New York - Grunge band Nirvana, flamboyant rockers KISS, country-rock singer Linda Ronstadt and chart-toppers Hall and Oates were among artists being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Thursday, at a ceremony marked by expectations that many inductees will either not perform or show up at all.
Ronstadt, who revealed last year that she is battling Parkinson's disease, will not attend, while neither KISS nor the surviving members of Nirvana - founder Kurt Cobain committed suicide in 1994 aged 27 - is expected to perform.
That leaves only British singer-songwriters Peter Gabriel and Cat Stevens, and duo Hall and Oates as performing inductees, although Chris Martin, Glenn Frey, Michael Stipe, Questlove, Bruce Springsteen, Peter Asher and Tom Morello are set to appear - though not necessarily perform.
Stevens, who goes by the name Yusuf Islam, was confirmed just days ago after the folk singer had trouble securing a visa to travel from London. His induction, he wrote in the current issue of Rolling Stone, “will no doubt do much to heal the scars that many years of separation have caused and help to reconnect people to my legacy, which still speaks loud and clear in my music.”
And it could signal a return to the spotlight for the “Wild World,” “Peace Train” and “Moon Shadow” singer after decades of not performing.
Stevie Nicks, Bonnie Raitt, Carrie Underwood, Emmylou Harris and Sheryl Crow will appear in a musical tribute to Ronstadt, who is being inducted by Frey at the 29th annual ceremony, to be aired on HBO on May 31.
Stipe will induct Nirvana, which was chosen in its first year of eligibility, 20 years after founder Cobain's death.
Gabriel, 63, lead vocalist for the progressive rock band Genesis, itself a 2010 inductee, went on to a solo career that included hits such as “Sledgehammer,” and is set to perform.
The E Street Band, the group behind Springsteen, will be inducted by the rocker through the Award for Musical Excellence, and will perform, but the Hall of Fame has not formally announced whether The Boss himself would sing.
As for KISS, the 1970s shock-rockers known for their outrageous costumes and makeup and hits such as “Rock and Roll All Nite,” founding members Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons have said they won't perform at the gala because the Hall of Fame opted to include only the original members, eschewing current bandmembers Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer.
In past years the Hall of Fame has included varying mixes of past and present members of bands like The Grateful Dead and Metallica which have had evolving rosters.
The fray recalled the 2007 ceremony when original Blondie members Frank Infante and Nigel Harrison made an on-stage entreaty to lead singer Debbie Harry to perform with the band, and were flatly, and awkwardly, turned down by the star.
Brian Epstein, the music entrepreneur who managed The Beatles before he died in 1967, and Andrew Loog Oldham who managed The Rolling Stones, will both be inducted with the Ahmet Ertegun Awards for lifetime achievement.
But Oldham said on Twitter last week that he would not attend. “Like Brian Epstein, I was not consulted as regards this matter,” he said, “& like dear Brian I will not be going.”
The inductees, who will join the Hall of Fame's 719 other musicians and executives as members, were chosen by more than 700 voters from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation.
Fans were allowed to cast votes online for the artists they believe were the most deserving of induction, with three of their top five choices making the cut this year.