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Nirvana leads Rock Hall of Fame's new class

In a sweeping, crowd-pleasing gesture of make-goods and about-times, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Tuesday announced that, as well as welcoming first-balloters Nirvana into the famous fold, very patient pop stars Hall and Oates, Kiss, Linda Ronstadt, Peter Gabriel and Cat Stevens were also being inducted into the controversial Cleveland institution.

But wait, the feel-good vibe doesn't end there: The E Street Band, Bruce Springsteen's venerable backing crew, will be honored with the Award for Musical Excellence when the induction ceremony/inevitable jam session goes down April 10 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Will the Boss show up, too? C'mon, you better believe it. He's been lobbying for his mates for years!

Want an even fatter guest list and a potential concert for the ages? Two all-world managers/producers will have the Ahmet Ertegun Award thrust upon them: Andrew Loog Oldham, one of the revving engines behind the Rolling Stones' success, and Brian Epstein, who navigated the Beatles through global domination between 1962 and 1967.

So will Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney show up, too?! Man, this has the potential to be a monster shindig. The possibilities of who will speak and play and team up are endless, a total music geek's fantasy. You know Nirvana's Dave Grohl is going to sit in with glam-metalists Kiss, and Gene Simmons just might hang demon tongue during Smells Like Teen Spirit.

Heck, with Ronstadt, who basically gave the core of the Eagles their first big break, you could even draw Don Henley or Glenn Frey to the swingin' event for an epic Desperado. She can't sing anymore because of Parkinson's disease, but they sure can.

This year's induction list — voted on by more than 700 members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, led by the powerful hand of Jann Wenner, publisher of Rolling Stone — was decidedly fan-friendly, although diehards hoping for long-awaited nods to Duran Duran, Bon Jovi, Chicago, Cheap Trick and Journey will have to wait another year — or more.

Still, you can't fault the 2014 picks. Nirvana defined both a genre and a culture-shifting youth movement, and if a lot of grunge doesn't hold up too well, Come As You Are sure does. (Who will fill in for the late Kurt Cobain? Well, McCartney has done it before and he might be there for the Epstein induction. See what's happening? My mind is whirring!)

My fave pick here is the salute to Hall and Oates' blue-eyed soul-pop; I could hear Kiss on My List and You Make My Dreams 200 more times and never grow tired of their perfectly interlocking hooks and harmonies. Gabriel, who was inducted as a member of Genesis in 2010 (but couldn't go), is an offbeat dude; during the post-speech show, how about him taking a creepy lead on H&O's Maneater? Or maybe Daryl Hall taking lead vocal on Gabriel's In Your Eyes or pop-folkie Cat Steven's Wild World?

Stevens, a.k.a. Yusuf Islam, is the wild card here, as he accepted Islam in 1977 and rejected his musical beginnings. But he's since embarked on a sort-of comeback, culminating with this appreciation of his soft, touchy-feely, incandescently singable hits (The First Cut Is the Deepest, Peace Train, Moonshadow). Yep, this R&R Hall of Fame induction is all about second chances. Let the jamming commence!

Sean Daly can be reached at sdaly@tampabay.com. Follow @seandalypoplife on Twitter.

Nirvana leads Rock Hall of Fame's new class 12/17/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 17, 2013 10:49pm]
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