This year at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, it’s all about the ’80s: Among the 17 artists who’ve been nominated for induction in 2022 are Lionel Richie, Pat Benatar, Duran Duran, Eurythmics and Devo.
“I think it’s a great year for someone like Pat Benatar,” says Jason Hanley, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Vice President of Education and Visitor Engagement. “Between her and Neil Giraldo, her longtime partner, they wrote some of the great classic songs of the 1980s…delivered with this great rock edge, and Pat’s just amazing voice.”
As for Lionel Richie, it was the “emotional songs” he released after leaving The Commodores that made him a solo ’80s superstar, Hanley tells ABC Audio.
“A song like ‘Hello’ [is] just really one of the great, great emotional love songs from that time period,” Hanley adds. “But then he could also write these great party songs, too.”
Hanley praises Duran Duran for being both “pop icons and incredible musicians” — or, as he puts it, “Yes, they were on the cover of Tiger Beat but they also wrote and performed really great songs.” The music of Eurythmics, Hanley says, “was so catchy, but also…kind of dug into these darker sides of the human emotion.”
Another nominee this year who started in the ’70s but had continued success in the ’80s is Carly Simon. Hanley says the fact that younger artists like Taylor Swift have cited Carly as an influence has led to a revaluation of music by female singer-songwriters in general.
“It’s softer, it’s more intimate. It might be one person with a piano and a voice or a guitar and a voice,” he notes. “But the power in that music is just so important.”
The other nominees include Judas Priest, Dionne Warwick, Dolly Parton, Eminem, Kate Bush, rap group A Tribe Called Quest, proto-punk bands New York Dolls and MC5, Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti, and ’90s alt-rockers Rage Against the Machine and Beck.
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