Guitarist/singer Eric Clapton said, "I'm very happy and proud" to become the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's first three-time inductee next year, in a terse statement released through his publicist Tuesday (Dec. 7).
Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, Earth, Wind & Fire, and James Taylor head the 15th class of inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, to be inducted on March 6 in New York City at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Clapton is now a three-time inductee having been inducted as a member of the Yardbirds (1992 ) and Cream ( 1993). Clapton, Raitt, Taylor, and Spoonful have been inducted in their first year of eligibility (75 percent of nominees have been inducted in their first year of eligibility). The Moonglows, also voted in, have been on the ballot for four years; Earth, Wind & Fire for two.
Nat King Cole and Billie Holiday will be inducted as Early Influences, a category that honors artists who predate rock and roll but who inspired and had a profound effect over rock and roll music.
Clive Davis, head of Arista Records, who oversaw the comeback of Santana this year, will be inducted in the Non-Performer category.
In a new category, Side-Men, the first honorees are saxophonist King Curtis, who was nominated six times (1986-90, 96), Motown bassist James Jamerson, R&B drummer Earl Palmer, drummer Hal Blaine, best known for his work on the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds, and guitarist Scotty Moore, best known for his work with Elvis Presley. Those who didn't make it into the Hall this year include Solomon Burke (nominated eight times), The Flamingos (four), Black Sabbath (three), Steely Dan, Ritchie Valens (two) and Aerosmith, Queen, Lou Reed and the O'Jays ( one).