The Diverse Influence Of The 2013 Rock Hall Inductees : The Record As the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducts a new class, musicians and writers look at how influence — one of the Hall's criteria for induction — plays out in ways obvious (how Beyonce draws on Donna Summer) and not so much (jazz pianist Vijay Iyer explains how Public Enemy shaped his music).

The Diverse Influence Of The 2013 Rock Hall Inductees

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OK, six new performers will be inducted, tonight, into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Public Enemy, Randy Newman, Rush, Albert King, Donna Summer and Heart. Somehow, Carly Rae Jepson was excluded, but there's still time. Now, one of the criteria for induction is an artist's lasting impact on other musicians.

From member station WCPN, David C. Barnett reports on how these six musicians and groups influenced others.

DAVID C. BARNETT, BYLINE: In the mid-1980s, Vernon Reid co-founded Living Colour, and with it, a movement that came to be called the Black Rock Coalition, which promoted black musicians playing rock music.


LIVING COLOUR: (Singing) Look in my eyes, what do you see? The cult of personality...

BARNETT: Living Colour's music featured a blend of heavy metal, jazz and funk. And Reid says, as a teenager, he was raised with all of those influences. Then, one night, he saw a long-haired, power trio from Canada on "Don Kirshner's Rock Concert."


GEDDY LEE: (Singing) (Unintelligible) Won't you come along with me for a little while...

BARNETT: The group was Rush, and Reid says he was floored by the sound of the lead singer.

VERNON REID: Geddy Lee's voice was so unusual - high and reedy, and declamatory - I dug it.


LEE: (Singing) What you say about his company? Is what you say about society? Catch the mist, catch the myth, catch the mystery, catch the drift...

REID: There's this kind of idea of the individual versus society. And I just thought there's something in what the music is talking about, that was just very appealing to me.

BARNETT: Themes that Reid and Living Colour picked up on in their music.

HOLLY GLEASON: I think the music that hits you when you're innocent, stains your soul.

BARNETT: Music journalist Holly Gleason says that means the songs you hear as a kid stay with you.


BARNETT: Remember getting sweaty with Donna Summer?

GLEASON: And, with some of today's artists, you can't deny the impact Donna Summer had on Madonna or Beyonce, or to an extent, Rihanna. I mean Donna put it out there and all of those women picked it up.


DONNA SUMMER: (Singing) Looking for some hot stuff, baby, this evening. I need some hot stuff, baby, tonight. I want some hot stuff, baby, this evening. Got to have some hot stuff. Got to have some love tonight.

BARNETT: The influence of another of this year's inductees has been well-documented. Blues master Albert King has inspired legions of guitarists ever since his 1967 Stax hit.


ALBERT KING: (Singing) Born under a bad sign. Since I been down since I begin to crawl. If it wasn't for bad luck, you know I wouldn't have no luck at all...

BARNETT: While performers ranging from Eric Clapton to John Mayer have all cited King's impact on them, Holly Gleason says she's learned to measure the influence of legendary musicians through the music younger bands listen to on the road.

GLEASON: You might be at a Kenny Chesney show, and you'll hear Albert King coming off of one of the band buses. Or you'll be backstage at a show with Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, and they may be listening to Randy Newman - of all things. You don't expect it, but when you step back and look at what they do, you can usually get a broken line into, oh yeah, that makes sense.


RANDY NEWMAN: (Singing) Look at that mountain. Look at those trees. Look at that bum over there, man, he's down on his knees. Look at these women, ain't nothing like them nowhere. Century Boulevard...

CHORUS: (Singing) We love it.

NEWMAN: (Singing) Victory Boulevard...

CHORUS: (Singing) We love it.

NEWMAN: (Singing) Santa Monica Boulevard...

CHORUS: (Singing) We love it.

NEWMAN: (Singing) Sixth Street...

CHORUS: (Singing) We love it. We love it. We love it. Woo...

NEWMAN: (Singing) We love L.A...

BARNETT: The radio in Rochester, New York fed a teenaged Vijay Iyer a steady diet of pop and rock, in the 1980s. But it was the music of Public Enemy that turned Iyer's head, once he hit college.


PUBLIC ENEMY: (Singing) Nineteen-eighty-nine, that number another summer, get down. Sound of the funky drummer. Music hitting your heart, 'cause I know you got soul. Brothers and sisters

VIJAY IYER: There was an edge to it that, just sonically, that was really intense. They had that kind of incantatory quality that was really arresting, especially for me as an adolescent at that time.

BARNETT: Today, Iyer is an acclaimed jazz pianist and says he's still carrying Public Enemy with him in his own music.


IYER: I think a sort of intensity and density, and sonic kind of thrust, you can hear it in certain aspects of my trio music.

BARNETT: Vijay Iyer adds that the music he plays today has a lot to do with helping him understand who he was, as child of Indian immigrants, growing-up in the lily-white suburbs.

IYER: For me it was more about becoming a person in America...


IYER: And which meant kind of finding a space to be accepted as an individual, and not a type. You know?


ENEMY: (Singing) All the same. No one not the same 'cause we don't know the game. What we need is awareness. We can't get careless. You say: What is this...

BARNETT: Sometimes, you don't have to look any further than home to find your role models, even if they are of a different gender. Writer Holly Gleason says that Heart, the Seattle-based band, founded by sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson in the 1970s, proved to a bunch of Pacific Northwest grunge rockers 20 years later that women could front a band on their own terms.

GLEASON: When you look at all the bands that came out of Seattle - the Nirvanas, the Pearl Jams - they are all huge fans of those girls. I was talking to somebody up there that's a critic. And I'm going, this makes no sense. They hate gloss, they hate slick, they hate shiny. And the guy looked at me and went, no, they rock.


BARNETT: And, when you get right down to it, maybe it's just that simple. For all the analysis about tracing the impact of music through insightful lyrics or innovative time signatures, maybe the influence of a performer is best measured by his or her ability to rock.

For NPR News, I'm DCB, in Cleveland.


ANN WILSON: (Singing) So this ain't the end. I saw you again today, I had to turn my heart away...

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WILSON: (Singing) Smile like the sun, kisses for everyone. And tails, it never fails. You lying so low in the weeds. I bet you going to ambush me. You'd have me down, down, down, down on my knees...

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