By Mary Milliken
(Reuters) - Nirvana, the influential Seattle grunge band founded by the late Kurt Cobain, and the flamboyant 1970s rockers from KISS were among six new inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the organization said on Tuesday.
British singers and songwriters Peter Gabriel and Cat Stevens, folk-pop singer Linda Ronstadt and rock and soul duo Hall and Oates completed the list of performer inductees to the prestigious Hall of Fame, chosen from 16 nominees.
The induction ceremony will take place in New York City on April 10, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation said in a statement.
Nirvana, formed by singer and guitarist Cobain and bassist Krist Novoselic in the late 1980s, brought grunge music to the mainstream and was considered the flagship band of Generation X with songs like "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and "Come As You Are."
Cobain committed suicide in 1994 at the age of 27 and the band broke up after just three full-length studio albums in a seven-year career, during which Nirvana sold 75 million records worldwide, making it one of the best-selling acts in music history.
Nirvana was chosen as an inductee in its first year of eligibility. The Cleveland-based Hall of Fame establishes that an artist or group must have released their debut album or single at least 25 years earlier to be eligible.
KISS shocked the music world in the mid-1970s with its outlandish black-and-white makeup, racy costumes, hard-pounding tunes and elaborate shows. Songs such as the trademark "Rock and Roll All Nite" helped define a hard rock-and-shock style that continues to thrive today.
Peter Gabriel, 63, was lead vocalist and flautist for the progressive rock band Genesis, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2010 inductee, before pursuing a solo career that produced hits including "Sledgehammer."
Cat Stevens, the former stage name for Yusuf Islam, shook up 1970s rock with his distinctive voice and compositions such as "Wild World" and "Moon Shadow." He later converted to Islam and today at 65 years of age combines music with philanthropy and humanitarian causes.
Linda Ronstadt, known as the "First Lady of Rock," was a mainstay of the 1970s rock scene with hits including "You're No Good" in 1975. The 67-year-old revealed this year that she could no longer sing due to Parkinson's disease.
Daryl Hall and John Oates broke out in 1976 with the hit "Rich Girl" and ruled the charts in the 1980s with bouncy melodies "Kiss on My List" and "Private Eyes."
The inductees were chosen by more than 700 voters from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, but fans were also allowed to cast votes online for the artists they believe were the most deserving of induction. Three of the top five artists from the fan ballot will be inducted in 2014.
"This year's Hall of Fame Inductees really capture the passion of the fans," said Joel Peresman, President and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation.
The E Street Band, the group behind singer Bruce Springsteen, will be inducted through the Award for Musical Excellence, the foundation said.
The late music entrepreneur who managed The Beatles, Brian Epstein, and Andrew Loog Oldham who managed The Rolling Stones will be inducted with the Ahmet Ertegun Awards for lifetime achievement, named after the late founder of Atlantic Records.
(Editing by Ken Wills)