Rapper Tupac Shakur, singer Janet Jackson, grunge-rock band Pearl Jam, pioneering German electronic-rock group Kraftwerk and alternative-rock outfit Jane’s Addiction top an expanded slate of 19 nominees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Among first-time candidates that appear on the ballot are British rock group Depeche Mode, American punk band Bad Brains, English pop-rock band Electric Light Orchestra, folk-music maven Joan Baez, slick rock band Journey and ’60s heavy rock group Steppenwolf.
Previous nominees under consideration include the Cars, Chaka Khan, Jackson, the J. Geils Band, Joe Tex, Detroit proto-punk group MC5, English rock group the Zombies, disco pioneers Chic and English prog-rock band Yes.
Shakur and Pearl Jam are first-time nominees who made the nomination ballot on their initial year of eligibility, having released their debut recordings in 1991. The Rock Hall requires that 25 years pass before an act will be considered for induction.
Typically, 10 to 12 names appear on the ballot sent to the Hall of Fame’s 700-plus voting members, but this year that figure has almost doubled.
“Voting in the past has been so close, the nominating committee wanted to be more inclusive and have more choices for fans and the voting body,” according to a statement issued by the hall.
Despite the increased number of nominees, Rock Hall officials said the number of inductees will not increase, remaining with the usual total of about five.
Rank-and-file music fans are allowed to cast votes at the Rock Hall’s website, but they have only token impact on the determination of inductees. The top five vote-getters in the public poll will form one ballot, according to the organization’s rules.
But the fan vote does let those voters know who they want to see — and don’t want to see — inducted into the hall. In theory, it can also influence how those voting members cast their ballots.
Last year three acts that were tops among fans — Chicago, Deep Purple and Steve Miller — were elected. Rap group N.W.A also was inducted despite receiving among the lowest vote counts from fans — less than 1 percent of votes cast.
Conversely, Yes and the Cars also were popular with fans but did not make the final cut for induction.
Voting at rockhall.com will begin Oct. 18 and continue through Dec. 5.
Results will be announced in December at a date still to be determined. Winners will be decided upon by Hall of Fame’s voting members, and inductions will take place April 2017 in New York City.