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Rock Hall CEO Greg Harris on 2023 Inductees

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Today, as the 2023 class of artists was revealed, president and CEO of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Greg Harris, joined Audacy host Taryn Daly to give us the rundown on this year's honorable inductees and more.

It's official: Today, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame's 'Class of 2023' inductees were revealed with Kate Bush, Sheryl Crow, Hip-Hop's first female Missy ElliottGeorge Michael, recent birthday boy Willie Nelson, five-time nominees Rage Against the Machine, and The Spinners in the Performer category; as well as Hip Hop pioneer DJ Kool Herc and guitarist Link Wray being honored with Musical Influence Awards; Chaka Khan, Al Kooper, and Bernie Taupin receiving Musical Excellence Awards; and lastly, this year's Ahment Ertegun Inductee, late Soul Train TV presenter Don Cornelius.

"This is huge," Greg says at the onset of the conversation. "We've got 13 new members going into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame," the first of which he and Taryn got into being those in the Performer category. "It's an amazing group. It underscores the different sounds and things that make up Rock & Roll."

"Rage Against The Machine," he continues, "the perfect mix of Alternative, of Hard Rock, of Hip-Hop, altogether synthesizing their influences. Then, think of all the bands that Rage has influenced, and roll in some really good political consciousness. They've never compromised -- Rock & Roll is always the voice of change -- and [members] Tom Morello and Zack [De La Rocha] have a loud voice."

First-time nominee Willie Nelson's induction this year comes at a perfect time, following the musical icon's recent 90th birthday celebrations that featured artists from across the musical spectrum taking the stage with him. "It speaks to the love and admiration that other artists have for great artists, and Willie is one of them," Greg says. "It's pretty rarified air to be in both the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. That's Hank WilliamsJohnny CashDolly [Parton]ElvisJerry Lee [Lewis]Bob Wills... it's a small, small group. So, Willie fits there perfectly."

Another first-time nominee making it into the hallowed halls this year is the 'Queen of Rap,' Missy Elliott, making the "Get Ur Freak On" rapper the first female Hip-Hop artist to be inducted. “We have roughly a dozen Hip-Hop artists in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and Missy is the first... She went right in -- first-year nominated, first-year eligible... Such a unique sound," Harris says of Missy. "Groundbreaking, pioneering, and influential -- and so we’re thrilled she’s in," he admits.

Of course, not all of the nominees make it in, that's just the nature of the Rock Hall. As far as U.K. Metal titans Iron Maiden not making this year's class, Greg says, “We love that people care; That they care if they’re in or out, and that their fans care. Now, the truth is, anybody that’s nominated, the odds are good that they’re eventually gonna get in. In fact, I think it may be as high as 90% eventually go in. Rage, this was their sixth time, I believe, fifth time on the ballot, or sixth time, and so sometimes it takes a while. But let’s see where it lands. Right now, let’s celebrate this year’s class, and we can start to debate about next year’s class once the spotlight is off of this year’s class."

Greg also divulged some info on the upcoming annual ceremony. This year's awards show will be happening on November 3 in Brooklyn, NY, and he's looking ahead to incredible on-stage performances and “magical moments,” a 50th anniversary of Hip-Hop tribute, and more. “I think we should expect something like that as at least part of the show -- and then let’s see where it goes. But boy, think of the combinations.”

Lastly, Greg and Taryn touched on the impressive Rock & Hall Hall of Fame Museum, already boasting six floors of iconography and memorabilia even before this year's class was announced. Regarding some pieces they’re looking to include from the 2023 class, Greg says he "was fortunate to have a call with Willie [Nelson]... and I had to ask -- that iconic "Trigger" guitar of his that’s worn through with holes -- if we could exhibit that. He said, ‘Unfortunately, I’m still using it. Can’t give it up. I’m touring and I’m using it.’ So he'll give us something different.” He's also expecting items from RATM's Tom Morello, Sheryl Crow, and more which will be opened up to the public later this year.

Listen to the full chat with Greg Harris above, and stay tuned for more info about the official 2023 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony's schedule and air time, as we get closer to November 3.

Words by Joe Cingrana Interview by Taryn Daly

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