Yes and Electric Light Orchestra are among the Class of 2017 Inductees into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Other artists selected in the Performer Category include folk singer and activist Joan Baez, rock band Journey, grunge combo Pearl Jam and the late rapper Tupac Shakur. In addition, producer and songwriter Nile Rodgers will receive the Award for Musical Excellence at the 32nd Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, which will take place on Friday April 7, 2017 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York for the third time.
The organisers of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame have been criticised over the years for not paying tribute to genres such as prog rock, and this year's induction of Yes rectifies the omission. The band started in the 1960s with the original line-up of singer Jon Anderson, guitarist Peter Banks, bass player Chris Squire, keyboard player Tony Kaye and drummer Bill Bruford. They released their eponymous debut album in 1969 on Atlantic.
There are currently two groups playing Yes's music: the official Yes, around guitarist Steve Howe and drummer Alan White, and Anderson, Rabin and Wakeman, comprised of singer Jon Anderson, keyboardist Rick Wakeman and guitarist Trevor Rabin, who joined Yes in the 1980s. Squire, the band's bass player, who was present through all the various incarnations of the band, died two years ago after a battle with cancer.
“What an honor this is for us and all involved with the history of this band,” said Howe. “We thank all the Yes fans who have been so passionate over the decades, and helped us to keep the flag flying. It is the fans who have constantly demanded our inclusion. They have been heard.”
Kaye reacted on the band's official Twitter feed: "I am honored to be included and salute Chris, without whom it would never have happened. Chris would have been so very proud."
Added White: "We look forward to accepting this esteemed award in honor of our fallen brother Chris Squire. See you soon, Cleveland!" Retired drummer Bill Bruford also commented: "Yes was like my 1st girlfriend, to whom I was hopelessly committed. I’m glad to hear the old girl is in fine shape."
Known for its 1970s hits Don't Bring Me Down and Mr Blue Sky, ELO was the brainchild of Birmingham musician Jeff Lynne. After a long hiatus, Lynne recently reformed Electric Light Orchestra and the band is currently on tour. They are due to play at Wembley Stadium on June 24, 2017. Their latest album, Alone In The Universe, was nominated for Album of the Year at this month’s BBC Music Awards.
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2017 Induction Ceremony, sponsored by speaker and headphone manufacturer, Klipsch Audio, will premiere on cable channel HBO, and via a radio broadcast on satellite radio service SiriusXM. The 2017 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Performer Inductees were chosen by more than 900 voters, as well as the aggregate results of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s online fan vote.
Artists are eligible for inclusion in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 25 years after the release of their first recording.