- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has named Nina Simone, Bon Jovi, The Cars, Dire Straits and The Moody Blues as next year’s inductees.

A group of more than 900 voters composed of artists, historians and members of the music industry selected the five inductees announced Wednesday from a shortlist of 19 nominees, putting them on path to be formally inducted during an April 14 ceremony in Cleveland.

A sixth performer, gospel singer Sister Rosetta Tharpe, has been chosen as the recipient of the 2018 Award for Musical Excellence, the Rock Hall said in a statement.

The Rock Hall typically inducts between five and seven artists annually, and next year’s class beat out a group of hopefuls including Radiohead, Rage Against the Machine, Kate Bush, Depeche Mode Eurythmics, J. Geils Band, MC5, The Meters, The Zombies and Rufus featuring Chaka Khan.

Musical artists become eligible for inductions 25 years following the release of their first official recording, meaning next year’s inductees must have issued their debut album in 1993 or earlier.

Simone, a jazz singer and pianist, was born in 1933 and released her first album, “Little Girl Blue,” in 1958. She died in 2003.

Jon Bon Jovi started his eponymous rock band in 1983, and the group released its self-titled debut record the following year.

“It’s certainly an honor to be recognized by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and I am thinking about all of my heroes and my peers that have been inducted before me — it’s great to be in that queue,” Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora said in a statement. “It is the best feeling. I also want to say how much I love my fans and thank them for helping us get here.”

British progressive rock group The Moody Blues released their debut album, “The Magnificent Moodies,” in 1965. Its members had been eligible for induction since 1989, and Rolling Stone magazine previously ranked the group as one of the top 10 bands worthy of being entered into the Rock Hall.

“For (our) American fans, it’s absolutely wonderful,” Moody Blues guitarist Justin Hayward, 71, told USA Today. “Our induction has validated the music that they love. I’m so pleased for us all.

“I’m extremely grateful to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for two things: For creating the supreme temple to something that has brought me endless joy since I was a little boy,” he said. “The second thing is for, after all these years, including us.”

Both The Cars and Dire Straits released their debut, self-titled albums in 1978. Those records contained the hit singles “Just What I Needed” and “Sultans of Swing,” respectively.

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