NEW YORK – Welcome to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Guns N’ Roses.
The seminal rock band of the late 1980s and early `90s, best known for hits like “Welcome to the Jungle,” “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and “November Rain,” leads the 2012 class of inductees announced on Wednesday. Also making the cut is the hip-hop trio Beastie Boys; rockers the Red Hot Chili Peppers; the late singer/songwriter Laura Nyro; Donovan; and influential British rock group The Small Faces/The Faces, which included Rod Stewart and Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood.
Nyro, who wrote such hits the 5th Dimension’s “Wedding Bell Blues” and Blood Sweat & Tears’ “When I Die,” is the only female act to make it this time around. The hall passed on Donna Summer, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Heart and Rufus with Chaka Khan, who were on the ballot for 2012.
But it wasn’t just women who were denied entry into the rock hall for next year. Voters also passed on hip-hop pioneers Eric B. & Rakim, War, the Cure and the Spinners.
Guns N’ Roses blazed on the rock scene in 1987 with their official debut, “Appetite for Destruction.” Fronted by siren-voiced singer Axl Rose, with Slash and Izzy Stradlin on guitars, Duff McKagan on bass and Steven Adler on drums, the group dominated music with its aggressive rock grooves. Early in their career they were criticized for lyrics in the song “One in a Million” deemed as homophobic, misogynistic and racist. They were also defined by their dysfunction, gleefully embodying the mantra of sex, drugs and rock and roll.
The band sold millions and millions of albums, providing a sharp contrast to a pop world defined by the likes of Madonna and Michael Jackson. But the group’s turmoil, often on display before the whole world, would cause the core to fall apart by 1996. Their induction should lead to talk once again of a possible reunion, at least for the induction ceremony.
Their trajectory was the opposite of the Chili Peppers. Despite troubles that included the drug-related death of guitarist Hillel Slovak and the departure of guitarist John Frusciante, the band, fronted by Anthony Kiedis, with Flea on bass, drummer Chad Smith and guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, released its 10th album, “I’m With You,” this year.
The Beastie Boys (Adam Yauch, Mike Diamond and Adam Horowitz) are among the pioneers of rap. The first white act to make real inroads in the emerging genre, they were known initially for boorish party music, but would develop into a group critically acclaimed for its musicality, experimenting with different soundscapes, even producing an instrumental album.
Both Stewart and Wood will become second-time members of the Rock Hall (Stewart was inducted as a solo artist in 1994 and Wood as part of the Rolling Stones in 1989) for the Small Faces/The Faces, a key rock group that developed as British invasion was peaking. Among their hits was the song “Stay With Me.”
“Well it’s quite a thrill and honor to make it in the Hall of Fame a second time,” Stewart said in a statement. “We (The Faces) were always synonymous with a good party and with this list of fellow artists being inducted I’m looking forward to (it) … and it’s a hell of a good reason to reunite and celebrate with my old mates.”
Donovan is best known for trippy hits like “Mellow Yellow.”
Guns N’ Roses and the Faces were inducted their first time on the ballot. The Chili Peppers had to wait until their second try, and the Beastie Boys and Nyro were denied twice before making it this time around.
Other inductees include Freddie King for early influence; rock promoter Don Kirshner, who died earlier this year, receives the Ahmet Ertegun award; and Tom Dowd, Glyn Johns and Cosimo Matssa will be honored for musical excellence.
The Rock and Roll Hall of fame induction ceremony will be held in Cleveland, where the rock hall is based, on April 14.