Nine New Members Enter Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

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Welcome to THIS IS AMERICA in VOA Special English. I'm Shirley Griffith. And I'm Steve Ember. Today we tell about nine musicians who were recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame is part of the Rock and Roll Museum in Cleveland, Ohio. This museum opened in nineteen ninety-five and is extremely popular with visitors.

The idea for the museum came from leaders of the music industry. They formed a group called the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation in nineteen eighty-three. Since nineteen eighty-six, this group has been honoring performers who have been important in the development of rock and roll. The latest ceremony took place on April fourth at Public Auditorium in Cleveland.


The six hundred voters of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation chose this year's Hall of Fame inductees. Artists can become part of the Hall of Fame twenty-five years after the release of their first recording. But not all inductees are performers.

Reporters, songwriters, radio show hosts and music industry leaders who helped influence rock and roll can also be honored. So can artists whose music came before rock and roll, but influenced its development.

In two thousand, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation also began to honor a new group called sidemen.

This category honors performers who played as backup musicians for major stars. The inductees from this group include two musicians, D.J. Fontana and Bill Black, who played with Elvis Presley in the nineteen fifties. The keyboard player and soul songwriter Spooner Oldham was also honored. He recorded with artists including Percy Sledge, Aretha Franklin and Bob Dylan. Now we tell about the five main performers inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year.


Little Anthony and the Imperials are known for recording "doo-wop" songs that were popular in the nineteen fifties. The lead singer, Anthony Gourdine, got the nickname Little Anthony because his voice sounded very young. The group's song "Tears on My Pillow" was one of the big hits of nineteen fifty-eight.


The group from Brooklyn, New York remained popular in the nineteen sixties and seventies performing soul songs. Other artists have created their own versions of hits by Little Anthony and the Imperials.


The British guitarist Jeff Beck began his career playing in the British band the Yardbirds. In fact, Jeff Beck became a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame because of his work with this band. But this year, he was honored for his work as a solo artist. During his career, he made several albums as the leader of the Jeff Beck Group. One of his most successful rock albums, "Blow by Blow," is heavily influenced by jazz.

(MUSIC: "You Know What I Mean")

One critic praised Jeff Beck's playing for his "fierce attack and fat tone" and his ability to use the electric guitar to create textures as well as notes.


The American heavy metal rock band Metallica formed in nineteen eighty-one in Los Angeles, California. Their first full-length album, "Kill 'Em All," brought new energy to the heavy metal scene when it was released in nineteen eighty-three. The group's other popular albums include "Ride the Lightning" and "Master of Puppets." The nineteen ninety-one album "Metallica" brought the band success from mainstream audiences. This album became a number one hit.

(MUSIC: "Enter Sandman")

Metallica has sold more than one hundred million albums over the years and remains one of the most influential heavy metal bands in history.


The rap group Run-D.M.C. has had a big influence on rap and hip-hop music. This group's first albums, "Run-D.M.C." and "King of Rock," were some of the defining examples of rap music.

(MUSIC: "My Adidas")

They were also the first rappers to appear on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine and the first to win a Grammy award nomination. Their albums "Raising Hell" and "Tougher than Leather" made them stars and changed the sound of rap music forever.


Bobby Womack began his career as the lead singer in his family's gospel band, the Womack Brothers. The soul singer Sam Cooke later asked the brothers to record music with his record company. The brothers recorded songs under the name the Valentinos. Bobby Womack also played the guitar in Sam Cooke's band. Womack later continued his musical career on his own. He wrote songs made famous by singers including George Benson, Janis Joplin and the Rolling Stones. In the nineteen seventies and eighties, he released several popular soul albums.

(MUSIC: "Harry Hippie")

As a singer, songwriter and guitarist, Bobby Womack has had a big influence on soul and gospel music.


Wanda Jackson was honored by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as an early influence on rock and roll. Known as the "Queen of Rockabilly," she began her career in the nineteen fifties singing country music. But she soon moved to rock and roll. Her strong voice and energetic performances made her very popular.

Although she returned to country music later in her career, Wanda Jackson left a special mark on the development of rock and roll. We leave you with her nineteen fifty-eight hit, "Let's Have a Party".


Our program was written and produced by Dana Demange. I'm Shirley Griffith. And I'm Steve Ember. Our programs are online with transcripts and MP3 files at Join us again next week for THIS IS AMERICA in VOA Special English.