When the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees were announced Monday night, there was little surprise Nirvana would be among the class of 2014.
It’s the first year the seminal Seattle band was eligible for induction, and veteran music journalist Charles R. Cross – who has written several books about Nirvana, including the acclaimed biography of Kurt Cobain “Heavier than Heaven” – says it’s well deserved.
“It wasn’t just that Nirvana sold 35 million albums. It’s because that band influenced so many other groups,” Cross says.
While their career was relatively short, Cobain and band mates Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl are credited with sparking a rock revolution.
“They truly changed the face and sound of rock music and very few bands can ever be cited as being as influential as Nirvana was,” he says.
“This is a great honor. Thank you to the people who nominated and voted for us,” said Nirvana bass player Krist Novaselic in a statement. “Thank you most of all to Kurt Cobain. And to everyone who’s kept rock music going strong for 60 years and counting.”
“For once…I’m speechless,” added Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl, who went on to found and front Foo Fighters. “From the basements, to the dingy clubs, to the broken down vans, to… the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I’d like to thank the committee not only for this induction, but also for recognizing Nirvana for what we were: pure rock and roll.”
Bands become eligible at least 25 years after releasing a record, and are chosen based on what the Hall calls “unquestionable music excellence,” along with their influence on other artists, depth of career, and body of work.
Nirvana becomes the fourth Seattle artist or band to receive rock’s greatest honor. They join Jimi Hendrix, The Ventures, and Heart.
Nirvana will be inducted at a ceremony in New York April 10, 2014. There’s no word yet whether Grohl and Novoselic will perform with someone else taking Cobain’s place. The surviving members held a reunion of sorts last year, partnering with Paul McCartney to record and perform the track “Cut Me Some Slack” for Grohl’s documentary “Sound City,” and at several shows including a Hurricane Sandy benefit concert in New York and McCartney’s show at Safeco Field in Seattle this past summer.
Cross says what’s perhaps most impressive about Nirvana is the impact the band had with just three full-length albums: 1989’s “Bleach”, the groundbreaking 1991 release “Nevermind,” and the followup “In Utero,” released in 1993. Cobain died in 1994.
“When you look at other bands that are in the Hall of Fame, you’re talking about many groups that have a history that goes back sometimes 30 years or more,” he says.
Joining Nirvana in the class of 2014 are KISS, Peter Gabriel, Hall and Oates, Linda Ronstadt, and Cat Stevens.