All four made albums key to the underground music of the late 1960s and early ’70s, although Miller and Chicago are better known for their mainstream careers.
Other nominees for the “Class of 2015” are Los Lobos, Nine Inch Nails, the Smiths, Janet Jackson, Chic, Cheap Trick, the Cars, N.W.A., the Spinners, the J.B.’s and Chaka Khan.
Yes and Deep Purple have been previously nominated. Miller and Chicago are first-time nominees.
Fans are able to vote for their favorites again this year, with balloting continuing through Dec. 9.
Yes is one of the biggest brand names in progressive rock, continuing to record and tour almost a half century after their founding. Key members over the decades have included singer Jon Anderson, guitarist Steve Howe, bassist Chris Squire, drummer Bill Bruford and keyboardist Rick Wakeman. Their classic albums include “Close to the Edge” and “Fragile.” Yes has been a notable and puzzling omission to the Rock Hall, perceived, perhaps, as a genre snub of progressive rock.
Deep Purple was born in the psychedelic era, finding early success with a trippy covers of top 40 hits “Hush” and “Kentucky Woman.” Keyboardist John Lord steered the band into experiments with a rock-classical music fusion. The English band hit its stride in the early ’70s with hard rock albums like “Deep Purple in Rock” and hits such as “Smoke on the Water.” Key members included guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and vocalist Ian Gillian.
Steve Miller remains best known as a classic rock artist, but his early works were touchstones of the Bay Area psychedelic scene. The Steve Miller Band recorded the underground albums “Children of the Future” and “Sailor” (along with singer-guitarist Boz Scaggs, left in photo) and then polished the sound on the LPs “Brave New World” and “Your Saving Grace.” In the 1970s, Miller became a solo act and dominated the radio airwaves with hits such as “Fly Like an Eagle” and “The Joker.”
Chicago’s long journey through the music business began with a debut album in tune with the psychedelic times. Guitarist Terry Kath was known for feedback-laden soloing, and became a favorite of Jimi Hendrix. Known at the time as Chicago Transit Authority, the band’s self-titled debut album featured Kath’s influential “Free Form Guitar,” running almost 7 minutes, and a hard rock cover of “I’m a Man.” The brass band’s melodic side was found on tracks such as “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” and that proved the path to a hit-laden future. The band continues with a changing cast of members.
Among the other nominees, Los Lobos and Nine Inch Nails are probably the most sonically adventurous, neither afraid to work the fringes of the rock genre — notably on “Kiko” (Los Lobos) and “The Downward Spiral” (Nine Inch Nails).
Read about the Rock Hall’s induction process and the fan ballot.