By Annie Reuter

The 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Class has been announced and Pearl Jam, Tupac Shakur, Electric Light Orchestra, Journey, Yes and Joan Baez will be inducted while Nile Rodgers will receive the Award for Musical Excellence. Several inductees spoke with Rolling Stone about the esteemed honor, including members of Journey, Yes, E.L.O. and Baez.

Related: Pearl Jam, Tupac Shakur, Journey Lead 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees

Yes will be inducted 26 years after becoming eligible. “It’s a bit like waiting for a train,” guitarist Steve Howe said. “Maybe it’s on time and you just noticed waiting. I don’t regret the wait. I just feel this must be the right time.”

Meanwhile, Journey didn’t appear on a ballot until this year. “I kind of feel like we were already in with our fans and the amount of records we’ve sold all over the world,” says guitarist Neal Schon. “I wasn’t expecting anything at all. I’ve learned to be that way. If you don’t expect something and it comes, then its good news. I’m honored. I think we’re all honored.”

The induction news came as a surprise to Joan Baez. “I never considered myself to be a rock and roll artist,” she said in a statement. “But as part of the folk music boom which contributed to and influenced the rock revolution of the Sixties, I am proud that some of the songs I sang made their way into the rock lexicon. I very much appreciate this honor and acknowledgement by the Hall of Fame.”

Jeff Lynne of E.L.O. was also thrilled to learn he and his band would be inducted. “I am deeply honored to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” he said in a written statement, “and would like to thank all the great fans who have supported us over the years.”

The major question is whether Steve Perry will reunite with Journey at the honors as he hasn’t performed in public with the band since a Bill Graham tribute show in 1991. However, Schon hopes Perry will take the stage.

“I would be surprised if it didn’t happen,” he says. “But I’ll deal with it whichever way… I’m going to try and reach out [to Perry], as I’ve done many times. And [our current singer] Arnel [Pineda] is so gracious. He says, ‘Any time he wants to come on and do anything, I’ll very gladly step aside and let him sing.'”

While Perry hasn’t personally addressed a performance, his manager released a short statement on his behalf: “I’m truly grateful that Journey is being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”

The 32nd Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place on April 7, 2017 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.


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