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U2, Guy, O’Jays headed to Hall

Fame elevation for Irish rockers

U2 heads the list of next year’s inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a rare instance of a group of artists selected for inclusion while still recording and touring.

The other acts headed in are blues guitarist Buddy Guy, R&B singer Percy Sledge, Philly soul legends O’Jays and the Pretenders.

They will be inducted at the 20th annual ceremony March 14 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York.

Frank Barsalona, founder of the first legitimate rock ‘n’ roll booking agency, Premier Talent Agency, and Sire Records founder-chairman Seymour Stein will be inducted in the non-performer category.

Guy, considered one of the finest Chicago blues guitarists, has been a significant influence on Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Keith Richards. He is working on a new album slated for a late first-quarter release on Silvertone.

Sledge, who released “Shining Through the Rain” in August, is best known for “When a Man Loves a Woman.”

The O’Jays were the premier vocal band at Gamble & Huff’s Philadelphia Intl. Records, recording hits such as “Love Train,” “Backstabbers” and “For the Love of Money.” Sanctuary released its latest, “Imagination,” in October.

The Hall of Fame will induct the original lineup of the Pretenders — Martin Chambers, Pete Farndon, James Honeyman-Scott and Chrissie Hynde. (Eleven musicians have been in the band over the years.) “Loose Screw” was released by Artemis in 2002, and the band supported the disc by opening shows for the Rolling Stones.

U2 continues to be the biggest rock band in the world as its latest album, “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb” (Interscope), sold more than 800,000 copies in five days when released last month.

Artists become eligible for induction 25 years after the release of their first record. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation’s nominating committee, consisting of rock ‘n’ roll historians, selects nominees in the artist category. Ballots then are sent to an international voting body of about 700 rock experts.

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