15 Nominees Vie For the Rock Hall's 2016 Induction
by David C. Barnett
This year's hopefuls represent styles ranging from power pop and rap, to new wave and funk.
The former Yvette Marie Stevens grew-up in a musical household; her father loved jazz. "In fact, my Christian name, 'Yvette', is after a Stan Getz song," she says.
She's better known today as Chaka Khan. Joining her on the list of Rock Hall nominees are Deep Purple, Los Lobos and the Spinners. Chic is nominated for a record tenth time, and the Cars are making their debut. The Boston group has a couple of strong Northeast Ohio connections in its lead singers. The late Benjamin Orzechowski (which he shortened to Orr) was a Lakewood native. Baltimore-bred Rik Okasek met Orr in Cleveland after college stints at Bowling Green and Antioch, and the two musicians began their creative partnership here, before moving to the east coast.
Cleveland also proved to be ground zero for nominee, and the man behind Nine Inch Nails, Trent Reznor --- a Pennsylvania native who came to town after dropping out of Allegheny College. He landed an engineering job at the Right Track recording studio, downtown, where he put together a set of demo tapes that would lead to his groundbreaking 1989 album, Pretty Hate Machine.
Janet Jackson is the only one of her siblings who was able to step out from under the shadow of her famous brother Michael. And now, she’s snagged a Rock Hall nomination.
Also on the ballot are Steve Miller, the Smiths, Cheap Trick and Yes. The film Straight Outta Compton, may give the gansta rap pioneers NWA an edge, this time. A couple of horn bands round out the roster --- Chicago and James Brown’s lock-tight back-up band --- the JBs
Now, it’s up to approximately 800 music industry insiders to trim the nominee list down to about a half dozen finalists. Those results will be released in December, and the induction ceremony takes place in April.