In the same year that Linda Ronstadt told the world she could no longer sing a note because of Parkinson's disease, she has been elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a possibility that she recently told the Los Angeles Times she'd never "given a second thought to."
Ronstadt, 67, is one of six new members who will be formally inducted next year, along with Peter Gabriel, KISS, Hall and Oates, Nirvana and Cat Stevens.
Acts that made the final ballot but did not make the cut for induction are Yes, N.W.A, Chic, the Meters, Deep Purple, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, LL Cool J, the Replacements, Link Wray and the Zombies.
Part of the reason Ronstadt never aspired to the Hall of Fame came out in "Simple Dreams," her new "musical memoir," in which she wrote that "I never thought of myself as a rock 'n' roll singer — I've thought of myself as a singer who sang rock 'n' roll, who sang this, who sang that."
In fact, Ronstadt's broad repertoire, from rock to pop to traditional Mexican music to opera and Broadway, is likely one factor she was overlooked for nomination until this year, even though she's been eligible for induction since 1992. Performers become eligible once 25 years have elapsed since the release of their first recording.
She also told The Times in September that she's paid little attention to other industry accolades bestowed on her, including Grammy Awards and Recording Industry Assn. of America gold and platinum sales awards.
Gabriel is entering the hall a second time, having been inducted in 2010 as a member of prog-rock group Genesis. But prog-rock came up short in this class, with Yes missing the mark, even though the British group finished in the top five in the fan voting component. Fans cast 1.3 million ballots, with the most votes going to KISS (17.2%), Nirvana (15.7%), Deep Purple (11.9%), Yes (10.9%), and Hall and Oates (8.1%). The fan balloting yielded one additional vote for each of those acts.
"This year's Hall of Fame inductees really capture the passion of the fans," Joel Peresman, president and chief executive of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, said in a statement. "We're thrilled to again be able to have the fans be a part of the show."
Hard-rock fans have long complained about KISS' absence from the Hall of Fame, so the cartoonish band's election eliminates one barb often hurled at the institution.
The induction of Cat Stevens, who changed his name to Yusuf Islam and converted to Islam at the end of a decade-long streak of artistic and commercial success in the '70s, won't be without controversy because of remarks he made in 1989 that were interpreted as supportive of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's imposition of a death sentence on "The Satanic Verses" author Salman Rushdie. Yusuf Islam subsequently denied that he had advocated anyone killing Rushdie.
The 2014 nonperformers joining the ranks are Beatles manager Brian Epstein and Andrew Loog Oldham, best known as the Rolling Stones manager, producer and songwriter.
Additionally, Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band will be welcomed into the Hall of Fame (the group's Boss was inducted in 1999). The hall has moved in recent years to include the bands that played significant roles in their inducted leaders' successes, including James Brown's Famous Flames, Buddy Holly's Crickets and Smokey Robinson's Miracles. The E Street Band is this class' recipient of the award of musical excellence.
The induction ceremony is scheduled for April 10, 2014 and is returning to New York after being held this year in Los Angeles and in Cleveland in 2012.
Hall officials have attempted to broaden the audience and expand public access to the ceremony in recent years, an effort that will continue by moving the induction ceremony from its traditional New York location at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Manhattan to the Barclays Center arena in Brooklyn.
Inductees are chosen by more than 700 voting members of the Rock Hall of Fame. Tickets for the induction ceremony will go on general sale in January following an offer for hall members to purchase tickets early. The deadline for membership to access the members' presage is Dec. 31. Information: http://www.rockhall.org.