter are featured heavily in the Rock Hall’s current “Hip Hop at 50” exhibit.

“Rock ‘n’ roll is a very broad, inclusive tent,” Harris said. “It’s never been one thing, although we always feel very passionate about the artists that are our favorites. It has many sounds, many flavors and it comes from many eras.”

Even though the induction ceremony will be at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, Detroit will have much to celebrate with this year’s class. The Ahmet Ertegun Award, recognizing behind-the-scenes executives, goes to Suzanne de Passe, who guided the early career of the Jackson 5 and helped usher in successful TV specials such as 1983’s “Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever.”

In the Musical Excellence category, the city’s proto-punk MC5 gets in after six previous nominations. Motown’s psychedelic soul pioneer, Norman Whitfield, is being inducted in the same category, alongside Dionne Warwick and the late Jimmy Buffet.

The Rock Hall’s Musical Influence Award will go to three pillars of early blues and R&B. Alexis Korner and John Mayall each guided the burgeoning British blues scene in the '50s and ‘60s. Between them and their ever-changing backing bands, they nurtured the talents of future members of the Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac and Cream. R&B singer and songwriter Big Mama Thornton rounds out this year’s class, recognized for her influence on artists ranging from Elvis Presley and Janis Joplin.

Changing venues

For the first time, the class was announced Sunday during ABC’s broadcast of “American Idol.” The network will also air the induction ceremony at a later date.

From its inception in 1986 until 1998, the ceremony was held at New York City’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel every January - with two exceptions.

In 1993, the ceremony moved to the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles. After much lobbying by Northeast Ohio leaders, the induction was held at the Renaissance Hotel in Cleveland in May 1997.

From 1999-2008, the ceremony moved to mid-March at the Waldorf.

After that, from 2009 until the COVID-19 pandemic, ceremonies generally took place in April, with one year at Cleveland’s Public Hall followed by two years in New York City. The Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles hosted the 2013 event. In 2020, the inductees were honored virtually.

The 2021 induction was held in Cleveland at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, followed by events in Los Angeles and New York City.

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.