There are a handful of jazz musicians who have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. These musicians include Louis Armstrong, Charlie Christian, Nat “King” Cole, Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, Jelly Roll Morton, Les Paul, and Dinah Washington.
Crossover artists Dr. John and Tom Waits will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next Monday, March 14th.
Bios from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame website read:
New Orleans’ own Dr. John has been recording for more than 50 years. He is steeped in the rhythms and traditions of the city, and has spent his career championing its music. As he told New Orleans rhythm & blues historian Jeff Hannusch, “[New Orleans music] is part of whatever I’m about. The importance of it is beyond anything I do.” Born Malcolm John “Mac” Rebennack, he learned piano and guitar as a child. Schooled by Crescent City legends like Walter “Papoose” Nelson, James Booker and Cosimo Matassa, Rebennack began recording in 1957; between 1956-1963, more than 50 of his songs were recorded in New Orleans. In 1965, Rebennack moved to Los Angeles and worked as a session player. Working with Harold Battiste, he created the Dr. John the Night Tripper character, a tribute to New Orleans’ musical and spiritual traditions that meshed perfectly with psychedelia. His first album, Gris-Gris, was a masterpiece, evoking voodoo legends over a funky mix. In the first half of the 1970s, he released a series of albums that mixed New Orleans classics with his own original material, all driven by his remarkable piano playing and great bands, most notably his collaboration with Allen Toussaint and the Meters on “Right Place, Wrong Time,” a smash funk hit. He has produced albums for Professor Longhair and Van Morrison, collaborated with Doc Pomus on a group of songs recorded by B.B. King on There Must Be a Better World Somewhere (1981), and released several acclaimed solo piano records. In recent years he has become a spokesman for New Orleans and its musical history, all the while continuing to record creative, challenging music.
Only one songwriter could be covered by the Ramones (“I Don’t Want to Grow Up”) and the Eagles (“Ol’ ‘55”). Beginning with his first album in 1973, Tom Waits has carved out a unique place in rock and roll. His music mixes Chicago blues, parlor ballads, beat poetry, pulp-fiction parlance and – when you least expect it – heart-breaking tenderness. His enormously influential live shows combine elements of German cabaret, vaudeville and roadhouse rock. After establishing a successful early style as a wry singer-songwriter, Waits went through a dramatic expansion with Swordfishtrombones (1983). Disregarding musical borders and commercial considerations, he set off in wild pursuit of the Muse. Waits has composed film scores, musical theatre and an operetta. He has co-written with Keith Richards and William Burroughs. His songs have been covered by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Solomon Burke, Marianne Faithfull, the Neville Brothers, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss and the Blind Boys of Alabama. He has recorded with the Rolling Stones, Bonnie Raitt, the Replacements and Roy Orbison. A tribute to his great influence is how many of his songs have been recorded by artists who usually write their own – including Bruce Springsteen (“Jersey Girl”), Tim Buckley (“Martha”), Johnny Cash (“Down There by the Train”), Bob Seger (“16 Shells from a Thirty-Ought Six”), T-Bone Burnett (“Time”), Tori Amos (“Time”), Steve Earle (“Way Down In the Hole”), Elvis Costello (“Innocent When You Dream”) and Rod Stewart (“Downtown Train”).
Other inductees include Alice Cooper, Neil Diamond, and Darlene Love.
Dr. John will be presented by John Legend. Tom Waits will be presented by Neil Young.