Calling Dr. Love! Kiss is set to join the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, alongside other new inductees Nirvana, Hall & Oates, Peter Gabriel, Linda Ronstadt and Cat Stevens.
The 29th annual induction ceremony will take place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on April 10, and will be open to the public (as it has for recent ceremonies in Los Angeles and Cleveland). The event will air as an HBO special in May.
"We know that engaging the fans is a huge opportunity," says Joel Peresman, president/CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation. "It gives them a chance to be a part of the ceremony, but it also adds a palpable energy to the event. Once we decided to open the ceremony to the public in New York, that had a huge impact on the decision to have it at Barclays Center."
Chosen by more than 700 voters (artists, historians and music industry professionals) of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, the 2014 honorees will also receive an exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland in conjunction with the ceremony. Artists become eligible for induction 25 years after the release of their first recording.
For a second year, the Rock Hall implemented fan voting in choosing this year's inductees, which was available on its official site, Rolling Stone and USA TODAY, and generated nearly 1.4 million votes this year. The five artists with the highest number of votes (three of whom will be inducted) made up a fans' ballot, which counted as a single vote in choosing this year's honorees.
Among fans, Kiss (239,000 votes) and Nirvana (218,000) enjoyed easy victories. Two artists that failed to receive induction despite swells of public support were Yes (151,000) and Deep Purple (166,000), beaten out in the overall balloting by Hall & Oates (113,000), Peter Gabriel (111,000), Linda Ronstadt (85,000) and Cat Stevens (75,000).
Aside from Kiss and Stevens — who received Rock Hall nominations in 2010 and 2006, respectively — the Class of 2014 is made up of first-time nominees. And although fans may believe that many of the 16 artists put to the vote are long overdue for induction, Peresman assures that no artist is ever considered a "natural," shoo-in choice.
"All of the 2014 inductees introduced us to something new," Peresman says. "They might have drawn from their predecessors or built on what came before them, but they all took something from their roots, transformed it, made it their own and brought it to the world at the right time."
Additional honors will be given to late Beatles manager Brian Epstein and former Rolling Stones manager/producer Andrew Loog Oldham, who picked up Ahmet Ertegun lifetime achievement awards for their work behind the scenes in the music industry. The award for musical excellence (formerly known as the sidemen category) was given to Bruce Springsteen's longtime backing group, the E Street Band.
Tickets go on sale in January, with an exact date to be announced. More information will be available at www.rockhall.com.
This year's inductees:
Peter Gabriel. The former Genesis frontman brought funky, synth-infused flavor to hits such as Sledgehammer and Shock the Monkey, but arguably made his biggest impact with the powerful anti-apartheid anthem Biko.
Hall & Oates. With smooth vocal harmonies soaring over rich, pop-rock melodies,Daryl Hall and John Oates brought rhythm & blues to the top of the charts, scoring smash singles such as I Can't Go for That (No Can Do), Private Eyes and You Make My Dreams.
Kiss. Instantly recognized for their flashy attire and black-and-white face paint, these iconic heavy-metal rockers are best known for their Alive!, Love Gun and Destroyer albums, as well as their reputation for putting on dazzling, pyrotechnic-laden performances.
Nirvana. Led by late singer/guitarist Kurt Cobain, this grunge-rock trio cemented its place in rock history with early '90s hits such as Lithium, Heart-Shaped Box and Smells Like Teen Spirit.
Linda Ronstadt. At the forefront of the folk- and country-rock movements, this full-voiced beauty made her name with covers of Blue Bayou and You're No Good.
Cat Stevens. One of the biggest-selling artists of the early '70s, the mellow British songsmith crafted introspective, tranquil tunes such as Peace Train, Wild World andThe First Cut Is the Deepest.
Contributing: Edna Gundersen