Tonight, six new acts will be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and the criteria is that these acts have influenced other artists. For someone to get this nod their music usually has touched corners and people far removed from their “typical genre”. As we see various music genres begin to intertwine as well as share audiences it may become more difficult to tell how someone may have influenced outside of their genre so to speak. But that could also mean that it’s gotten to the point that all music is influencing other music regardless of the label it is given to separate it. And as genres start to share various audiences maybe music will just be seen as that, music…and not a type of music.
By DAVID C. BARNETT, NPR
Tonight, six new performers will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Public Enemy, Randy Newman, Rush, Albert King, Donna Summer and Heart. According to the Hall’s own language, one of the criteria for induction is “an artist’s musical influence on other artists.” That influence is built into each year’s ceremony: Musicians are inducted by younger artists who display some of their qualities. (Tonight, Donna Summer will be inducted byJennifer Hudson and Christina Aguilera.) But if a musician makes it to the level of the Rock Hall, that influence has likely spread to unlikely corners.
In the mid-1980s, Vernon Reid co-founded Living Colour, and with it, a movement that came to be called the Black Rock Coalition, which promoted black musicians playing rock music.
Reid, who was raised on heavy metal, jazz and funk and whose music showed all of those influences, first saw Rush, the power trio from Toronto, on Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert on television. He says he was floored by the sound the singer made.
“Geddy Lee’s voice was so unusual — high and reedy and declamatory. I dug it,” Reid says. “There’s this kind of idea of the individual versus society. And I just thought there’s something in what the music is talking about that was just very appealing to me.”
“I think the music that hits you when you’re innocent stains your soul,” says music journalist Holly Gleason. In other words, the songs you hear as a kid stay with you. Some of this year’s inductees have a clear line of musical DNA that leads to today’s stars.
The influence of blues master Albert King has been similarly well-documented. King has inspired legions of guitarists since his 1967 Stax hit “Born Under a Bad Sign.” Performers ranging from Eric Clapton to John Mayer have cited King’s impact on them (Mayer will induct King into the Hall), but Gleason says she has learned to measure the influence of legendary musicians through the music younger bands listen to on the road.