Willie Nelson, A Tribe Called Quest, Kate Bush are included in the 2023 class of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees

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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOUB) — Last year Dolly Parton made headlines with her reluctance to accept a nomination for induction into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The beloved country music icon stated that although she was flattered by the nomination, she simply felt her inclusion was unfair and would split votes for other artists on the ballot she saw as more deserving of the honor.

It took some convincing, but eventually Parton accepted not only the nomination, but also induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame itself. She performed at the induction ceremony in November, joking in her always charming way, that she was “a rock star now!”

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced the 2023 class of nominees this morning, proving once again the institution’s mission to reshape the definition of “rock and roll” into something far more inclusive than white guys with guitars.

This year’s nominees are art rock maestro Kate Bush; multi-genre hit maker Sheryl Crow; “Queen of Hip Hop” Missy Elliott; heavy metal icons Iron Maiden; ’80s pop gods Cyndi Lauper and George Michael; original outlaw of country music and lauded songwriter Willie Nelson; rap-rock and nu metal exemplar Rage Against the Machine; classic grunge outfit Soundgarden; Philly soul giants The Spinners; revolutionary hip hop group A Tribe Called Quest; garage rock revivalists The White Stripes; highly prominent musician’s musician singer-songwriter Warren Zevon; and influential post-punk band Joy Division and its equally influential spinoff, synth-pop giants New Order (nominated jointly).

Although one could argue that Joy Division became something entirely different after the suicide of front man Ian Curtis in 1980, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Director of Library and Archives Andy Leach says that despite musical differences, a strong argument could be made that both “had a big impact on what later became known as electronic dance music and even New Wave.”

“[New Order] became kind of a cultural phenomenon in the ’80s with this whole new synth pop sound that they created,” he said. “But, you know, I think the argument could be made that maybe those changes would’ve happened even with Ian Curtis in the band.”

The joint nomination doesn’t come without precedents, such as the 2012 induction of the Small Faces/Faces or the 1997 induction of Parliament/Funkadelic.

Leach said he’s pleased to see the 2023 class of nominees reflect a fuller spectrum of what can be considered “rock and roll.”

“We think of rock and roll as […] a kind of a river of different influences, and as it moves along, it has different branches that keep changing direction.”

Leach also points out that rock and roll has always been “many different things, including rockabilly and hillbilly boogie bands, but also piano players and singers in New Orleans doing R&B and even kids on street corners singing in vocal groups. So, it makes sense that if it started as many different things, it’s going to even get more expansive with time.”

You can vote as often as once a day for nominees on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s website, through April 28. 2023 inductees will be announced in May, with the induction ceremony to follow this fall.