Neil Diamond had been eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for several years but never got a nomination to join music’s prestigious club. But he was never really worried about it.
“I thought about it occasionally, but I kind of figured they’d get around to me at some point,” he said in a phone interview.
That point came on Tuesday, as the 2011 class for the Cleveland hall was revealed. Diamond, whose hits include “Sweet Caroline,” made the list, along with the Alice Cooper Band, Dr. John, Darlene Love and Tom Waits.
Piano man Leon Russell was honored with a musical excellence award, previously the sideman category. Executives Jac Holzman and Art Rupe were given the Ahmet Ertegun Awards.
It took three tries before Love, best known for hits such as “(Today I Met) The Boy I’m Gonna Marry” and her work with producer Phil Spector and the Blossoms, was approved for the hall. When reached on Tuesday, an enthusiastic Love said: “I can actually breathe.”
“Finally it’s done,” she added. “It still hasn’t hit me yet. I still have that nervous stomach, and I’m still excited.”
The excitement will have to wait for some: Bon Jovi, nominated for the first time, was turned away from the hall, as was LL Cool J, the J. Geils Band, the Beastie Boys, Donna Summer and more.
Alice Cooper’s name had been mentioned in conjunction with the Rock Hall for years, but the shock rocker hadn’t been nominated until this year. Like Diamond, Cooper said he wasn’t anxiously waiting.
“You know it crosses your mind, but then you think of all the guys who aren’t in there, some of them before you, and you go, ‘Wow.’ … You realize that it’s a waiting game,” he said in a phone interview. “I don’t think you sit around holding your breath on it.”
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum induction ceremony is scheduled for March 14 in New York City. The festivities will be aired on Fuse.