The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's Class of 2018 is dominated by male groups -- The Moody Blues, Dire Straits, The Cars and Bon Jovi. But the two women being enshrined -- Nina Simone and Sister Rosetta Tharpe -- are being recognized not only for their music, but for breaking new ground and paving the way for many others.
Nina Simone was born in North Carolina in 1933, and her musical career spanned many genres, including classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B, gospel and pop. A singer and piano player, she was also known for what her Rock Hall bio says was her "unapologetic rage and accusatory voice, naming names and taking no prisoners in the African-American struggle for equality in the early 1960s."
And at least two of Nina's fellow inductees, The Moody Blues and Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits, are fans. Justin Hayward of The Moody Blues on Nina Simone:
Mark Knopfler on Nina Simone and Sister Rosetta Tharpe:
Sister Rosetta Tharpe is one of the essential figures in the history of rock and roll, clearing a path for the likes of Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and "other rock originators [who] would have had different careers."
She was successful through the 1950s, but like so many of the early pioneers, she got lost in shuffle when rock and roll exploded in the U.S. in the '60s. This led her to sing the blues in England, a country that still respected performers of her generation.
Rosetta died in 1973 from a stroke at age 58. She will be honored at the induction ceremony with the Early Influence award by Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes, who will also perform.