Safety Harbor's Robin Zander, Cheap Trick inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Congratulations, Safety Harbor. There's now a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer living in your midst.
Power-pop pioneers Cheap Trick were unveiled Thursday as part of the Rock Hall's 2016 class, alongside N.W.A., Deep Purple, Chicago and the Steve Miller Band.
That means singer Robin Zander, who has lived in Safety Harbor for more than 22 years, is headed to rock immortality in Cleveland.
For Cheap Trick's legions of fans, the honor is a long time coming.
The Rockford, Ill., group, known for power-pop radio staples like Dream Police and Surrender, and influential to bands like Weezer and Smashing Pumpkins, has been eligible for Rock Hall glory since 2002, but only received their first nomination this year.
Just being nominated, Zander told the Times in October, was "an honor and a privilege, and I really am flabbergasted. I'm very humbled by it. It's rare that anybody gets in the Hall of Fame, and to be nominated is good enough for me."
But being bypassed so many times before wasn't exactly easy. Four years ago, Zander told the Times' Stuck in the '80s podcast: "I don't even know if I would go if we were nominated, to be honest. To me, I was disappointed in them a long, long time ago. Look at a band like Kiss. Come on! There’s a number of things they look at, but who the hell cares? I don’t need someone like them to tell me how great I am."
Well, Kiss was eventually inducted in 2014. Now Cheap Trick will join them.
Among the other nominees, N.W.A. stands out the most -- the Compton, Calif., gangsta rap pioneers are among only a handful of rappers to make the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But the groundswell of interest in their music hit a fever pitch this year with the blockbuster biopic Straight Outta Compton, making 2015 feel like their year.
Cheap Trick wasn't the only long-bypassed classic rock group to receive induction.
Deep Purple (Smoke On the Water) have been eligible since 1993, and have been the subject of much campaigning from hard rock and metal fans. Steve Miller Band (The Joker, Fly Like an Eagle) have been eligible since 1993, too, and Chicago (Saturday in the Park) since 1994, but this was both artists' first year on the ballot.
The induction ceremony is scheduled for April 8 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, but Tampa Bay rock fans will get a preview of the fun in the weeks leading up to the event.
Steve Miller Band performs at Ruth Eckerd Hall March 2. Cheap Trick plays the Florida Strawberry Festival on March 5. And Chicago will perform with Earth, Wind and Fire at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on March 26.
Shortly after this posted, we talked to Zander about Cheap Trick's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame election.
"We honestly never thought that we were going to be in, I got to tell you the truth," he said. "We talk about it quite a bit, and we're kind of like, 'Yeah, it's great just to be nominated, but if we don't get in, so what? We've still got our fans, and we're still playing our hearts out and touring around the world.' So, god, getting in is like, wow."
-- Jay Cridlin