The Jazz Singer is getting some rock recognition. Neil Diamond—yes, that Neil Diamond—is atop today's list of first-time nominees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, alongside the likes of Bon Jovi and Alice Cooper.
We get Bon Jovi, with the '80s hair and riff-driven hits like "Livin' On a Prayer," "You Give Love a Bad Name," and "Wanted Dead or Alive." And Cooper was the original shock-rocker, with his bad mascara and parent-scaring cuts "School's Out" and "No More Mr. Nice Guy."
But the guy who sings "Sweet Caroline?" What kind of rock cred does he have?
Plenty, it turns out. While Diamond might be best known for his elevator-ready hits like "September Morn," "Heartlight," "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" and "Cracklin' Rosie," he is one helluva songwriter, penning tunes that have been covered by Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Deep Purple, the Monkees and UB40 to name a few.
Other newbie nominees for the Class of 2011 include folk-pop icon Donovan and New Orleans legend Dr. John as well as such holdovers from previous ballots as the Beastie Boys, Donna Summer, Tom Waits, J. Geils Band, Joe Tex, Chuck Willis, Darlene Love and LL Cool J.
All nominees must have released their first album at least 25 years ago—so for instance the Beasties qualify because they released their debut, License to Ill, in 1986. (Seriously, it was that long ago?)
Rock Hall organizers will announce the inductees in December and the annual ceremony will take place as usual in March at New York City's Waldorf-Astoria.
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