Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Kiss, Yes, Ronstadt earn long-awaited nominations T Attention, all music fans who have complained, sometimes loudly, about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fames rejection of popular bands in favor of critics darlings such as Laura Nyro and Randy Newman: Youve been heard. The 2014 nominees list is the halls most crowd-pleasing in recent memory. Included among the 16 candidates are several popular, influential but arguably unhip acts that have long been snubbed by the Cleveland institution: pop-prog space-travelers Yes, rock-soul hit-makers Hall and Oates, the bruising Deep Purple, defining 70s singer Linda Ronstadt and the theatrical, polarizing Kiss. These artists join early electric guitar innovator Link Wray, disco hedonists Chic, broad-minded Peter Gabriel, hip-hop popularizer LL Cool J, gangsta-rap revolutionaries N.W.A, the scruffy, earnest Replacements, peace train rider Cat Stevens, funk godfathers the Meters, pop impressionists the Zombies, stalwart traditionalists the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and alt-rock cornerstone Nirvana on a ballot that champions a narrower and more traditional definition of rock than the hall has recently endorsed via its selections. If history is any guide, five to eight new members will be inducted in April. Nirvana, eligible for the first time, is almost certain to be one of those acts. "Nevermind," the Seattle trios 1991 album, introduced millions to grunge and alternative rock, and stands as a watershed in the evolution of American popular music. Nirvanas unexpected success reoriented the entertainment industry: Almost overnight, the strutting glam-metal that had dominated playlists for the better part of the 1980s was out and brooding misfits were in. Frontman Kurt Cobain became the face of alternative rock and, in many ways, he remains so frozen in time, at 27 years old, by his suicide. N.W.A, another act with profound influence on American culture, is every bit as worthy of commemoration. The Southern California rap crew stood middle-class morality on its head on the violent, uproarious and frequently hilarious 1988 "Straight Outta Compton" disc. N.W.A tore up the old standards for what was permissible to do and say on record; "Straight Outta Compton" also launched the career of producer Dr. Dre, whose distinctive sound draws from 70s funk and gospel. The Hall of Fame likes to induct a token rap act every year one with an incontrovertible effect on the development of rock music and this year, N.W.A looks like the obvious choice. Beyond that, its anybodys guess as to which of the nominees will get into the hall but the list does allow the institution to fix a few of the inexplicable omissions of the past. Theres good evidence that growing disenchantment about selections has prompted the museum to take action: Last year, the hall instituted a fan vote, won by Rush, a worthy group that had long been overlooked by the selection committee. That precedent bodes well for Yes, another long-running progressive rock band with unimpeachable musicianship and a penchant for sci-fi concepts. NO MORE KISS OFF It also suggests that the bizarre Kiss freeze-out may come to an end. Of all the halls snubs, Kiss, which was formed in New York in 1973 and has been eligible for years, is the toughest to understand. In the 1970s and into the 80s, the band epitomized rock attitude and showmanship. The Kiss live show, which went heavy on pyrotechnics, dry ice and fake blood, refined the paradigm (established by Alice Cooper) for countless arena touring bands. In concert, Kiss was gauche and grandstanding as a rule, but that was all part of the fun, and great rock is not always meant to be high art. Often lost in the smoke was the bands knack for sturdy song construction: "Beth," "Detroit Rock City," "Black Diamond" and "Rock and Roll All Nite" remain indelible.