A Guide To The Rock And Roll Hall of Fame’s Class of 2014

Nirvana, KISS and Hall and Oates are among the new inductees into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

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Nirvana, KISS, Linda Ronstadt, Cat Stevens, Hall & Oates and Peter Gabriel will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014.

Along with the musical acts, former Beatles manager Brian Epstein — who managed the group from 1962 until his death in 1967 — and original Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham will both receive the Ahmet Ertegun Award for non-performers.  Additionally, Bruce Springsteen‘s longtime backing group The E Street Band will be given the Award for Musical Excellence.

To be eligible to join the Hall of Fame,  a performer, composer or musician must have released a record at least 25 years prior to the year of induction and “have demonstrated unquestionable musical excellence,” in the words of the Hall of Fame.

According to the Hall’s official website, “The 2014 inductees were chosen by a secret ballot of over 600 individual voters consisting of all past inductees of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, musicians, historians, critics and members of the music industry.”

The induction ceremony will be held at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on April 10th. For the first time, it will be open to the public with tickets to go on sale in January.  The event will air on HBO in May

Here’s what you need to know about this year’s inductees:

Nirvana

MEMBERS: Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic, Dave Grohl

2-MINUTE BIO: This is the first year that the band that brought grunge to the mainstream was eligible to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, as their debut single “Love Buzz” was released in 1988. Formed in 1987, by Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic, the band recorded their debut album Bleach in 1989 on the Seattle-based Sub Pop label.

Their second album Nevermind was their major label debut and their first with drummer Dave Grohl. Released in 1991, the album changed rock and roll, becoming one of the most influential albums in rock history. The album was a musical touchstone that rose to No. 1 around the globe, selling over 30 million copies worldwide and making the band members global stars. Their third and ultimately final studio album In Utero was released in 1993. Cobain died in 1994.

FIRST ALBUMBleach (1989)

ESSENTIAL ALBUMS:  Bleach, Nevermind, In Utero

ESSENTIAL TRACKS:  “Lithium,” “Smells Like Teen Spirit” “All Apologies”

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KISS

MEMBERS: Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley, Peter Criss, Paul Stanley

2-MINUTE BIO: KISS has been making music for 40 years and have sold over 100 million records, making them one of the best-selling bands worldwide. Known for their flamboyant make-up and costumes and wild stage shows, KISS won over fans around the world with extensive touring. By 1982, both Criss and Frehley had left the group, but KISS soldiered on, eventually sans make-up. In 1996, the band announced a reunion of the original lineup with the resulting reunion tour becoming the top-grossing act of 1996 and 1997.

After failing to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, two years ago, the band suggested they could “just buy it and fire everybody.” This year the band encouraged fans to vote for them and KISS finally won the honor by earning 17% of the fan vote. Kiss singer Paul Stanley wrote in a statement on the band’s official website, “For 40 years Kiss has built an army that apologizes to no one and I’m honored to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame knowing we have remained true to ourselves and our fans.”

FIRST ALBUM: Kiss (1974)

ESSENTIAL ALBUMS:  AliveDestroyerRevenge

ESSENTIAL TRACKS: “Strutter,” “I Love It Loud,” “Lick It Up”

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Peter Gabriel

2-MINUTE BIO:  Gabriel was already inducted into the Hall of Fame as a member of Genesis back in 2010. However, since leaving that group in 1975 to strike out on his own, he’s established himself as one of the most innovative artists working in rock music. From 1977 to 1985, Gabriel put out four self-titled albums, which included hits like “Shock the Monkey” and “Solsbury Hill.” Many of the tracks, like “Biko,” incorporated world music influences into his compositions.

He saw his biggest commercial success with So in 1986, which Rolling Stone ranked #14 on it’s Top 100 Albums of the ’80s. In 1989 he won his first Grammy Award for Passion, the soundtrack to Martin Scorsese’s film The Last Temptation of Christ. Over the course of his career, he’s racked up five more Grammys, thirteen MTV Video Music Awards and in 2008 TIME named him one of the most influential musicians in the world.

FIRST ALBUM: Peter Gabriel (1977)

ESSENTIAL ALBUMS:   Peter Gabriel (1980), So, Us

ESSENTIAL TRACKS:  “Solsbury Hill,” “Sledgehammer,” “Digging in the Dirt”

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Hall & Oates

MEMBERS: Daryl Hall and John Oates

2-MINUTE BIO:  Daryl Hall and John Oates have been making music together since 1972, but most people know the band thanks to their pop-chart run in the 1980s. In the U.S. alone, fans of Hall & Oates smooth sound have bought over 13 million albums, six of which have gone platinum or better. The duo have six Number One hits under their belts and 34 of their songs have earned spots in the Billboard Top 100.Hall & Oates was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2003.

Hall & Oates have been eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame since 1997, but this was their first year on the ballot. Even Hall is surprised by their win: “I didn’t think it would happen as long as the people who were in power stayed in power,” he said in a phone interview with Rolling Stone. “I’ve always been sort of on the other side of the fence with the old guard and the powers-that-be.

FIRST ALBUM: Whole Oats (1972)

ESSENTIAL ALBUMS:  Private EyesOoh Yeah!Abandoned Luncheonette

ESSENTIAL TRACKS: “Private Eyes,” “Out of Touch,” “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)”

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Linda Ronstadt

2-MINUTE BIO: One of the biggest music stars of the ’70s, Ronstadt was one of the first female rock and roll stars. She has recorded and released well over 30 studio albums and made guest appearances on an estimated 120 other albums. She was the first female in music history to score three consecutive platinum albums. Her songs helped introduce music fans to then-forgotten rock and R&B songs from the ’50s and ’60s. She collaborated with artists including Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton and was instrumental in introducing up-and-coming singer-songwriters like Andrew Gold and Warren Zevon to a wider audience. She also lent her voice to many tracks, including Paul Simon’s “Under African Skies” and Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold.” Over the course of her career, she has earned 11 Grammy Awards, two Academy of Country Music awards and an Emmy Award, among other accolades. Earlier this year she announced that Parkinson’s disease had brought an end to her music career.

FIRST ALBUM: Hand Sown … Home Grown (1969)

ESSENTIAL ALBUMS:  Heart Like a WheelSimple DreamsCry Like a Rainstorm, Howl Like the Wind

ESSENTIAL TRACKS:  “Long Long Time,” “You’re No Good,” “Don’t Know Much”

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Cat Stevens

2-MINUTE BIO:  Now known as Yusuf Islam, the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens was an integral part of the 1970s folk rock scene. On the strength of single “Wild World,” his 1970 album Tea for the Tillerman eventually went triple platinum in the United States, a feat repeated by 1971′s Teaser and the Firecat. Stevens provided nine songs to the soundtrack of the black comedy Harold and Maude which introduced his new-folk tunes to an even wider audience.

Stevens converted to Islam in the late 1970s after seven years of multi-platinum musical success and stopped releasing music after 1978’s Back To Earth. 17 years later he released his first CD as Yusuf Islam, putting out An Other Cup in 2006. In 2005, he was named ASCAP’s Songwriter of the Year and won Song of the Year for “The First Cut Is the Deepest” a song he wrote in 1967 that was covered by four artists, including Rod Stewart and Sheryl Crow.

FIRST ALBUM: Matthew and Son (1967)

ESSENTIAL ALBUMS:  Tea for the TillermanTeaser and the Firecat

ESSENTIAL TRACKS:  “Wild World,” “Father & Son,” “Peace Train”

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