Def Jam records chose a teenager as their face when ushering in hip-hop’s second wave, and 17-year-old LL Cool J made an unforgettable impression.
He delivered both hardcore raps and sexy love songs with swagger still heard in hip-hop today.
Born James Todd Smith in Bay Shore, NY, LL Cool J has always had his sights set on rock & roll.
LL was only 17 in 1985 when he recorded “Rock The Bells,” which included the following couplet: “It ain’t the glory days with Bruce Springsteen/I’m not a virgin so I know I’ll make Madonna scream.” A year earlier, LL had made his debut on Def Jam, which was also the debut of the label itself.
His first two singles – “I Need A Beat” followed by “I Want You” – sketched out the two main gears of his career: testosterone-maddened battle raps and tender, sexy love songs. The former included “I Can’t Live Without My Radio” (1985), “Jack The Ripper” (1987) and “Mama Said Knock You Out” (1991).
The stylish aggression built into these songs influenced no less a figure than Michael Jackson, who cut “Bad” after meeting LL in person – and after LL himself cut “I’m Bad.” The love songs may have been even more influential and popular. When “I Need Love” went to Number One on Billboard’s Hot R&B Singles chart in 1987, it was the first rap recording ever to reach that summit.
His success in music has served as a launching pad to concurrent careers in the movies, on television, in fashion, and in fitness.
“I Need A Beat (1984) • “I Want You,” “Rock The Bells,” “I Can’t Live Without My Radio,” Radio (1985) • “I’m Bad,” “I Need Love,” Bigger And Deffer (1987) • “Going Back To Cali” (1988) • “I’m That Type Of Guy,” Walking With A Panther (1989) • “The Boomin’ System,” “Around The Way Girl,” Mama Said Knock You Out (1990) • “How I’m Comin’” (1993) • “Hey Lover” (1995) • “Doin’ It,” “Loungin,” Mr. Smith (1996) • Phenomenon (1997) • “Father” (1998) • G.O.A.T. (2000) • “Headsprung” (2004) • Todd Smith (2006) • Authentic (2013)
Announces Nominees for 2018 Induction
* * * * *
Fans Can Officially Cast Their Vote for Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductees at rockhall.com/vote
Cleveland (October 5, 2017) — The nominees for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2018 are:
- Bon Jovi
- Kate Bush
- The Cars
- Depeche Mode
- Dire Straits
- Geils Band
- Judas Priest
- LL Cool J
- The Meters
- Moody Blues
- Rage Against the Machine
- Rufus featuring Chaka Khan
- Nina Simone
- Sister Rosetta Tharpe
- Link Wray
- The Zombies
To be eligible for nomination, an individual artist or band must have released its first commercial recording at least 25 years prior to the year of induction. The 2018 Nominees had to release their first official recording no later than 1992.
Nine out of 19 of the nominees are on the ballot for the first time, including: Eurythmics, Dire Straits, Judas Priest, Kate Bush, The Moody Blues, Nina Simone, Radiohead, Rage Against Machine and Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Radiohead and Rage Against the Machine became eligible for nomination for the 2018 Ceremony this year, having released their first official recordings in 1992.
Ballots will be sent to an international voting body of more than 900 artists, historians and members of the music industry. Factors such as an artist’s musical influence on other artists, length and depth of career and the body of work, innovation and superiority in style and technique are taken into consideration.
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame will again offer fans the opportunity to officially participate in the induction selection process. Beginning Oct. 5 and continuing through 11:59 p.m. EST on Dec. 5, 2017, fans can visit rockhall.com/vote to cast votes for who they believe to be most deserving of induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The top five artists, as selected by the public, will comprise a “fans’ ballot” that will be tallied along with the other ballots to choose the 2018 inductees. Fans will need to login with a Facebook account or email to vote. Voting is capped at one ballot per day.
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2018 Inductees will be announced in December 2017. HBO will once again present the ceremony. Details will be announced later.
SiriusXM will also carry a radio broadcast of the ceremony in April and carry special broadcasts throughout the year devoted to the Rock Hall’s Inductees—past and present— on Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Radio (Ch. 310).
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2018 Inductions, presented by Klipsch Audio, will be held at Public Auditorium in Cleveland on April 14, 2018. The 2018 Induction in Cleveland will also include a weeklong series of events including an Inductee exhibit opening, free admission day to the Museum and more. Details and ticket on-sale information will also be announced later.
All Inductees are ultimately represented in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, the nonprofit organization that tells the story of rock and roll’s global impact via special exhibits, educational programs and its library and archives.
Klipsch Audio, a leading global speaker and headphone manufacturer, is a strategic partner and presenting sponsor of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, its Induction Ceremony events and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s Main Stage. Klipsch’s renowned products deliver the power, detail and emotion of the live music experience throughout the iconic museum.
Follow the Rock Hall on Facebook, Twitter (@rockhall) and Instagram (@rockhall) and join the conversation at #RockHall2018.