The Meters, the pioneering New Orleans funk band, are, for the fourth time, nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They were previously up for inclusion in the 1997, 2013 and 2014 Hall of Fame classes, only to fall short in the final voting.
The Hall of Fame announced 19 nominees for its 2018 class on Thursday. In addition to the Meters, they are Bon Jovi, Kate Bush, the Cars, Depeche Mode, Dire Straits, Eurythmics, J. Geils Band, Judas Priest, LL Cool J, MC5, the Moody Blues, Radiohead, Rage Against the Machine, Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, Nina Simone, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Link Wray and the Zombies.
The 2018 inductees — anywhere from five to seven names from the list of nominees — will likely be announced in December.
An act is eligible for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction 25 years after the release of its first recording. Radiohead and Rage Against the Machine were both eligible for the first time this year.
They join the Moody Blues — who are scheduled to bring their 50th-anniversary tour to the Saenger Theatre on Jan. 16 — plus Nina Simone, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Eurythmics, Dire Straits, Judas Priest and Kate Bush as first-time nominees.
The Meters originally consisted of keyboardist Art Neville, bassist George Porter Jr., guitarist Leo Nocentelli and drummer Joseph “Zigaboo” Modeliste. Art’s youngest brother, Cyril Neville, later joined the band as a percussionist and singer.
Formed in the mid-1960s by Art Neville, the Meters evolved from a band called the Neville Sounds. They originally held down a residency at an Uptown bar called the Nite Cap, then slimmed down to a quartet when they accepted a steady gig at the Ivanhoe on Bourbon Street.
Producer Allen Toussaint recruited them to be the house band for his recording studio. Over the years, they backed Lee Dorsey, Dr. John, Paul McCartney, LaBelle, Robert Palmer and many others.
Starting in 1968, the Meters released a succession of classic singles, including the instrumentals "Sophisticated Cissy" and "Cissy Strut," which reached No. 4 on the national R&B chart. Neville's sing-song organ, Nocentelli's slinky, chicken-scratch guitar, Porter's deep, rubbery bass and Modeliste's crisp, syncopated rhythms forged a template for much New Orleans music that would follow.
As a Lafayette teenager in the early 1970s, visual artist Francis X. Pavy fell under the spe…
In the 1970s, Cyril Neville joined the roster; his vocals are featured on the band's albums for Reprise/Warner Bros. Records. Those albums contained songs that have endured as New Orleans standards including "Hey Pocky A-Way," "Fire on the Bayou," "People Say" and "Africa." The band embarked on long tours of North America and Europe with the Rolling Stones.
Though their record sales were modest, the Meters largely defined the sound of slinky New Orleans funk and influenced successive generations of musicians. Samples of their recordings have turned up in dozens of hip-hop songs. The likes of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Beastie Boys, Phish and Galactic cite the Meters as a major influence.
The Meters were featured on the 2017 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival's commemorative poster by artist Francis X. Pavy.
And the band's music continues to find fresh life. A commercial for Google's Pixel smartphone that aired nationally during the 2017 Grammy Awards telecast featured the Meters' jubilant "Hand-Clapping Song."