Nelson, Crow, Wray to join Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
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Nelson, Crow, Wray to join Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Wednesday, May 3, 2023 – Willie Nelson and Sheryl Crow will be entering the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, it was announced today.

Nelson and Crow will be inducted in the Performer Category along with Kate Bush, Missy Elliott, George Michael, Rage Against the Machine and The Spinners.

The Musical Influence Award goes to guitarist Link Wray and DJ Kool Herc.

Musical Excellent Award honors go to Chaka Khan, Al Kooper and Bernie Taupin, who wrote with Elton John.

The Ahmet Ertegun Award goes to Don Cornelius, who hosted the show Soul Train.

This has been a busy period for Nelson, who just celebrated his 90th birthday on Saturday with a two-day concert.

Nelson "may call country music his home, but he has always pushed stylistic boundaries – mixing in rock & roll, jazz, pop and blues," the Hall said.

Nelson's first success came writing hits for Patsy Cline ("Crazy") and Ray Price ("Night Life"), and songs that have become standards ("Funny How Time Slips Away"). In 1962, Nelson released the first of 73 solo studio albums. But he dissatisfied with Nashville, he returned home to Texas in 1972 to make music on his own terms.

Nelson recorded for Atlantic, combining country with rock and blues. Songs like the autobiographical "Me and Paul" (1971) groove and swing with blues licks, while pedal steel and piano are in the foreground. Nelson and co-conspirators Waylon Jennings, Jessi Colter, and Tompall Glaser ushered in the Outlaw Country movement, with their "Wanted! The Outlaw," becoming the first country album to go Platinum.

By 1975, Nelson was a superstar. His concept album "Red Headed Stranger" (1975) delivered his first Number One hit, "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain." Nelson released a gospel album, "Troublemaker" (1976), and an album of pop standards (produced by Booker T), "Stardust" (1978); both went to Number One.

Nelson also formed supergroup the Highwaymen with Jennings, Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson. He has collaborated with artists as diverse as Ray Charles, Julio Iglesias, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Sheryl Crow, Wynton Marsalis, and Snoop Dogg.

Crow's "voice is forever woven into the tapestry of American music," the Hal said. "Through her powerhouse solo performances, collaborations with industry icons, and early session musician work, Crow's influence reverberates through classic 1990s rock, pop, country, folk, blues, and the work of countless singer-songwriters."

Crow got her big break singing backup for Michael Jackson's Bad world tour in 1987. From there she became a session musician, providing backing vocals for Stevie Wonder, Belinda Carlisle, and Don Henley – while simultaneously writing songs for Celine Dion, Tina Turner, and Wynonna Judd. Signed to A&M as a solo artist, Crow released her 1993 debut album "Tuesday Night Music Club."

Throughout her career, Sheryl Crow has collaborated with the likes of Keith Richards, Prince, Johnny Cash, and Loretta Lynn. to work what she said would be her final album, 2019's "Threads.,"

Wray influenced rockabilly, rock, punk hardcore and grunge during his career. Wray "embraced sounds that had rarely been heard before – distortion, fuzz, tremolo and wah-wah effects – all of which have become staples of rock guitar," the Hall said. "Wray was the original punk, the inventor of the power chord, and the architect of a sound that laid the foundation for metal, punk, and every genre that relies on raw, untamed noise to convey its message."

Raised in North Carolina with Shawnee origins, Fred Lincoln Wray, Jr., joined his brothers in a band that played a mix of country and rockabilly music. While his family suffered racial discrimination due to their Native American background, Wray later honored their heritage in songs like "Comanche" and "Shawnee."

Wray's revolutionary instrumental "Rumble," a ragged slab of edgy, brutal distortion from 1958 was his biggest song.

In the 1960s, after tiring of the music industry's attempts to clean up his image, Wray moved back to his family's farm in Maryland and built his own recording studio. His 1971 comeback album, "Link Wray," was a fusion of country, blues, gospel and folk rock on which he sang and played multiple instruments. Later in the 1970s, he recorded and performed with rockabilly revivalist Robert Gordon before relocating to Denmark. Wray continued recording and performing well into his seventies, still wearing black leather and playing until his death in 2005.

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