Inductees included (L-R) the Cure (with lead singer Robert Smith), Def Leppard (with lead singer Joe Elliot), Janet Jackson and Stevie Nicks. CREDIT: Getty Images

Def Leppard, the Cure, Janet Jackson, Radiohead in 2019 Rock n Roll Hall of Fame

Roxy Music, the Zombies, Stevie Nicks make the cut as well

Originally posted Thursday, December 13, 2018 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Several acts who had their heyday in the 1980s were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for 2019 including rock-pop act Def Leppard, the sultry Stevie Nicks, the iconic new wave group the Cure and R&B/pop legend Janet Jackson.

The 1960s English rock band the Zombies, 1970s glam rock group Roxy Music and 1990s alternative act Radiohead round out a solid lineup. 

Def Leppard was clearly a nod to populism a la recent inductees Bon Jovi and Journey. While not a critical fav, the rockers were top 40 hit sensations for years (“Pour Some Sugar on Me,” “Love Bites,” “Rock of Ages,” “Hysteria”) and continue to sell out arenas in 2018. 
RELATED: Melissa Ruggieri’s review of Def Leppard and Journey from July, 2018

Stevie Nicks’ solo output paled in comparison to that of her group Fleetwood Mac, which was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998, but she is beloved in the music industry and a few of her hits - including “Edge of Seventeen” and duet “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” - have become rock canon. 

RELATED: Melissa Ruggieri’s review of Stevie Nicks’ Atlanta stop in 2016

The Cure is the first genuine 1980s new wave group to break through and their influence in that genre is unpeered. From a style standpoint, their music ranged from moody ( “The Forest,” “Fascination Street”) to dance-worthy ( “Why Can’t I Be You?” “Hot, Hot, Hot”) to sad ( “Boys Don’t Cry,” “Just Like Heaven”). The group’s induction might open the doors for the likes of the Smiths, Depeche Mode , Joy Division and Duran Duran.

Janet Jackson joins her late brother Michael in the Hall after a fruitful solo career that included 24 top 10 hits spanning the 1980s ( “Nasty,” “Control,” “Miss You Much,” “Rhythm Nation”), the 1990s ( “Escapade,” “Black Cat,” “Again”) and the early 2000s (“All For You,” “Runaway”). 

RELATED: Melissa Ruggieri’s review of Jackson’s Atlanta concert in 2017

The Zombies (“Time of the Season,” “She’s Not There”) were less a hit maker and more of an influence on other acts. My former boss here at the AJC Bill Wyman with Vulture ranked the 15 nominees and placed them 11th. With just two notable albums, he dismissed them as a “minor band.” 

RELATED: My colleague Bo Emerson last year interviewed the Zombies’ Ron Argent before an appearance at the Variety Playhouse

Roxy Music, on the other hand, was Wyman’s top pick. They have been eligible for two decades and he considers this group to be the hall’s greatest omission to date. They provided the world with beautiful artsy glam rock that was far more popular in the U.K. than the United States, where the band garnered just a single top 40 hit (”Love is the Drug” peaked at No. 30 on the Billboard Hot 100 in February, 1976.)

RELATED: Melissa Ruggieri reviews Bryan Ferry from 2016

Radiohead was  a top-notch, soulful  1990s alternative rock band with songs that still hold up decades later (“Creep,” “Paranoid Android,” “Karma Police”). But they may not even show up to the ceremony. As Ed O’Brien told Rolling Stone last year: “I don’t want to be rude about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame because for a lot of people it means something, but culturally I don’t understand it. I think it might be a quintessential American thing. Brits are not very good at slapping ourselves on the back. It seems very show-biz and I’m not very show-biz. We haven’t even been asked. I don’t want to be rude. But if you ask me what I’d rather be doing that night, I’d rather be sitting at home in front of the fire or going to a gig. I realized years ago that I didn’t like award ceremonies. You walk in there and you feel self-conscious. It’s just really uncomfortable. Wherever there is media there seem to be a real level of bullshit. It just feels non-authentic to us.” 

RELATED: AJC review of Radiohead in Atlanta from 2017

The 2019 induction ceremony is scheduled for March 29 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn and will be broadcast at a later date on HBO and Sirius/XM.

Among the nominees who didn’t get enough votes this time around were Devo, John Prine, Kraftwerk, MC5, Rage Against the Machine, LL Cool J, Rufus with Chaka Khan and Todd Rundgren

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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