After snubs that drove Black Sabbath lead singer Ozzy Osbourne to dismiss the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame vote as “totally irrelevant,” the heavy-metal pioneers are finally in, joined by Miles Davis, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Sex Pistols and Blondie.
Ozzy’s 1970s group was first nominated in 1996. But until Monday, the panel of musicians, industry professionals and journalists who vote on inductees kept the door barred. Except for Led Zeppelin, the hall has largely ignored metal since the organization was founded in 1987.
In 1999, Osbourne requested that Black Sabbath be taken off the list of nominees.
“The nomination is meaningless, because it’s not voted on by the fans,” the soon-to-be reality TV star said at the time. “It’s voted on by the supposed elite of the industry and the media, who’ve never bought an album or concert ticket in their lives, so their vote is totally irrelevant to me.”
Osbourne had no immediate reaction to his induction this year, a spokesman said.
Black Sabbath was welcomed into the UK Music Hall of Fame this month in its second ceremony. Osbourne celebrated by mooning the audience during a performance of “Paranoid.”
Davis, the late trumpeter, is the first jazz musician accepted as a full inductee. Louis Armstrong (1990), Dinah Washington (1993) and Billie Holiday (2000) were previously honored as being early influences on rock ’n’ roll.
Davis’ hard glare and restless innovation gave him a style that rockers appreciated, and he embraced rock and hip-hop sounds in his later recordings.
The Sex Pistols imploded after only one album, but not until Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious shocked the rock establishment with songs like “God Save the Queen” and “Pretty Vacant.” They inspired waves of imitators in spiky hair and torn clothes, but the rock hall was quicker to recognize peers the Clash, Elvis Costello, Police and Talking Heads, however.
Blondie, which made lead singer Deborah Harry an iconic figure, was among the most commercially successful of first generation “new wave” bands with hits like “Heart of Glass” and “Rapture.”
The induction of Southern rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd means that requests for “Free Bird” will never go unanswered at the rock hall.
Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss, who founded A&M records in 1962, will receive a lifetime achievement award in the non-performer category.
This year’s class will be inducted at the rock hall’s annual ceremony, scheduled for March 13 at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York. Inductees into the sidemen category will be announced later.
Artists are eligible to be inducted into the Rock Hall after at least 25 years have passed since their first record was released.