Neil Diamond to join Hall of Fame

London: US singer-songwriter Neil Diamond will enter the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next year, he announced on his website.

"Any club that has Chuck Berry and Little Richard and The Everly Brothers is a club that I want to be a part of," the 69-year-old "Sweet Caroline" singer said in a statement.

"I think it`s great. I`m happy that they recognized me and my work."

Artists are eligible for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25 years after the release of their first single or album, although Diamond began recording in the 1960s.

"I think we`re (rock musicians) much more important than was assumed when rock first started," Diamond added in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine which was linked to his website.

"It was kind of like a joke and it was looked down on. I think rock has stood the test of time and really matured and become something valuable and important."

The music magazine reported that the Alice Cooper band, Tom Waits, Darlene Love and Dr. John would also be inducted into the Hall of Fame next year at a ceremony in New York on March 14.

Leon Russell will be receive The Award For Musical Excellence and industry executives Jac Holzman and Art Rupe will both receive the Ahmet Ertegun Award.

Cooper, lead singer of the eponymous band who is famous for his theatrical heavy metal antics, said the recognition had been a long time coming.

"I was elated and I called the original band guys immediately, and said, `Well, remember when we started in high school?`" Cooper told Rolling Stone magazine. "`Here we are. Only took 45 years.`"

Nominees passed over in the latest induction round included Bon Jovi, Beastie Boys and Donna Summer.

Bureau Report

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