NEW YORK: Latter-generation punks Green Day won spots in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Tuesday, joining older legends in the band’s first year of eligibility.
Other 2015 inductees into the hall of fame include Bill Withers, the soul singer best known for his 1972 song “Lean on Me,” and hard rockers Joan Jett & the Blackhearts.
Three deceased artists round out the new entrants: the avant-garde Lou Reed — whose Velvet Underground was already inducted as a group — along with electric blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan and blues singer Paul Butterfield.
The winners mark the 30th round of artists to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The artists, or suitable substitutes, will perform at a ceremony on April 18 in Cleveland.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will also give special awards to drummer Ringo Starr, making him the last of the Beatles to be inducted, and to early R&B greats The “5” Royales for their influence on music.
Green Day was nominated for the first time. Artists are eligible once 25 years have passed since the release of their first single or album.
A decade after punk rock’s heyday, Green Day released its first album in 1990 featuring the band’s combination of energetic guitar chords and raw lyrics that often reflected frontman Billie Joe Armstrong’s social anxieties.
The Northern California band scored a worldwide commercial breakthrough four years later with “Dookie” despite the album’s personal subject matter in which Armstrong reflected on mental illness, masturbation and his bisexuality.
Armstrong later won wider artistic acclaim and controversy with “American Idiot,” a searing indictment of then president George W. Bush that the Green Day frontman turned into a rock opera.
Armstrong, 42, said that the honor was “incredible” and called being a rock performer “the most liberating thing in the world.”
“For me, rock and roll is not an outdated term. To me, it means freedom,” he told Rolling Stone magazine in an interview timed for the Hall of Fame announcement.
The honor comes a year after another newly eligible band, Nirvana, was inducted into the Hall of Fame. The ceremony led to an unannounced, one-off reunion show as celebrated rock singers took turns on vocals in place of the late Kurt Cobain.
The Paul Butterfield Blues Band is probably the new inductee that is least-known today, but the racially integrated Chicago group had a major influence by combining rock and blues influences.
The band played back-up during Bob Dylan’s legendary first electric performance in 1965.
Joan Jett & the Blackhearts in 1982 scored a global hit with “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” — a song that will presumably feature prominently at the induction ceremony — as she helped carve out a role for women in the male-dominated world of hard rock.
Vaughan won wide acclaim after playing the Montreux festival in 1982, with some calling the Dallas-bred blues guitarist one of the instrument’s all-time masters, but his career was short as he died in a plane wreck in 1990.
Withers also had a relatively brief career. He did not perform professionally until he was in his 30s and out of the Navy and left the industry after major hits including “Lean on Me” and “Ain’t No Sunshine.”
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees are decided by a vote of more than 700 music experts including artists and historians. Fans also played a small part through a public vote that counted as one ballot.
Artists who were passed over this year included Kraftwerk, the German pioneers of electronic music, and The Smiths, who won an impassioned fan base drawn to Morrissey’s brooding, introspective lyrics.