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Bad Brains Nominated for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

H.R. and Daryl Jenifer of Bad Brains. Photograph by Flickr user Tersa Sedó.

Bad Brains, the seminal DC hardcore band cited as an influence by dozens of punk and alternative bands over the past three decades, have finally been nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Cleveland-based museum included the quartet in its list of candidates for entry in 2017, a group that also includes Pearl Jam, Tupac Shakur, Electric Light Orchestra, Janet Jackson, the Zombies, and Journey, among many others.

Several members of the hall of fame have citied Bad Brains as an influence. Kurt Cobain included the band’s 1983 album Rock for Light on a list of his 50 favorite albums; the late Beastie Boy Adam Yauch reportedly called Bad Brains’s self-titled 1982 debut “the best punk/hardcore album of all time.”

The four members of the band’s “classic lineup”—H.R., Daryl Jenifer, Earl Hudson, and Gary “Dr. Know” Miller—are on the ballot; the founding vocalist, Sid McCray, whom H.R. replaced in 1978, is not.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame grants admission to the top five vote-getters who receive more than 50 percent support on about 600 ballots submitted by music-industry professionals. Fans are allowed to vote as well in a survey that is ultimately weighted equally to the other ballots. Although performers are typically nominated 25 years after the release of their first full-length album, this is the first year Bad Brains will appear on the ballot.

Bad Brains played at a festival in New York in August, their first show since Miller’s recovery from a long hospitalization during which he was temporarily placed on life support. Miller’s medical bills were paid in part by a GoFundMe crowd-funding campaign.

The inductees will be announced in December, with an induction concert to follow next April at the Barclays Center in New York, which will be broadcast on HBO.

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Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.