The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has officially announced next year’s inductees: Lou Reed, Green Day, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Bill Withers and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band will all join the class of 2015. Ringo Starr will be given the Award For Musical Excellence and 1950s R&B group the ’5′ Royales will receive the Early Influence Award.
The induction ceremony will be held at Cleveland’s Public Hall on April 18th, 2015. Once again, the general public will be allowed to attend. Tickets go on sale this Thursday.
Artists are eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25 years after the release of their first album or single. Green Day, whose debut EP, 1,000 Hours, came out in 1989, are entering the institution in their first year of eligibility. ‘I had to go for a walk when I heard the news,’ says Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong. ‘We’re in incredible company and I’m still trying to make sense of this. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has always held something special for me because my heroes were in there. This is a great time for us to sort of reflect and look back with gratitude.’
Jett is equally blown away by the news. ‘It’s surreal and very humbling,’ she says. ‘It’s a culmination of all you’ve dreamed about doing as a musician. I’ve always been hopeful [that I'd get in] because I think it’s an incredible acknowledgment. I’m very proud to be with all these great musicians. It’s going to take a few minutes to sink in before I see how I really feel about it.’ (
Starr was inducted as part of The Beatles in 1988, though his three other bandmates have since entered the Hall of Fame as solo artists. ‘This means recognition to me,’ he says. ‘And it means, finally, the four of us are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame even though we were the biggest pop group in the land. You know that won’t look funny in black and white.’
Withers, who has been largely absent from the music scene over the past three decades, was surprised when he heard the news. ‘I never thought it was some kind of entitlement or something,’ he says. ‘I just never felt that anyone owed me this. It’s something that’s nice that happened. I guess I’ll have to go buy a suit.’
He might even agree to a rare performance on the evening, but at the moment he’s far from sure about that. ‘There are some people that can sing in their later years and some of them that can’t,’ he says. ‘I don’t want to be on of those old guys that sounds like a gerbil trying to give birth to a hippopotamus. I’ve gotta see if I can’t conjure it up.’
Reed was inducted in 1996 as a member of the Velvet Underground, and he will be honored posthumously at the event for his solo work. Vaughan will also be inducted posthumously, though his backing band Double Trouble are also getting in. ‘Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble’s time together meant a lot to us,’ says the group’s drummer Chris Layton. ‘We treasured the fact that we found that common ground. Through that, with Stevie’s passing, our only hope was that maybe other people would enjoy it as much as we did and would hopefully find some kind of meaning it it for themselves. The induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is sort of evidence of that.’
The annual ceremony often ends with many of the night’s artists jamming together. ‘I’m not putting a band together,’ says Ringo. ‘But if Paul [McCartney] puts one together, I’ll do ‘With A Little Help From My Friends.’
Whether or not that happens, one of Jett’s signature songs would also sum up the evening quite nicely. ‘Playing ‘I Love Rock and Roll’ would be a lot of fun,’ she says. ‘It would speak to what a lot of us have dedicated our lives to, this music called rock & roll. I think it would be appropriate. I’ve always sort of kept that song away, but I think in this instance it would be a perfect instance to whip it out and have people do it.’