Elvis Costello, Police, and ABBA earn Rock Hall of Fame nods. Punk, disco, metal, and R&B acts from 1978 or earlier battle for induction into the class of 2003
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Elvis Costello
Credit: Elvis Costello: Barry Shultz/Sunshine/Retna

To be eligible for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, an act must have made its first recording at least 25 years ago. So this year’s nominees, announced Monday, will re-fight the music wars of 1978, pitting against each other punk rockers, disco divas, metal maniacs, R&B crooners, and acts that were already oldies even then. On the ballot for the first time are such bands from the era as the Police, the Clash, ABBA, Chic, Elvis Costello & the Attractions, the Patti Smith Group, and electronica pioneers Kraftwerk, as well as older but never-before-nominated acts Steve Winwood, the MC5, and the Righteous Brothers. Previous nominees who are on the ballot again are Lynyrd Skynyrd, AC/DC, the Sex Pistols, R&B vocal group the Dells, and Black Sabbath.

A committee of a few dozen rock historians picks the nominees, which are ultimately voted on by nearly 1,000 industry insiders. Their ballots are due on Oct. 18, and announcement of the winners (usually five to eight of the finalists) will come in December. They’ll be inducted next spring during the annual dinner/jam session at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York, even though the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is housed in a museum in Cleveland. (The 2002 inductees included Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, the Ramones, Isaac Hayes, Talking Heads, Brenda Lee, and Gene Pitney.)

Although Sabbath has been nominated for the sixth time, don’t expect Ozzy Osbourne to be too excited. He’s repeatedly requested that the band not be included for consideration. ”Just take our name off the list. Save the ink. Forget about us,” the erstwhile Sabbath frontman said in a statement in 1999. ”The nomination is meaningless, because it’s not voted on by the fans. It’s voted on by the ‘supposed’ elite of the Industry and the Media, who’ve never bought an album or concert ticket in their lives, so their vote is totally irrelevant to me. Let’s face it, Black Sabbath have never been media darlings. We’re a people’s band and that suits us just fine.” Of course, now Ozzy is a media darling, so what’ll he do if the band makes it in?

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