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Cleveland's Rock Hall welcomes new class

By Tom Withers

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, April 14 2012 5:36 p.m. MDT

Like Guns N' Roses, the Red Hot Chili Peppers emerged from Los Angeles during the 1980s when Sunset Strip's rock scene was dominated by "hair" bands more concerned with their tight lycra pants and eyeliner than their sound. Not the Chili Peppers, who found their unique groove by blending funky hooks and a punk ethos.

While their lineup has undergone some changes — founding guitarist Hillel Slovak died of a heroin overdose in 1988 — lead singer Anthony Kiedis and bassist Flea have survived personal highs and lows and the band remains one of music's top live acts.

Three white middle-class smart alecks from New York, the Beastie Boys were initially dismissed as beer-swilling frat boys following their 1986 debut album "License To Ill," which featured songs like "(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party!)" and "Girls." But their follow-up, "Paul's Boutique," was acclaimed by critics and brought the Beasties credibility in the black hip-hop community.

John Mellencamp will induct Donovan, who had a string of hits in the '60s with "Sunshine Superman," ''Hurdy Gurdy Man" and "Mellow Yellow." The pair is expected to perform together.

The influential Nyro, who died in 1997, will be in inducted by her son, Gil Bianchini. Smokey Robinson will induct long-deserving backup bands for early rock artists. The group includes Buddy Holly's The Crickets, James Brown's The Famous Flames, Bill Hailey's The Comets and Robinson's The Miracles.

Blues artist Freddie King is being inducted as an early influence. Carole King will induct Kirshner, who launched Prince and the Eagles. New Orleans engineer Cosimo Matassa, engineer-producer Tom Dowd and engineer-producer Glyn Johns will also be enshrined.

Associated Press writer Thomas J. Sheeran contributed to this report.

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