The class may signal a new direction.
“That is an eclectic group,” Mr. Newman said. “Well, that’s nice. It seems like they’re broadening what they think rock ‘n’ roll is. That’s good. There’s no point being doctrinaire about music. … People get awful strict. It’s a hell of a thing to get strict about, isn’t it?”
There was clearly no debate among the hall’s membership about Public Enemy, which gained membership on its 25th anniversary.
The openly militant, always angry group helped elevate and define nascent rap in the 1980s and ‘90s. MC Chuck D said the group’s induction is about more than simple membership.
“It’s a great piece of news for the genre, and our intention was to spread the light that our music is as legitimate as any other music,” Chuck D said as the group traveled through Wyoming on tour Monday.
Mr. Lifeson hopes the hall’s membership keeps up with the trend.
“Maybe it should be the Music Hall of Fame and not so much the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” Mr. Lifeson said. “But maybe it all is rock ‘n’ roll. It started as a little seed and grew into this great big tree with a lot of branches. That’s why it’s so sad the whole progressive movement, bands like Yes and King Crimson, are not included in this. And I hope one day that they are because they deserve to be in there way before we do. They were huge influences on us and so many other bands that have done fantastic work over the years.
“I know Deep Purple were up for this as well. It’s a little unfortunate that they didn’t make it in because they were extremely influential. I hope there comes a time when these other artists and bands are included because they were equally as influential as any of the ones that are being inducted today.”