Most recent Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees

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August 20, 2021
Kevin Mazur // Getty Images for FF

Most recent Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame was founded in New York in 1983: The first inductees included Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, and Buddy Holly, and the ceremony was held in 1986. The physical museum opened in 1995 in Cleveland, though the groundbreaking ceremony came on June 7, 1993, and brought music greats Pete Townshend of the Who, Billy Joel, and Chuck Berry. Eligibility comes 25 years after artists release their first record. Each year a new group is celebrated for their contributions to the music industry.

Stacker has taken a look at the past six years of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees. The inductees on the list represent every genre of music from hip hop to heavy metal. They bring experience that spans decades and time periods. There is the folk singer, the grunge band, and the 1980s’ all-girl pop band. Their contributions are many and the stories of their careers and induction ceremonies vast and interesting—from the artist who trashed the Hall of Fame that honored him, to the bands who lost members or broke up before their inductions only to reunite at ceremonies—these tales are legendary, just like the artists and the industry that birthed them.

Stream your favorite playlist and join Stacker to find out if the artists you love are the most recent inductees into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

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Cheap Trick

- Year inducted: 2016

Rock band Cheap Trick formed in 1973 in Rockford, Illinois, and went on to record hits “Surrender,” “I Want You to Want Me,” and “Dream Police,” all of which were played by the band at their induction ceremony. The boys in the band all reunited to accept the honor, including Rick Nielsen, Robin Zander, Tom Petersson, and Bun E. Carlos, Cheap Trick’s former drummer who once sued his bandmates over financial issues. They continue to tour and recently released a new LP, but without Bun E. Carlos.

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- Year inducted: 2016

The band Chicago came together in the city of Chicago in 1967, and they’ve recorded 37 albums and sold hundreds of millions of records. Co-founder and vocalist Peter Cetera left the group in 1985 and went on to have a successful solo career. Cetera was noticeably absent from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, much to the chagrin of fans and fellow band members, specifically band co-founder Robert Lamm, who told Rolling Stone, “If Peter didn’t want to play or couldn’t play or couldn’t sing or whatever, at least he could have stood with us.”

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Deep Purple

- Year inducted: 2016

The British band became one of the pioneers of heavy metal after coming together in 1968 and pumping out major hits like “Smoke on the Water,” “Hush,” and “Burn.” Deep Purple has seen many of its members come and go, but when they were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, things got a bit sticky, and not everyone attended. Lars Ulrich of Metallica had the honor of inducting them during the ceremony.

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- Year inducted: 2016

On Aug. 8, 1988, West Coast rap group N.W.A. released their debut album "Straight Outta Compton,” which is said to have been recorded for $12,000. The members included Dr. Dre, Easy E, Ice Cube, MC Ren, and DJ Yella, and the group was known not only for their explicit lyrics but also for their brutal and honest portrayal of gang life in South Central Los Angeles. N.W.A. was the fifth hip-hop group to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

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Steve Miller

- Year inducted: 2016

Steve Miller is the lead singer of the Steve Miller Band, who first signed with Capitol Records in 1967 and scored hits with “Fly Like an Eagle,” “The Joker,” and “Jet Airliner.” His induction into the Hall of Fame came as a solo artist, and while he contributed a great deal as a musician, especially during his time on the San Francisco music scene in the ’60s, Miller voiced his displeasure at the ceremony. The Black Keys inducted Miller and felt upset with the way he behaved.

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Electric Light Orchestra

- Year inducted: 2017

This English rock band, also known as ELO, formed in Birmingham in 1970 with Jeff Lynne and Roy Wood as multi-instrumentalists and songwriters, Bev Bevan as drummer. In 1972, Richard Tandy joined, on bass. They had several Billboard chart-topping songs including, “Livin’ Thing,” “Hold on Tight,” and “Telephone Line.” One of their biggest Billboard hits came in 1980 when they performed “Xanadu,” from the hit movie of the same name, with Olivia Newton-John.

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Joan Baez

- Year inducted: 2017

Arguably one of the greatest folk singers ever, Joan Baez released her first album titled “Joan Baez” in 1960 at the age of 19. Known for her socially relevant lyrics and her romantic relationship with fellow folk singer and songwriter, Bob Dylan, Baez was also an activist who marched on Washington in 1963 to protest the Vietnam War. Musician Jackson Browne presented the honor to the Queen of Folk at Brooklyn's Barclays Center.

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- Year inducted: 2017

Known for their classic rock ballads, this arena rock band’s hit “Don’t Stop Believin’” was featured in the finale of one of television’s best, “The Sopranos.” The band came together in 1973, though lead singer Steve Perry didn’t join until 1977, and he left the band a decade later in 1987. Though Perry returned for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, he did not perform with the band.

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Pearl Jam

- Year inducted: 2017

With the release of their first album, “Ten” in 1991, Pearl Jam became a force in the grunge world, though it would take over a year for the album to hit #2 on the Billboard chart. They had the staying power many in their genre didn’t, and the band continues to perform today to packed stadiums. Pearl Jam is also known for taking on Ticketmaster, who frontman Eddie Vedder felt was charging fans ridiculously high service charge fees.

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Tupac Shakur

- Year inducted: 2017

Tupac Shakur became the first solo rapper to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and his posthumous induction by fellow rapper Snoop Dogg reminded audiences of not only how significant his contributions to the music industry were, but of the potential contributions he had yet to make. Shakur released four studio albums before he was murdered in 1996 at the age of 25 in a drive-by shooting, which many believe was a result of the East Coast-West Coast hip-hop rivalry.

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- Year inducted: 2017

The British progressive rock band got their start in London in 1968, and while the band only had one #1 single, “Owner of a Lonely Heart” in 1983, they had several successful albums. Of the numerous band members the group has seen in its long history, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame selected current and former members Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Bill Bruford, Tony Kaye, Steve Howe, Rick Wakeman, Alan White, and Trevor Rabin.

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Bon Jovi

- Year inducted: 2018

The heavy-metal hair band came together in Sayreville, New Jersey, in 1983 and went on to release their self-titled debut in 1984. It would be the band’s third studio album, “Slippery When Wet,” that would really ignite their career. Shock jock Howard Stern inducted the band into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

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Dire Straits

- Year inducted: 2018

Lead singer and guitarist Mark Knopfler was known for writing introspective lyrics, and the band won four Grammys before breaking up in 1995, though their initial breakup actually came in 1988. Dire Straits’ biggest-selling album was 1985’s “Brothers In Arms,” which featured the hits “Money for Nothing,” “Walk of Life,” and “So Far Away.”

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Nina Simone

- Year inducted: 2018

Nina Simone was born Eunice Waymon on Feb. 21, 1933, to a poor family in Tryon, North Carolina. Her activism and feelings about racial inequality fueled her songwriting, including her 1964 anthem, “Mississippi Goddam.” Rolling Stone magazine named Simone one of the 100 greatest singers of all time. She was honored posthumously at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ceremony, where Mary J. Blige inducted her.

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The Cars

- Year inducted: 2018

The quintet from Boston joined forces in 1976 and they released their self-titled debut album just two years later when the band’s frontman Ric Ocasek was 33 years old. The band split in 1988, but in the years they were together, they received six Grammy nominations, and reunited in 2010 for a studio album and tour. The band's performance at The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony was their final one in public, as Ocasek died in 2019 at the age of 75.

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The Moody Blues

- Year inducted: 2018

British band The Moody Blues wowed audiences with songs like “Nights in White Satin,” which featured a spoken-word poem and hit #1 three separate times on the Billboard charts. Other songs, including “Tuesday Afternoon” and “I’m Just A Singer (In A Rock And Roll Band),” proved they had their own distinctive sound. At their ceremony, where they were inducted by Heart’s Ann Wilson, they played three different songs from three different decades.

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Def Leppard

- Year inducted: 2019

Queen’s Brian May inducted Def Leppard into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. They performed several fan favorites at the ceremony, including “Photograph” and “Pour Some Sugar on Me.” The band’s 1983 album “Pyromania” and their 1987 album “Hysteria” were both RIAA diamond-certified albums.

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Janet Jackson

- Year inducted: 2019

The youngest of the famous Jackson family, Janet Jackson managed to move out of her famous brother’s shadow and create a sound that was all her own with her #1 hits including, “That’s the Way Love Goes,” “Together Again,” and “Miss You Much.” Jackson has been nominated for 26 Grammy awards and has won five.

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- Year inducted: 2019

Solo artist and Talking Heads frontman David Byrne inducted British alt band Radiohead into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, which was fitting, given that the band named themselves after the song “Radio Head,” from the 1986 Talking Heads album 'True Stories.” The innovative band came together in 1985, and in 2008 the band won a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album for their album “In Rainbows.”

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Roxy Music

- Year inducted: 2019

Roxy Music is a 1970s art-rock band known for their ballad “More Than This,” which became particularly iconic when Bill Murray sang it in the 2003 Sofia Coppola film “Lost in Translation.” They also had popular albums “Flesh and Blood” and “Avalon.” The band was inducted into the Rock & Rock Hall of Fame by Duran Duran’s Simon Le Bon and John Taylor.

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Stevie Nicks

- Year inducted: 2019

Singer and icon Stevie Nicks became the first woman to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame twice, once in 1998 as a member of Fleetwood Mac and in 2019 as a solo artist. Stevie Nicks won two Grammys for her time with Fleetwood Mac and received 15 Grammy nominations.

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The Cure

- Year inducted: 2019

The Cure actually started out as Easy Cure in 1976 with guitarist and vocalist Robert Smith and his schoolmates, bassist Michael Dempsey, drummer Lol Tolhurst, and local guitarist Porl Thompson. Their debut album “Three Imaginary Boys” was released in 1979. Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, who had the honor of inducting the band into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, called the Cure, “One of the most unique, most brilliant, most heartbreakingly excellent bands.”

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The Zombies

- Year inducted: 2019

English rock band the Zombies formed in 1960 and scored a hit in both the U.K. and the United States with the 1964 song, “She's Not There.” Several of the band's songs also made the Billboard Hot 100, including 1969’s “Time of the Season” and 1965’s “Tell Her No,” both of which they performed at their Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

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Depeche Mode

- Year inducted: 2020

Electronic music band Depeche Mode has been nominated for five Grammy awards including a 2009 nod for Best Alternative Music Album for “Sounds of the Universe.” The innovative band has become known for their industrial synth style. Some of their hit songs include, “Personal Jesus,” “The Policy of Truth,” “Just Can’t Get Enough,” and “People Are People.”

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Nine Inch Nails

- Year inducted: 2020

The industrial hard rock of the Nine Inch Nails pushed the envelope, and the band created a subgenre of music all their own. Frontman Trent Reznor was actually working as an assistant engineer/janitor at a recording studio when the band recorded their first album. The band went on to win multiple Grammy awards, sell millions of records, and tour with David Bowie.

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T. Rex

- Year inducted: 2020

British band T. Rex began in the late ’60s and gave audiences several popular songs, including, “Bang a Gong (Get it On)” and “Hot Love.” Ringo Starr inducted the band into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and mentioned lead singer Marc Bolan in his speech. Bolan died in 1977 in a car accident and his son Rolan accepted the induction on behalf of his father and the band.

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The Doobie Brothers

- Year inducted: 2020

The Doobie Brothers got their start in 1970, a year later released their self-titled debut album, and soon after began packing arenas and stadiums with their double drumming and joint vocal harmonies. While less flashy and more stable than most of the bands of their era, the Doobies went on to be inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2004. While the band broke up in the early ’80s and Michael McDonald embarked on a solo career, they got back together and in 2021 to tour for their 50th anniversary.

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The Notorious B.I.G.

- Year inducted: 2020

The Notorious B.I.G.’s posthumous induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame came 23 years after the rapper's untimely death. His two albums “Ready to Die” and “Life After Death” became hip-hop anthems, and fans felt with them, Biggie predicted his own death. The rapper was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame by Sean Combs, which was fitting given that it was Combs who first signed Biggie to Bad Boy Records in 1993, and both musicians and his family paid tribute to Biggie at the ceremony.

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Whitney Houston

- Year inducted: 2020

Though Whitney Houston died in 2012 at 48, her posthumous entry into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame was well deserved. The pop diva, often referred to as the Voice, was signed to Arista Records by Clive Davis in 1983, and her debut album racked up three #1 hits including, “The Greatest Love of All,” “Saving All My Love for You,” and “How Will I Know.” Houston also went on to win six Grammys and one Emmy, and received more honors in her 48 years than most people do in an entire lifetime.

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Carole King

- Year inducted: 2021

Singer/songwriter Carole King won six Grammys, a 2015 Kennedy Center Honor, and the 2013 Library of Congress Gershwin Prize. Her 2021 induction marked her second Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction; her first was with songwriting partner and former husband, Gerry Goffin. King even had a musical on Broadway, “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.”

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Foo Fighters

- Year inducted: 2021

Known as much for their guitar riffs as they are for their grunge lineage, Foo Fighters continue to thrill fans decades after their beginnings. Frontman Dave Grohl had a host of songs written after Nirvana fell apart following Kurt Cobain’s death, and with them, Grohl created a self-titled Foo Fighters debut album. They have performed everywhere from David Letterman’s final late show in 2015 to President Joe Biden’s 2021 inauguration.

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- Year inducted: 2021

Mega mogul Jay-Z started out as a rapper and officially became hip-hop's first billionaire in 2019. His musical legacy includes 14 #1 albums, 22 Grammys, and in 2017, the man born Shawn Carter in Brooklyn became the first rapper ever inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Jay-Z is a businessman, musician, father to three children, and husband to singer Beyoncé Knowles.

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The Go-Go's

- Year inducted: 2021

While not always taken seriously, the Go-Go’s were one of the first truly successful all-female bands. They joined forces in Los Angeles in 1978, and by 1981 Belinda Carlisle, Jane Wiedlin, Charlotte Caffey, Gina Schock, and Kathy Valentine released their debut U.S. single “Our Lips Are Sealed.” Not only did their 1981 debut album “Beauty & the Beat” hit #1, making them the first all-female rock band to achieve such a feat, but the band also had a Broadway musical.

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Tina Turner

- Year inducted: 2021

From her musical beginnings with abusive husband Ike Turner, Tina Turner proved not only that she was talented but that she was a survivor. Born in 1939 as Anna Mae Bullock, Turner went on to surpass her success with Ike by embarking on a solo career, for which she received her second induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame; the first was alongside Ike in 1991. Turner has received multiple awards during her career.

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Todd Rundgren

- Year inducted: 2021

While rocker Todd Rundgren was happy for his fans when news of his Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction came, he did take issue with the Rock Hall for several reasons. The musician’s first 1970 solo album “Runt” earned him a #1 hit and his second double-album two years later featured hit songs, “Hello It’s Me,” and “I Saw the Light.” Never just a musician, Rundgren also produced music for bands Grand Funk, Badfinger, and the Psychedelic Furs.

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